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Know your community, know your birds:
Birding Chicago’s forest preserves

A yellow crowned night heron stands along a stream. Photo courtesy of Andy Reago and Chrissy McClaren/Creative Commons.

A yellow crowned night heron stands along a stream. Photo courtesy of Andy Reago and Chrissy McClaren/Creative Commons.

By Louise Clemency
Chicago Ecological Services Field Office

You love to bird and so do we! At the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service we look for opportunities to get people outside and learn about their natural world. More than 250 nature enthusiasts, bird lovers and city neighbors came out for the 2018 International Migratory Bird Day Celebration in May at Labagh Woods in Chicago, Illinois. Take a moment to learn about how Chicago is rallying around birds.

Labagh Woods provides a needed stopover site for birds migrating through the Chicago area to rest and refuel on their journeys north and also provides a place for city residents to renew themselves by connecting with nature. A new species was spotted at the preserves during the event: the site’s first recorded yellow-crowned night heron.

We are proud to collaborate with event host, Forest Preserves of Cook County, to welcome back birds migrating from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. This year’s event pulled together a wide-ranging partnership of local organizations including: Audubon Great Lakes, Bird Conservation Network, Chicago Audubon Society/Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, Chicago Ornithological Society, Chicago Park District, Friends of the Forest Preserves, Illinois Young Birders, The Field Museum and numerous volunteers.

Children learned about bird migration and conservation through games and hands on activities. Some of the children were able to release birds banded during the event, a special up close encounter with the birds and the scientists working to conserve them.

Visitors to the event learned about the volunteer-led restoration efforts at Labagh, toured the bird-friendly shrubs being planted in restored habitat at the preserve, and went on guided walks to see some of the warblers and waterbirds using the restored habitat.

The event was part of a multi-year initiative by the Forest Preserves of Cook County and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service known as “Bird the Preserves.” This collaboration connects communities with the protected preserves near them by expanding birding programs and activities and bringing new birders to the forest preserves.

Learn more about birding at Forest Preserves of Cook County and get involved today!


Last updated: June 8, 2020