Palos Trip Report – November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014
Sixteen birders showed up on a cool but sunny fall day. It was a great to be out birding. Unfortunately birds have wings and all of the swans seen yesterday were gone. We did have some quality birds. An American Pelican swam around and was very visible. An adult Bald Eagle flew around but quickly disappeared in on of the corners. The waterfowl seen unfortunately were hugging the west side and difficult to ID.
Seen were the following:
5 Horned Grebes
12 Pied billed Grebes. There were 30 yesterday
8-9 Hooded Mergansers
Gadwall. Lots
American Coot. Lots
12 Ruddy Ducks
4 Wood Ducks
3 Yellow Rumped Warblers
3 Bonaparte Gulls
Saganashkee Slough on 107 St was the next stop. On the way we spotted a Great Egret on LaGrange Rd.
We viewed from two vantage points on 107  since 104 Ave is closed near the bridge. Soon a Common Loon was found. And the second year in a row a Red Necked Grebe was found by one of the participants. Thanks.
Other birds seen here:
35 Hooded Mergansers
12 Red Breasted Mergs
5-7 Horned Grebes
5 Pied billed Grebes
12 Double Crested Cormorants
We ended the trip at the Little Red Schoolhouse where we added Fox Sparrow.
41 species were enjoyed by all.
Btw, I saw 13  Monk Parakeets a week ago flying north over 107  and Harlem
Wes Serafin
Orland Pl

Wind & Wildlife: Event report

Wind conference photo

November 8, 2014

By Christine Williamson


COS and Sierra Club Chicago Group designed a program that brought in experts from around the U.S. to talk about the impacts of wind turbines, one of the cleanest energy production methods, on wildlife.

Our panel was comprised of three pre-eminent U.S.-based wildlife biologists who work on wind   […]

COS-Illinois Young Birders - Douglas Park Field Trip

COS and Illinois Young Birders at Douglas Park

September 28, 2014

A joint Chicago Ornithological Society-Illinois Young Birders field trip led by Eric and Aaron Gyllenhall attracted 40 birders to Douglas Park on Chicago’s Westside. Combining eBird lists of four different birders, the group list for the trip stands at 62 species!

We spent more than two and a half hours birding around with north lagoon   […]

Bartel Grasslands Field Trip Report - 7.7.2014

Photo by Clara Coen (c) 2014

On July 6, 2014, a beautiful Sunday morning, Dick Riner escorted our group of about 20 birders around Bartel Grasslands.  After dousing ourselves with insect repellant and some folks donning rubber boots we were ready for the birds and mosquitoes.  But before heading out, Dick ‘warned’ us that a large flock of bobolinks departed on   […]

Field Trip Report – Montrose Birding Trip 7.26.2014

Semipalmated Plover photo by Geoff Williamson

By Geoffrey Williamson:

Christine and I led a group of about 20 individuals around Montrose Point in Chicago’s Lincoln Park this morning (Saturday, 26 July 2014), and we located 38 species of birds. We spent some time looking at the 64 shorebirds (of six species) at the beach, which included the following.

Semipalmated Plover 3   […]

Memorial Day Weekend – Iosco County, MI Field Trip Report

Sam Burckhardt led a field trip for the Chicago Ornithological Society to Iosco County, MI, in search of Kirtland’s Warblers and other fine species.

Find a full report along with some beautiful photographs at the following link:

COS Memorial Day Kirtland’s Warbler trip to Iosco County, MI

COS Memorial Day Kirtland’s Warbler trip to Iosco Co…


Humboldt Park Birding Field Trip Report – May 2014

Led by Sam Burckhardt:

I had the pleasure to show a group of ten birders (including a three month old baby and his almost three year old brother who came with his own set of binoculars) through Humboldt Park on a perfect late spring day. The weather was gorgeous with blue skies and temperatures in   […]

“Birds in my Neighborhood” Field Trip Report – June 5, 2014

Sam Burckhardt led a field trip for the Openlands “Birds in my Neighborhood” program, this past Thursday, June 5, at Palmisano Park in Chicago. Here is the report:

John Cawood and I, along with several teachers and chaperones, lead a group of over 60 students from Mark Sheridan Academy on a field trip to Palmisano Park   […]

