Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson | American Tree Sparrow

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 sub-0º days: the American tree … Read more…

Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: American Goldfinch

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 and ends its breeding cycle … Read more…

Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: Ruby-throated Hummingbird

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 with highly sweetened water, so … Read more…

Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: Black-billed Cuckoo

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 less than a week. So … Read more…

Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: Brown Thrasher

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 thicket as I tended our … Read more…

Spring Bird Spotting with Wendy Paulson

Spring Bird Spotting with Wendy Paulson

 Spring has sprung and it’s time to explore nature and discover wildlife with naturalist Wendy Paulson during her series of spring bird walks and hikes. Wendy authors Birds of Barrington, a monthly series at 365Barrington.com, and says all are welcome to join her as she shares details about many of the beautiful birds that live in the Barrington area. Wendy leads a series of Barrington … Read more…

Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: A Kaleidoscope of Color

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, the one that draws probably … Read more…

Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: White-throated Sparrow

Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: White-throated Sparrow

 For many people in northern temperate zones, the primary place they watch birds in winter is at feeders outside their homes. The sight of an active band of feathered visitors – chickadees, cardinals, woodpeckers, and others – flying back and forth for seeds and suet, brightens the bleakest winter day. One species that frequents home feeders but is perhaps less familiar to many is the … Read more…

365. Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: Great Horned Owl

365. Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: Great Horned Owl

 Should you be out at dusk these brisk December days, especially near a woodland, you might well hear the hu-hu-hu-WHO! WHO! of the great horned owl (Bubo virginianus). The owl is one of our fiercest local predators, and the largest of the owl family in the Barrington area. Countless times have I stood in the grassland at Cook County’s Spring Creek preserve, as the light … Read more…

311. Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: Pied-billed Grebe

311. Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: Pied-billed Grebe

 October brings to local ponds, lakes, and rivers large numbers of waterfowl, most of which have bred in northern wetlands and are stopping to fuel up for journeys farther south. Among the many species of ducks that frequent our bodies of freshwater, there often appears the pied-billed grebe (Podilymbus podiceps). Though it superficially resembles a duck, the grebe, in fact, is not one. It belongs … Read more…

266. New Schedule of Fall Bird Hikes With Wendy Paulson

266. New Schedule of Fall Bird Hikes With Wendy Paulson

 Get out and enjoy the fall migration with Barrington area naturalist and author of our Birds of Barrington series, Wendy Paulson. There are several walks scheduled in the weeks ahead and Wendy offers a wealth of information about the Barrington area bird population. Wendy leads a series of Barrington area bird hikes each spring and fall Cosponsored by Audubon Chicago Region and Citizens for Conservation. … Read more…

265. Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: Common Nighthawk

265. Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: Common Nighthawk

 A bird you might miss in the Barrington area unless you know something of its habits and movements is the common nighthawk (Chordeilus minor). Late August and early September is the perfect time frame to become acquainted with this species which, contrary to its name, is not a hawk nor active only at night. Years ago, when our daughter was running in cross country meets … Read more…