Heart of Migration

by Carl Strang

We now are in the tail end of the spring migration season for birds. This was a very good spring for birds at Mayslake Forest Preserve.

Several blackburnian warblers stop at Mayslake every spring.

Several blackburnian warblers stop at Mayslake every spring.

Until I got into the study of singing insects, I thought of the rising high note at the end of the blackburnian’s song as my annual hearing test. I still can hear that note fine, but some of the insect songs get fainter each year. Others I can’t hear at all.

We also consistently see and hear rose-breasted grosbeaks at Mayslake in spring, but so far none have nested there.

We also consistently see and hear rose-breasted grosbeaks at Mayslake in spring, but so far none have nested there.

Blue-headed vireos trickle through in spring, but will nest farther north.

Blue-headed vireos trickle through in spring, but will nest farther north.

At least 3 pairs of indigo buntings will stay to nest at Mayslake.

At least 3 pairs of indigo buntings will stay to nest at Mayslake.

This clay-colored sparrow stopped by on a cloudy day. This is only the fourth or fifth member of its species I have observed at Mayslake. They nest in the county, but not there.

This clay-colored sparrow stopped by on a cloudy day. This is only the fourth or fifth member of its species I have observed at Mayslake. They nest in the county, but not there.

Though the fanned tail is the main part of the American redstart visible in this photo, that bit is worth sharing. This bird’s specialty is flashing its wings and tail to flush insect prey into flight, so that it acrobatically can chase them down.

Though the fanned tail is the main part of the American redstart visible in this photo, that bit is worth sharing. This bird’s specialty is flashing its wings and tail to flush insect prey into flight, so that it acrobatically can chase them down.

The bay-breasted warbler tends to peak in the latter part of the migration season. Its song is like a weakened version of the black-and-white warbler’s “wee-see-wee-see-wee-see.”

The bay-breasted warbler tends to peak in the latter part of the migration season. Its song is like a weakened version of the black-and-white warbler’s “wee-see-wee-see-wee-see.”

This will be my last spring migration at Mayslake, but I anticipate equal or greater diversity at St. James Farm next year.

 

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