Field Trip Report: Emiquon/Chautauqua

Our COS group had two wonderful days of birding in the Emiquon/Chautauqua area.  On Saturday, we concentrated on waterfowl of all kinds and we were certainly not disappointed.  Highlights at the South Globe Unit of Emiquon included great views of 5 Dunlin, 25 Black-necked Stilts, 4 Hudsonian Godwits, 51 Long-billed Dowitchers, 16 American Golden Plovers, 2   […]

Field Trip Report: Winter Lakefront Gulls and Ducks - 2/16/2014

Photo by Geoffrey Williamson

Geoffrey Williamson:

I led the Chicago Ornithological Society field trip along the Chicago lakefront on Sunday, 16 Feb 2014.  Our group of 13 birders visited Montrose Point, Belmont Harbor mouth, Diversey Harbor mouth, and then hoofed it to the Whiting Refinery Beach in Whiting, Indiana.  Our targets were ducks and gulls, and we did pretty   […]

Feb. 3 - Public Meeting for CPD Montrose Master Plan

First public meeting for CPD Montrose Master Plan: Monday, February 3 from 6:30-8:30pm; Margate Park Field House – 4921 N. Marine Parkway Dr.

See IBF Conservation topic for the map attachments.

The Chicago Park District is currently developing a Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary Master Plan. The CPD has engaged a landscape design firm to develop a   […]

Openlands Birds in My Neighborhood


Openlands is pleased to offer Birds in my Neighborhood™, a volunteer-driven program for 2nd to 5th grade classrooms with the goal of acquainting students with nature in their community through the observation of birds.   […]

Field Trip Report: Gillson Beach 12/7/2013

This COS field trip had 12 participants, including some new birders and visitors from Germany and Sweden.  Special thanks to Sam Burckhardt for always teaching us a few things we didn’t know about birds.

We started at Gillson where highlights were far-away Scaup, Common Mergansers beginning to fill out the flocks of the many Red-breasted,   […]

Join COS at the Lisle Arboretum Christmas Bird Count

Join one of Chicagoland’s most active Christmas Bird Counts. Almost 100 people volunteer their time on a wintry Sunday to count birds, The count circle includes a wide variety of habitats from the forests of Palos to the pine plantations of the Morton Arboretum to the open grasslands of Green Valley. The Lisle Arboretum Count   […]

Field Trip Report: Burnham Park - 10/12/2013

Christine and I led a COS/Sierra Club group in Chicago”s Burnham Park yesterday (Saturday, 12 Oct 2013).  We started at 39th Street and made our way up to about 31st Street and then head back south.  We had 41 species of birds, plus five butterfly species (one Black Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Clouded/Orange Sulphur, Eastern Tailed-Blue,   […]

North Pond Walk Field Trip Report - 10.3.2013

A particularly good birding day at the North Pond on Wednesday October 3.

Here’s the full bird list from Geoff Williamson: Around the North Pond in Chicago’s Lincoln Park: I forget to put Swainson’s Thrush and Rusty Blackbird on the list, so the species count went up to 59 from the 57 I reported yesterday.


Field Trip Report: Jackson Park 9/14/2013

With northeast winds and meager indication of movement on radar Friday  night/Saturday morning I didn’t expect much to see for the COS trip to  Jackson Park yesterday.  At first it seemed that it would be really slow but near the Rose Garden we finally found a nice pocket of warblers.   We only got 12 species   […]

Planning Meetings for Lake Shore Drive Redesign Held in July

Lakeshore Drive redesign plan

Chicago Tribune, July 29, 2013

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) recently released information on the beginning of a planning process named “Refine the Drive” to redesign the northern portion of Lake Shore Drive from Hollywood Avenue to Grand Avenue.

Public meetings were held in August to identify stakeholder   […]

Field Trip Report - Calumet Water Reclamation Plant - August 18, 2013

Twenty-two observers attended this joint Chicago Ornithological Society/Evanston North Shore Bird Club sponsored field trip to the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant in southeast Chicago on Sunday morning (18 August 2013). Like last year”s trip, it was an absolutely gorgeous day for a field trip. We counted at least 186 individuals of ten shorebird species, compared with   […]

Field Trip Report - North Pond Bird Walk - August 28, 2013

The COS North Pond Bird Walk Wednesday, 28 Aug 2013 at North Pond in Chicago’s Lincoln Park  recorded 30 species of birds, three species of odes, two butterfly  species, and two mammal species. Lists of all these are at the end  of this message.

