Mayslake Birds Update

by Carl Strang

The birds have completed their nesting for the year, and some already have departed for the South.

It has been a while since Mayslake Forest Preserve’s eastern kingbirds have filled the air with their distinctive chattering.

Mayslake is not a migrant mecca, but we get a few. The mixed flocks usually build themselves around the local black-capped chickadees, whose frequent calling and local knowledge make flock cohesion possible and worth maintaining. One recent flock contained 2 chickadees, a redstart, 2 magnolia warblers, a black-and-white warbler, a black-throated green warbler, and a chestnut-sided warbler.

The black-and-white warbler crawled the tree bark, while the other species hunted insect prey in their various other specialized ways.

Another flock on the same day included a chickadee, a redstart, a house finch, a downy woodpecker, a white-breasted nuthatch, and a house wren. Resident birds like the woodpecker and nuthatch often join these flocks. A final grouping that day included 3 chickadees, a Nashville warbler, and a warbling vireo.

The Nashville warbler

September birders know to key on the chickadee calls. The migrants certainly do.

P.S., this is the 900th post of this blog.

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