Mayslake Bird Action

by Carl Strang

Bird news, like the spring, has been slow in coming to Mayslake Forest Preserve this year. One of our earliest migrants to appear is the red-winged blackbird.

The males usually show up in February, but they did not arrive at Mayslake until well into March this year.

The males usually show up in February, but they did not arrive at Mayslake until well into March this year.

A safe bet was that the large muskrat lodge that sheltered a couple of the rodents through the winter in the center of the parking lot marsh would have a goose nest on it this spring.

This location should be secure from coyotes.

This location should be secure from coyotes.

A week later it was empty, a basking spot for a large snapping turtle. I do not know when incubation began, and so cannot give a likelihood that the nest was successful.

A week later it was empty, a basking spot for a large snapping turtle. I do not know when incubation began, and so cannot give a likelihood that the nest was successful.

A single red-tailed hawk has been hunting the preserve. Its mate no doubt is on a nest somewhere, but if it’s at Mayslake I haven’t found it, yet.

Keeping an eye on things

Keeping an eye on things

Residents, like the downy woodpecker, no longer are keeping the quiet low profile they maintained through the winter.

This one checks out a staghorn sumac stem in the north savanna.

This one checks out a staghorn sumac stem in the north savanna.

Another resident, a white-breasted nuthatch, pauses between bouts of courtship.

Another resident, a white-breasted nuthatch, pauses between bouts of courtship.

The later early-season migrants were abundant last week.

Yellow-rumped warblers actively foraged in Mayslake’s woodlands.

Yellow-rumped warblers actively foraged in Mayslake’s woodlands.

Soon we can expect the floodgates to open and the air will be filled with diverse migrants’ songs.

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