Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson | Common Merganser

 One of the pleasures of winter birding is the search for wintering waterfowl. Ducks that have bred in wetlands at more northerly latitudes fly south to swim and forage in ponds and lakes that are not covered with ice. In this relatively mild winter, local lakes lost their ice cover in mid-February, much earlier than usual. A friend who lives ... Read more...

Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson | American Tree Sparrow

 Recent spells of arctic weather have left many of our natural areas seemingly bereft of birdlife. Except for a crow here and a red-tailed hawk there, it appeared that most birds in the Barrington area had either flown away or were hanging around bird feeders. But there is one songbird species that I have consistently encountered, even on walks on ... Read more...

Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson | Golden-crowned Kinglet

 Twice during the first week in October I received messages and photos from friends about little birds they had spotted in the city, one on a balcony rail thirty stories high and one that had survived a collision with a streetfront window. In both cases the bird was a golden-crowned kinglet (Regulus satrapa), a wee migrant that we see twice ... Read more...

Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: Bold & Blue

 On a recent bird walk at Beverly Lake in Spring Creek Forest Preserve, our group stood for several minutes in the parking lot, transfixed by a river of blue jays passing overhead. They just kept coming and coming and we continued to see bands of them in flight throughout the walk. September is a month for blue jays. It’s not ... Read more...

Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: American Goldfinch

 For most birds that spend the summer in our area, August is a relatively quiet month. Courtship, nest building, incubation, chick-raising are finished chapters in the annual cycle. It’s a time to ensure that the next generation is finding its way in nature, as adults and offspring will separate soon, probably forever. But there is one local species that starts ... Read more...

Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 One of our local summer bird residents, despite its dazzling appearance, is so small it often goes unnoticed. Several times in June a quick movement has caught my eye and it has taken me a few seconds to realize that it was a ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilocus colubris) zooming through the flowers. Many bird enthusiasts maintain feeders for hummingbirds, filling them ... Read more...

Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: Black-billed Cuckoo

 I probably would not have chosen the black-billed cuckoo (Coccyrus erythropthalmus) to profile in Birds of Barrington for some years (when I was running out of species!), as it’s a secretive bird, little known and seldom seen by most, even committed bird watchers. But this May I saw no fewer than five black-billed cuckoos, newly arrived from South America, in ... Read more...

Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: Brown Thrasher

 This time of year I eagerly await the arrival of local nesting birds which have wintered elsewhere. One such returnee, a short-distance migrant, never fails to make me smile when I hear its bold, ever-varied notes, given usually in twice-repeated phrases. It’s the brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum), a bird that has delighted me ever since one sang non-stop from a ... Read more...

Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: A Kaleidoscope of Color

 Even with this relatively mild winter, local ponds and lakes have retained ice cover during January and February. But as March brings more days above freezing, the ice begins to vanish and, happily for those who watch birds, rafts of ducks appear on their way back to northern breeding grounds. Though many of these waterfowl are striking to look at, ... Read more...

Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: Red-bellied Woodpecker

 For the month of Valentine’s Day, it seems fitting to focus on a bird that incorporates the color red. The red-bellied woodpecker appears to be an apt choice. The bird, especially the male, does feature red feathers. But you have to look hard to find any on its belly! It was not until I held a specimen of a red-bellied ... Read more...

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