Blogs & Videos: Birds

Northerly Island reopens!

It's been a long time coming: after more than two years of construction, this morning Northerly Island officially reopened. Although not "officially" open until 10am, many people were out early this morning enjoying the new paved walkway that loops through the southern 40 acres of the park. I was one of those people, hoping for some interesting migrants and checking out the site's birding potential. 

A tropical wanderer visits the Midwest

Photo © Nathan Goldberg, taken in St. Joseph, Berrien Co., Michigan, on 11 July 2015. I was riding south on the lakefront bike path, like I do most mornings, on my way to the museum. It was a lovely morning, cool, overcast, and with a nice tailwind. I passed the construction fence at Fullerton Avenue and glanced towards the water, as I do frequently during my ride. Then I nearly fell off my bike. A frigatebird was flying over!

The Chicago Peregrine Program

By the 1960s the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) was extinct in many states - including Illinois - because of the negative effects of the pesticide DDT. But, thanks to dedicated reintroduction and monitoring efforts over the last 30 years in part from Field Museum scientist Mary Hennen and The Chicago Peregrine Program, just recently these birds were removed from the Illinois threatened species list! 

Peregrine Falcons Removed from IL Endangered List

Peregrine Falcons have their share of claims to fame—with a diving speed of over 200 miles per hour, they’re the fastest animals in the world, and they’ve adapted from living on rocky cliffs to a different kind of “mountain”: Chicago’s skyscrapers.  But in 1951, there were none left in Illinois, and it looked as if the species would be wiped out of North America entirely. Today, thanks largely to the Chicago Peregrine Program headed by The Field Museum’s Mary Hennen, Peregrines are flourishing to the point that they’re no longer in immediate danger.

Peregrine Removed from Illinois' Endangered List

Illinois officially removed Peregrine Falcons from the state Endangered & Threatened Species List. What does this means for our state population of Peregrine Falcons? First, it is an affirmation of the recovery of the species in Illinois.  This is due in part to the long-term stewardship and dedicated effort of numerous individuals and organizations that have supported and assisted in looking after Illinois’ Peregrines.