Highlights included four species of warblers (NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH,  BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, MOURNING WARBLER,   […]

COS-supported Bill Passed in Illinois – Protections for Landowners Who Open Land for Public Recreation

At a press conference August 23, 2013, Governor Pat Quinn signed SB1042 into law as Public Act 98-0522. This new law will give private landowners that open their land to the public for recreation, conservation, and education liability protections. The Governor was joined by representatives from Openlands, The Nature Conservancy, Illinois Environmental Council, Environmental Law   […]

COS comments on recreational plans for the Cook County Forest Preserve District (CCFPD) at Miller Meadow

COS and BCN representatives (Bird Conservation Network of which COS is a member organization) attended the open house and commented on the Miller Meadows CCFPD plan and in general on behalf of birds and bird watching/natural areas in the plans in July.  Miller Meadow has specifically set aside a meadow area where it plans some   […]

Field Trip Report: Montrose Point - July 27, 2013 - COS/Sierra Club

Barn swallow

Montrose Point in Lincoln Park, Chicago, Cook County, IL, 27 July 2013 

Chris and Geoff Williamson led a nature walk to Montrose Point in Chicago”s Lincoln Park on 27 July 2013. The weather was unseasonably cool, with the temperature at only 61 degrees Fahrenheit and with winds blowing from the northwest at 10 to 15   […]

Field Trip Report: Burnham Sanctuary - August 24, 2013 - COS/Sierra Club

Acadian flycatcher by Geoff

McCormick Place Sanctuary and Burnham Sanctuary, Burnham Park. Chicago, Cook County, IL

Chris and Geoff Williamson led a nature walk in Chicago”s Burnham Park on 24 August 2013.

When all was said an done, we had observed 33 species of birds, two species of mammals (aside from human beings and domestic dogs), 10 butterfly species,   […]

“Birds of Lake and Cook Counties” Art and Photography Benefit


An Illinois Audubon Society Art  and Photography Benefit and co-sponsored by Chicago Ornithological Society, “Birds of Lake and Cook Counties” will be held at  Erewhon Mountain Outfitters at 2585 Waukegan Road , Bannockburn, IL 60015. The  exhibit is from August 15-29, with a reception open to the public August 29 from  7-10 pm. Several local   […]

Paul Douglas Forest Preserve Trip Report

Bobolink_- photo by Christine Shepherd

A group of thirteen people joined me to bird the Paul Douglas Forest Preserve. The weather was perfect and despite a few ticks we had a very pleasant outing. We saw many of the targeted prairie birds, such as Savannah, Henslow”s, and Grasshopper Sparrows, Bobolinks and Dickcissels. It was of particular interest the see the   […]

Birders at COS Southern Illinois Trip 2013

Birders at COS Southern Illinois Trip 2013


Keith McMullen escorted our group of 15 to the many spectacular birding sights in Southern Illinois the last weekend of June.  We found 15 breeding warbler species with highlights being Cerulean, Prothonotary, Worm-eating, Prairie, Kentucky and Hooded, but missed Blue-winged and Black and White.  Other notable species we tallied included Scarlet and Summer tanagers,   […]

Birds of Lake Cook Counties Benefit Invitational Art and Photography Exhibit

scott ellis cedar waxwing

​​Bird Art/Photography Exhibit Runs Aug. 15-29 at Erehwon Store in Bannockburn

Proceeds Benefit Illinois Audubon Society​

COS is co-sponsoring a special exhibit of bird art and photography by Chicago-area artists will run August 15-29 at the Erehwon Mountain Outfitters store in suburban Bannockburn to raise conservation awareness. The Birds of Lake/Cook Counties Benefit Invitational   […]

