Mayslake Birds

by Carl Strang

Bird action at Mayslake Forest Preserve has sped up to the point of being hard to follow. Migrants have been stopping by in good numbers.

Baltimore orioles are scattered through all the woodlands. Some will stay and nest.

Baltimore orioles are scattered through all the woodlands. Some will stay and nest.

Warbling vireos are another recent arrival.

Warbling vireos are another recent arrival.

Savannah sparrows haven’t nested at Mayslake yet, but one day last week the meadows and prairies were full of them.

Savannah sparrows haven’t nested at Mayslake yet, but one day last week the meadows and prairies were full of them.

I know this is a broken-record theme for me (for those of you old enough to know what that expression means), but note how in the face-on view all those head stripes converge on the bill, accentuating it for rival intimidation (maybe). I’m reminded of Maori facial tattoos.

I know this is a broken-record theme for me (for those of you old enough to know what that expression means), but note how in the face-on view all those head stripes converge on the bill, accentuating it for rival intimidation (maybe). I’m reminded of Maori facial tattoos.

This Canada goose brood appeared on Mays’ Lake.

This Canada goose brood appeared on Mays’ Lake.

On the same day, the nest in the nearby stream corridor marsh was empty, with open eggshells, almost certainly that brood’s origin.

On the same day, the nest in the nearby stream corridor marsh was empty, with open eggshells, almost certainly that brood’s origin.

The other nest, in the parking lot marsh, has been abandoned. Three unhatched eggs are visible. The highest water levels in recent rains may have reached their undersides.

The Cooper’s hawk nest is under incubation just off the preserve in a neighbor’s yard.

The Cooper’s hawk nest is under incubation just off the preserve in a neighbor’s yard.

The nest was found by Vicky S., a former student of mine who went on to mentor with some of the area’s top birders and should be regarded as one of their number at this point. There’s some satisfaction to be had in being surpassed by one’s student. She pointed out that this is an unconventional structure, the hawks having added a layer of sticks to the top of a squirrel nest.

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1 Comment

  1. Lisa Rainsong said,

    May 12, 2015 at 8:30 am

    What an interesting observation about the Savannah Sparrow’s head stripes! i can really see that in your photo.


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