Josh Engel's blog

April 22nd, 2014

Extremely stormy weather in the spring of 1996 caused unusually high mortality in birds migrating over Lake Michigan.

March 13th, 2014

When a swan dies in Chicago...

March 11th, 2014

Ducks spending the winter on the Great Lakes fought for survival during the harsh winter months of early 2014. Many did not make it. We explain why.

February 17th, 2014

It was a Boreal Owl kind of day.

February 07th, 2014

There is only one specimen of Yellow Palm Warbler from Illinois.

January 24th, 2014

Snowy Owls are back in the Chicago area in a big way, for the second time in three winters. I examined the contents of their pellets to see what they are eating.

January 16th, 2014

Barred Owl, meet chickadee.

December 18th, 2013

This is not the Accipiter we were expecting. Cooper's Hawks are common visitors to the Prep Lab, as are Sharp-shinned Hawks. But not Northern Goshawks. Goshawks are denizens of the northwoods, only rarely making forays as far south as Chicago.

October 17th, 2013

A few more details on the status of Northerly Island.

September 27th, 2013

There have been a lot of changes at Northerly Island over the last few months, most of them bad for birds and worse for birders. Learn the latest here.


May 22nd, 2013

Every year, thousands of birds die in Chicago from flying into windows, usually after becoming disoriented by by the bright city lights while they are migrating at night. While the birds that fly into windows most often are common species, every once-in-a-while a real surprise shows up.

October 17th, 2012

A Burrowing Owl was found at Montrose Beach Dunes on October 6, the first record of this western owl in the Chicago area since 2008. After an absence of about a week, it (or another) was seen again at the same location. Then is was watched coughing up a pellet, as owls do.

July 30th, 2012

Over the last few days, at least three shorebirds with no obvious signs of trauma have been found dead or dying on Montrose Beach. What's killing them?

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