Field Trip Report - Skokie Lagoons - 6/2/2013

On June 2, a hearty bunch braved the cold and rain for birding, canoeing, and kayaking on the Skokie Lagoons.  Escorted by Ryan Chew of Chicago River Canoe & Kayak and his able assistant Martha, we geared up at the Tower Road launch site.  Except for the large species such as ducks and herons and   […]

Field Trip Report - LaBagh Woods Beginner Birder Series - 6/15/2013

Chris and Geoff  Williamson led a nature walk to La Bagh Woods Forest Preserve along the Chicago River near where the Edens Expressway crosses Foster Avenue. The outing was sponsored by the Chicago Ornithological Society and the Chicago Group of the Sierra Club. The weather was a nice 64 degrees Fahrenheit, with east winds at   […]

Field Trip Report - Plum Creek 6/16/2013

Henslow's Sparrow at Plum Creek - Photo By Scott R. Ellis

Henslow’s Sparrow at Plum Creek – Photo By Scott R. Ellis

Ten birders met for the COS field trip to Plum Grove. Kudos to Phil D, who  came all the way from Rockford to join us.  Weather was pleasant and the  wind kept most mosquitos away. We first birded the west side of Burnham Ave   […]

Field Trip Report - North Pond Bird Walk 6/5/2013

The 425th edition of the Chicago Ornithological Society”s North Pond Bird Walk took place Wednesday, 5 June 2013 at North Pond in Chicago”s Lincoln Park.  We tallied 43 species. There are still a few lingering migrants in the  park.  Some that we recorded were EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, YELLOW-BELLIED  FLYCATCHER, ALDER FLYCATCHER, GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER, and  SWAINSON”S THRUSH.  Late   […]

Conservation Bill passed in Illinois

Last month an agreement was reached with conservation organizations, legislations and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association on a bill to restore liability protections for landowners who allow the public recreational access to their land—for activities such as fishing, hiking, or birding.  An amendment to SB1042 (House Amendment #1) was introduced reflecting this agreement.

Conservation groups   […]

Field Trip Report - Kirtland Warbler Trip in Michigan

Birders at Kirtland Warbler Field Trip


A group of 11 Chicago area birders joined me in pursuit of the Kirtland”s Warbler in Grayling, and in exploring birds in Iosco County, Michigan, over Memorial Day weekend. We were joined by Bill Rapai, the author of “The Kirtland”s Warbler” for dinner on Sunday and a field trip on Monday. In three days,   […]

IL US Representative Mike Quigley Introduces Bird-Safe Building Legislation

WASHINGTON –  (May 21, 2013): U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) introduced the Federal Bird-Safe Buildings Act to prevent the deaths of millions of birds that collide with federal buildings across the country each year.

“The way we live our lives cannot be detrimental to other species, and yet collisions with glass on buildings is   […]

Field Trip Report – Humboldt Park 4/27/2013

A group of 20 birders joined me on a tour through Humboldt Park, this morning. The day had started very promising with sighting a CATTLE EGRET near the baseball diamond south of the boat house. Unfortunately, the bird flushed before any of the other birders could see it (see separate post). However, we did manage   […]

Donate to Support Joel Greenberg Film

artistic rendering of passenger pigeons


Announcing a crowd funding campaign on to raise finishing funds for the documentary “From Billions to None.”

The film follows naturalist and author Joel Greenberg on his quest to tell the remarkable story of the extinction of the passenger pigeon.  One hundred years later, Greenberg, as well as scientists, conservationists, artists, and young people explore the story”s relevance today, and   […]

Field Trip Report: Willow Slough and Kankakee Sands, April 20, 2013

Willow Slough and Kankakee Sands 4/20 Field Trip Garners 90 Species for Participants!

On a sunny but cool (31-45 degrees) and blustery day a hardy group of COS folks led by Jed Hertz braved the elements to find 90 species at the Willow Slough FWA, TNC Kankakee Sands, and parts of Eastern Kankakee Co.

Records   […]

Field Trip Report: Earth Day Montrose Bird Walk and Beach Sweep

Male Downy Woodpecker by Geoff Williamson

April 20, 2013 Earth Day Montrose Birding and Nature Tour Attracts Crowds of Kids!

