Merlin. Photo © John Picken / www.picken.com Read more about Merlin confirmed nesting in Illinois for the first time!
Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) photo by Nathan Goldberg. Read more about Of Ivory Gulls and Parasites
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). Photo © Jeff Skrentny. Sibling birds-of-prey often play-fight with their talons. It's practice for hunting, fighting, and passing prey to a mate. But the Red-tailed Hawks in the photos below are adults. They probably got their talons locked together in a territorial battle. Apparently they were unable to unlock them, causing both birds to perish. Maybe they should have played more as youngsters. "To the victor go the spoils," the saying goes. Unless there is no victor. Read more about Things seen in the Bird Division #11: 'Til death do us part
Northerly Island, the Museum Campus park that occupies the peninsula where small planes once took off from Meigs Field, was re-opened last fall after a two-year, $9.7 million renovation project. I wrote a review of it at the time. Read more about Post-storm Northerly Island update
The power of museum collections often comes from volume: with a higher sample size, more can be learned with great precision. But sometimes you can learn a great deal from a single specimen, too. Read more about Things seen in the Bird Division #10: Where did the waxwing go?
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!
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
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!
On 22 May, Rob Curtis discovered a flock of seven Red Knots (Calidris canutus) on Montrose Beach, on Chicago's north side, a beach almost as famous for its birds as its sand. One Red Knot in the Chicago area is unusual, but seven is remarkable. Even more remarkable was that one of the knots--a particularly brightly colored one--had an engraved "flag" on its leg, with a readable alpha-numeric code unique to that individual. Read more about The traveling knot