My Birthday Birding Adventure!-2/11/17

By Simon Tolzmann


For my 12th birthday I wanted to go birding. We started the day out at Montrose Harbor/Magic Hedge with just my family. We immediately saw House Sparrows, 1 crow flyover, Rock Doves, and 6 very cooperative Cardinals (3 male, 3 Female). Then we are bombarded with 12 Downy Woodpeckers. Out of the corner of my eye I see a larger woodpecker working it’s way up a large oak. I determined it to be a Red-Bellied Woodpecker! My spirits were heightened, and we worked our way farther into the Hedge. I heard some Goldeneye and Canada Geese fly over. My mom pointed out a Robin sitting very still and I noticed that it had a black head with a white neck. That was it for the forested area for the first part of the outing.

As we get to the pier, I notice 4 small gulls making a racket overhead. They were only Ring-Billed, but one had a shell in it’s mouth. The shell looked big from even a far distance. We walk out onto the pier only to find a few Red-Breasted Merganser and Common Goldeneye. We are unsuccessful in the dunes or the shoreline. I run over to a hill of sand to check one more time that there was absolutely nothing. There was absolutely nothing. We head back through the forested area again to find some Chickadees and Robins. I decide to take a different rout than before and were lucky to stumble upon a COOPER’S HAWK! ( Found by my Mom.) As it flies away I  notice something that resembled a penguin at first look about 200m away, floating on a piece of ice. now thinking “That would be ridiculous!”, I set up my scope and get a better view. We were so far away, we couldn’t get that much better view. We get about 50m closer and can get better pictures and a better look. I speculate that it is a Red-Necked Grebe, but it was too big to be one of those. We sill are trying to find out what it is!

Lincoln Park Zoo Duck Pond

For my second location, we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo Duck pond because of last week’s success. We immediately found the :

  1. 1 AMERICAN WIGEON!!! (Wild)
  2. 6 Ruddy Ducks
  3. 12 Barrow’s Goldeneyes
  4. 5 Northern Pintails (Only one was wild)
  5. 2 Wild American Black Ducks! (Both are Wild)
  6. 8 Hooded Mergansers (Only one was wild)
  7. 60 Wild Mallards (All Wild)
  8. 2 Trumpeter Swans
  9. 6 Swan Geese
  10. 2 Canada Geese (Wild)
  11. 2 wood Ducks
  12. 12 Wild House Sparrows

This is an AMERICAN WIGEON! A definite lifer, and the bird of the day!

My drawing of Wigeons (American and Eurasian)


Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Cooper’s Hawk
Ruddy Ducks
Swan Goose
Black Ducks (Wild)


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