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...

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 ... Read more...

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 ... Read more...

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, ... Read more...

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 ... Read more...

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 ... Read more...

235. Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: Cedar Waxwing

 If there were a prize offered for the most elegant among songbirds, the cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) would be a serious contender. Sleek, crested, black-masked, suavely-toned in fawn and yellowish plumage with red and yellow details, the waxwing can look almost porcelain instead of feathered. Late summer is a good time to be on alert for cedar waxwings. They nest ... Read more...

200. Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: Indigo Bunting

 A month into summer, birdsong has diminished considerably. But a few species still vocalize regularly. One of the most conspicuous songsters is the indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea), a diminutive summer resident of the Barrington area that excites observers with its electric blue. The song of the indigo bunting has a ringing quality that readily distinguishes it from other birds still ... Read more...

164. Birds of Barrington with Wendy Paulson: Scarlet Tanager

 One of the more stunning species that nests in the Barrington area is the scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea). Even a momentary glimpse of the bird elicits a visual – and often audible – gasp. With black wings and tail, its body plumage is a luminous scarlet, not simply red, making even the eye-catching northern cardinal seem almost dull by comparison. ... Read more...

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