On every camping trip, there is one bird that hangs around the campsite more than any other. We like to call him our “Resident Bird”. This past weekend, we spent five nights out at Sugar River Forest Preserve, and it was hard to figure out just who was our Resident Bird, since we had a few strong contenders.
First we narrowed down the most frequently seen species. There were four finalists:
The Chipping Sparrows came nearest to us, looking for food on the ground. The American Crows mostly squawked and hollered above us in the trees in between bouts of scavenging nearby empty campsites. The Red-breasted Nuthatches were in a small gang and were ecstatically pulling seeds out of pine cones and jabbering loudly to each other.
Our overall winner? The non-photogenic Northern Cardinal! The male would skulk through the pines almost every hour, and there was a female and some young adults hanging around as well. In the morning, he was the first bird singing, as well as the loudest. He sang all day and was one of the last to retire for the night.
The Resident Bird usually becomes a bird that we forever feel a special bond with, as if they were ours for a few days. Our campsite was a great place to chill and watch birds.