Lucas’ Birding Blog: February 26

On February 26th, Isoo O’Brien, Ben Sanders and myself spent the morning birding Deer Grove Forest Preserve and Crabtree Nature Center. Initially, we started off by birding for about an hour at Deer Grove Forest Preserve – West, an area of healthy, primary, oak forest with a high canopy. We started here in search of Pileated and Red-headed Woodpecker. While we found neither, lots of common birds were calling throughout, which was nice to hear. I tried my hand at taking field notes for the first time, but the cold and wind caused my hand to be fairly unsteady, making drawing nearly impossible. Due to this, I decided to focus on things that only involved writing, such as documenting song and behavior. After leaving Deer Grove, we took the short drive to Crabtree Nature Center. Upon arrival, we walked to the nature center to investigate the feeders. On the way, we witnessed a lone flyover Sandhill Crane, which was my first of the year. Once we arrived at the nature center, we realized that the regular feeding flock was absent, so we walked over to the blind overlooking the lake. On the lake, we saw a flock of Common Mergansers, a small group of Ring-billed Gulls and some Canada Geese. Then, Ben received a text from a birder giving us the location to find Red-headed Woodpecker in Deer Grove. This was exciting because this was one of our targets on the day, so we immediately departed to go back to where we started. This time however, we went to Deer Grove – East, which is much more of a prairie and marshland area and much less forest. We found our sole Red-headed Woodpecker foraging in the bare trees of a freshwater marsh in the center of the prairie. Witnessing the beautiful black, white and red patterning of the Red-headed Woodpecker for the first time since last May was quite a treat. These incredible woodpeckers are interesting to watch as the forage and fly from tree to tree. After this sighting, we headed back to the car and we finished off the day.

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