Each spring I try to participate in the annual Spring Bird Count in northern Illinois. In the last 15 years I may have missed two or three. Counting birds is a great excuse to get out and go birding, even if life is extra busy.
This year I headed out into the field with my 76-year old father, 5-year old son, and one of my sisters (age redacted) to see what we could find in a corner of Winnebago County.
Starting early we were rewarded with several flocks of warblers feeding on forest preserve roadways. This consisted of 95% Yellow-Rumped Warblers with a mix of Yellow and Palm Warblers as well as White-Throated Sparrows and a lone Red-Breasted Nuthatch.
In deference for my dad and son, we took it slow on the trails. Over 9 hours of birding we managed to hike around 5 miles and find nearly 50 species of birds. Warbler numbers were low and we had several glaring misses: Great Blue Heron, Red-tailed Hawk, Common Grackle, and others.
We had several wonderful sightings including a fantastic view of a Pileated Woodpecker. Most importantly, my son was able to see many of the birds and truly enjoyed looking and pointing out birds. He also managed some climbing along the way.
Next year’s Spring Bird Count I plan on bringing my younger son as well and hopefully we’ll find even more birds.