Birds of Barrington, Citizens for Conservation, Featured, Nature & Wildlife

Wendy Paulson’s Birds of Barrington | Spring Homecoming

Wendy Paulson’s Birds of Barrington | Spring Homecoming

Images by Citizens for Conservation volunteer & wildlife photographer, Steve Barten.

I heard a Red-winged Blackbird for the first time this year on February 28. At a Citizens for Conservation workday only two days earlier, several of us had debated the probable arrival date.

The next day I first heard Sandhill Cranes migrating overhead. Since then, they’ve streamed northward by the thousands, blanketing the air waves with their bugle music.

On March 7, my husband and I spotted our first Eastern Bluebirds of the year in Cook County’s Spring Creek Forest Preserve. A day later I heard a Killdeer.

Has there been a late winter in recent memory when birdsong and bird flight have been more welcome? The brutality and silence of February’s arctic grip have made the current avian activity seem nearly miraculous.

Every day will bring more species back to the Barrington area from wherever they have spent the winter months. First will come the short-distance migrants: blackbirds, cranes, bluebirds. Eastern Phoebes should arrive soon. So will Eastern Meadowlarks, Northern Flickers, Woodcocks, Wilson’s Snipes, Henslow’s Sparrows, Brown Thrashers – all species that mostly winter in the United States, but south of our latitude.

Then, sometime in late April and early May, the surge from the tropics will begin. Starting with Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers, we’ll start to see vireos, warblers, flycatchers, swallows, tanagers, orioles, hummingbirds, bobolinks – birds that have completed flights across the Gulf of Mexico or on ancient aerial paths over Central America, some from deep in the Amazon and even farther south.

Step outside and see if you can hear a Sandhill Crane bugling in the sky or hear a Red-winged Blackbird ok-a-reeing from a marsh or a Killdeer calling its name. Welcome the travelers back.

Their annual migration IS a miracle. Only this year it seems especially so.

Images by Citizens for Conservation volunteer & wildlife photographer, Steve Barten.

About Wendy Paulson

Wendy Paulson has lived in Barrington Hills since 1975, and has led bird walks in the area for many years. She re-established the Nature Lady program in the Barrington 220 school district and St. Anne’s in the late 70s, under the auspices of The Garden Club and Little Garden Club of Barrington. Wendy developed the education program for Citizens for Conservation, initiated and edited its newsletter, and has been an active volunteer with CFC for over 30 years.

Wendy Paulson
Wendy Paulson

During interludes in New York City and Washington, DC, Wendy taught classes about birds in the public schools and is helping to develop a similar program in Chicago public schools with Openlands. She is chairman of The Bobolink Foundation, serves on the board or advisory committee of multiple conservation and bird-related organizations, both domestic and international, and is former chairman of IL and NY chapters of The Nature Conservancy.

Wendy and her husband Hank have two grown children and are avid hikers, cyclists, and kayakers.

CLICK HERE to explore all of the local bird profiles Wendy has authored in our Birds of Barrington series at

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