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. Read more about Northerly Island reopens!
Blogs & Videos: Birds
The only White-winged Dove that I've seen in Illinois, on the campus of Northwestern University, Evanston, on 27 May 2007. © Josh Engel Read more about Illinois' first White-winged Dove specimen
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! Read more about A tropical wanderer visits the Midwest
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. Read more about Peregrine Falcons Removed from IL Endangered List
I'm very excited to be participating in the Field Museum and Music Box Theater's collaborative film series Cinema Science. The program pairs a Field Museum scientist with a famous movie that has something to do with their area of expertise--Pete Mackovicky hosted Jurassic Park, for example, and Kevin Feldheim hosted Jaws. Read more about Come to Cinema Science: THE BIRDS!
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. Read more about Peregrine Removed from Illinois' Endangered List
This little booklet has so much history, it's hard to know even where to begin. Let's start with the fact that the first author, James D. Watson, is the father of one of the most famous scientists of the 20th century, also named James D. Watson, who along with Francis Crick is credited with the discovery of the structure of DNA. But that's the least of it. The third author is even more intriguing. Read more about History and birds come together: "Spring Migration Notes" from 1920 and its famous authors
Just like people, birds have the misfortune of being visited by a variety of blood-sucking insects, insects that can transmit all manner of parasites through their bites. Some of those parasites, including ones related to human malaria, come in the form of haemosporidia--single-celled protozoans that take up residence in their host's bloodstream. Using modern lab techniques, scientists are now able to discover the diversity of these parasites living in the bloodstream of wild birds by isolating their DNA from the blood of infected birds. Read more about Birds get malaria, too