Geoff and Chris Williamson led 25 people including 13 Girl Scouts and kids from Goudy School in Uptown on a nature and bird tour of Montrose on Saturday morning.  After the tour, Chris Williamson led the group in an Earth Day   […]

Celebrate Urban Biodiversity Week

Urban Biodiversity Week, May 13th to May 19th! This event is part of the National Urban Biodiversity Week, a seven-city collaboration to bring urban dwellers into contact with local flora and fauna. Urban Biodiversity Week will showcase events in the Millennium Reserve: Calumet Core area. It will celebrate urban biodiversity and conservation activities and will   […]

Support the Southern Illinois Birding Blitz!

The Southern Illinois Birding Blitz is set for April 27, 2013. All funds raised are used to restore or buy important bird habitat in southern Illinois. As we have in the past, COS has pledged a donation to birding teams who register with us, and who have at least one COS member. This year two   […]

Important Parking Update for Earth Day Montrose Bird Walk and Beach Sweep 4/20/2013

For those of you planning to attend the Earth Day Montrose Bird Walk and Beach Sweep on Saturday April 20, 2013, please see new information below regarding parking due to a large running event scheduled there the same morning.

For complete information on the event, see the calendar post for Montrose Bird Walk &   […]

Field Trip Report: Palos Area Birding, March 24, 2013


COS field trip to Orland/Palos 3-24-13

Report by West Serafin:

Four birders braved the windy cold conditions to hunt for birds in our annual duck trip to Palos/Orland. We began at McGinnis Slough which was down 80 % waterfowl from Saturday.

For the day, 53 species were seen.  Here is a complete list by area:


Alert! - Cook County Hearing on Trap-Neuter-Release Program

IMPORTANT COOK COUNTY HEARING!!   On Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 11:30 a.m. at the County Building, 118 N. Clark, 5th floor, Chicago, IL, a hearing has been scheduled on the effectiveness of Cook County’s TNR (Trap Neuter Return) legislation that was passed a few years ago as a way that could possibly deal with the free-roaming   […]

COS Historical Data Entry Project Update

March 2013 update by Sigrid Schmidt:

The first phase of our data entry project is essentially complete. Under the guidance of Walter Marcisz and with eBird assistance from Matthew Cvetas, 886 checklists dating from April 20, 1926 to October 13, 1979 were entered by the following COS members and friends: John Adams, Suzanne Checchia, Pat   […]

Volunteers Needed To Maintain Montrose Beach Dunes

A Message from The Chicago Park District:

Dear Volunteers and Friends of Montrose Beach Dunes,

I hope this message finds you well and enjoying the New Year.

Winter’s grip is starting to loosen and it’s time to emerge from hibernation and prepare for the 2013 growing season. The dunes still sleep peacefully under snow and   […]

COS/Sierra Club Beginner Birding Series Dates Set for 2013

Join members of the Chicago Ornithological Society and Chicago Sierra Club for a seven-trip series of walks for beginning bird and nature watchers from April through October and spend a few hours learning about nature, native plants and urban wildlife in Chicago parks.

This year we will spend three mornings at Montrose Point and Dunes   […]

Wolf Lake/Calumet Waterfowl & Gulls Field Trip Report

Nineteen observers attended the Chicago Ornithological Society-sponsored Wolf Lake/Calumet Waterfowl & Gulls field trip led by Sam Burckhardt and myself on Saturday morning (9 February 2013). We found a total of 47 species. Highlights included TUNDRA SWAN, NORTHERN SHOVELER, WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, BALD EAGLES, THAYER’S GULLS, “KUMLIEN’S” GULLS, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, NORTHERN SHRIKE, and LAPLAND LONGSPURS.


