Some Mayslake Migrants

by Carl Strang

This has been a good spring for migrant birds at Mayslake Forest Preserve. Some are species that nest in DuPage County, but use Mayslake only for day stops.

The savanna sparrow is one of these, though as Mayslake’s prairies continue to expand, the day may come when one or more pairs nest on the preserve.

The savanna sparrow is one of these, though as Mayslake’s prairies continue to expand, the day may come when one or more pairs nest on the preserve.

Scarlet tanagers prefer forests to Mayslake’s more open woodlands.

Scarlet tanagers prefer forests to Mayslake’s more open woodlands.

One morning my walk across the mansion grounds was arrested by a distinctive, repeated “pick-a-tuck.”

Sure enough, a summer tanager, an immature male.

Sure enough, a summer tanager, an immature male.

Summer tanagers are among the southern birds that increasingly are appearing in the Chicago region. The point of all these birds stopping for the day is illustrated in the next photo.

A Philadelphia vireo refuels.

A Philadelphia vireo refuels.

Caterpillars and other herbivorous insects start early in the season so as to take advantage of the newly opened leaves’ relative lack of defensive chemicals. The caterpillars themselves have only camouflage for defense, and birds like the vireo have sharp eyes.

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