COS Celebrates Centenary

The COS Centenary celebration was a great success during our Lisle-Arboreteum CBC countdown dinner, which was provided free, compliments of COS, to all its past Presidents, young artists, and CBC participants. A fun historical quiz with answers in historical papers in binders was enjoyed by many. Jill Niland hosted the evening presenting several gifts   […]

Lakefront Gulls & Ducks 1/19/2013 field trip report

Gulls - Photo by Geoff Williamson

Lakefront Gulls & Ducks Trip Report (19 Jan 2013) by Geoff Williamson

We visited Burnham Harbor, Monroe Harbor, Jackson Park’s Outer Harbor at La Rabida Children’s Hospital, Rainbow Beach, Calumet Park, Hammond Marina (Indiana), the Whiting Refinery Beach (Indiana), Wolf Lake, and O’Brien Lock and Dam. The warm weather made for very open conditions on   […]

64th Lisle Arboretum Christmas Bird Count Results

Christmas Bird Count team 2012 - area 1, sewage plant at Downer's Grove

Christmas Bird Count team 2012 – area 1, sewage plant at Downer”s Grove – Photo by Chris Williamson

The 64th Lisle Arboretum (ILLA) Christmas Bird Count was held Sunday, 16 Dec 2012. We had what I believe was a record number of participants this year, with over 100 field counters plus several more feeder   […]

COS Centennial Dinner and Lisle Arboretum Christmas Bird Count

On Sunday, December 16, 2012 join one of the Chicagoland area’s most active Christmas  Bird Counts. More than 75 people volunteer their time on a wintery Sunday to  count birds from before dawn until dusk.

Pre-registration by e-mail is required to participate  in the Lisle Christmas Bird Count by 8:00 p.m. on Dec. 12 to   […]

US Senate to vote week of November 13 on Toxic Substance Control Act – call your Senator!

COS encourages you to oppose the proposed exemption for lead bullets in the Toxic Substance Control Act.  Lead is not only dangerous to wildlife but also to human beings who may consume meat of animals killed with lead bullets.

See the Action bulletin below to see how you can voice your concern to the Senate.


BCN has established The Redstart Connection Campaign - Please Donate!

warbler - photo by Clara Coen

The Bird Conservation Network, of which COS is a member, is excited to announce a new enterprise.    We have established the Redstart Connection Campaign to raise funds to help birds here in the Midwest and on their wintering grounds.  Our goal is to raise $7500.  Half of the proceeds will pay for an updated Trends   […]

Historical Records Data Project Update

black throated blue warbler - Photo by Clara Coen

Black throated blue warbler. Photo by COS member Clara Coen.

Under the guidance of Walter Marcisz, nine dedicated folks gathered at the Bridgeport Each Go Clean product contains our proprietary herbal blend. branch of the Chicago Public Library on September 8 and started entering into eBird historical records of bird observations we received   […]

Field Trip Report: Calumet Water Reclamation Plant

COS trip to Calumet Water Reclamation Plant August 19, 2012


Report by trip leader, Walter Marcisz:

Seventeen observers attended this joint Chicago Ornithological Society/Evanston North Shore Bird Club sponsored field trip to the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant in southeast Chicago on Sunday morning (19 August 2012). An absolutely gorgeous day for a field trip.   […]

Field Trip Report: COS trip to Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Skimmer at Midewin

Chicago Ornithological Society Field Trip Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Will County, IL — June 23, 2012

Skimmer at Midewin

COS headed to the former Joliet Arsenal, now the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, to enjoy the prairie life on the property. The group was led led by John Baxter and observed a plethora   […]

Field Trip Report: COS and Sierra Club @ Montrose Point

COS Birders at Montrose

Chicago Ornithological Society & Sierra Club Birding and Nature Walk Montrose Point Lincoln Park, Chicago Cook County, IL  —  July 7, 2012

COS Birders at Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary

COS and Sierra Club joined forces again to go out and experience nature in Chicago, this time at Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary.    […]

Field Trip Report: COS/Sierra Club @ Jackson Park

COS Birders at Jackson Park

Chicago Ornithological Society & Sierra Club Birding and Nature Walk Wooded Island,  Jackson Park, Chicago Cook County, IL 18 August 2012


A group of 17 individuals spent most of the morning of 18 August 2012 walking through Jackson Park”s Wooded Island, south of the Museum of Science and Industry, and then back up the   […]

Join the COS LaBagh Big Year 2015! Help us raise money to support local forest preserve LaBagh Woods. Donate using the PayPal button below or make a pledge using this form.

Visit the LaBagh Big Year 2015 page for complete information on the project.

Chicago Ornithological Society is a modern birding club that promotes the scientific and educational aspects of ornithology in the greater Chicago, Illinois area.

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