January 2008

Last Saturday on private property on the Pecatonica River west of Rockton, Il I saw about 7 Bluebirds feeding in a Multi-flora Rose bush. Ned Hollister Bird Club was there on a field trip and all were able to observe them. For most it was their first January sighting of a Bluebird.

My neighbor had called that morning to inform me of a red phase Screech Owl near his home. Later in the day some of us were able to observe it. It had remained in the same brush pile all day

Barbara and I took a walk around the loop road at Anna Page late this afternoon. We were surprised (and pleased) to see 3 Eastern Bluebirds back along Kent Creek. They were first in a stand of pines inside the loop, then they flew down toward the creek.

Barred Owl

We are doing a Deer Run Bird Survey and we came across a Barred Owl this morning. Eddie got this photo and we thought it was really red for a Barred Owl. Is there a red phase for the Barred Owl such as the Eastern Screech Owl has?

Eddie also shot this cool American Tree Sparrow. The snow is very deep at Deer Run and it was a bit hard to walk, but it wasn't nearly as frigid today!

American Tree Sparrow

Good Birding All!

Cooper's Hawk

A Cooper's Hawk made a spectacular attempt to catch a House Sparrow in the front of our house yesterday afternoon. He missed, but he left a lasting impression!

Cooper's Hawk Imprint

He then flew away, but we're sure he'll be back for another try!

Cooper's Hawk

Around noon today, I had 3 flocks of Snow Buntings with a total of about 1000 birds. 2 flocks each had 400-500 birds, and the other had around 35. They were all located on Montague Road between Baileyville Road and Pecatonica Road. Up to that point, Montague Road is on the county line between Stephenson and Ogle Counties. The 2 larger flocks were both within 5 miles east of Baileyville Rd.

On November 28, 2007 a local lawyer found a dead female Merlin in downtown Rockford. He turned it over to Dan and I. The bird appears to have crashed into a window and died from the impact. I have prepared it as a study skin and it will soon join the Burpee Museum's collection. While skinning it I examined the gizzard contents and found a lot of matted feathers, small bird bones and two pairs of songbird feet that had not yet been digested. I've compared the feet to specimens in the Burpee collection and they are a perfect match with the feet of a White-throated Sparrow and a Redpoll (presumably a Common Redpoll). Was anyone aware of Redpolls in this area in Late Nov? Sometimes there is interesting detail on bird biology to be found by examining stomach contents!


Looked too nice to stay indoors, so I drove to Rock Cut at 10:00 a.m. to see what might be on the lake. There were about 100 Herring Gulls, plus an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and the same waterfowl that have been reported. The cold is evaporating the water so quickly that steam is billowing and blowing, often obscuring the birds. Too cold to stand around looking through the telescope for very long, and all of the geese were sleeping, so I didn't do a check for White-fronted.

An adult Bald Eagle was in the large cottonwood north of the 15th Avenue bridge on the south side of Rockford, a light morph Rough-legged Hawk was hunting at Bell Bowl at the airport (this bird has been there since before the Kishwaukee count on the 29th) and there were 2 Hermit Thrushes and 1 Fox Sparrow mixed in the usual gang of White-throated Sparrows at Klehm.

Hello birders!! I just wanted to make a few quick notes about the blog:

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The adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was sitting on the ice on Pierce Lake late this afternoon between 3:45-4:00 p.m. It was about midway down the lake between east and west ends and viewed from the parking lot by the dam. Besides that, I could only find Herring Gulls. Most were in the air or way down the lake in small patches of open water.

The Black-Backed Gull I reported on Sat. the 12th was probably the Lesser Black-Backed that Dan saw that day. Sorry for any inconveniece this may have caused. However, I am positive on the identification of another Northern Shrike sitting in a tree in the parking lot at Severson Dells at 10:30 Sun. morning, the 13th. Also seen by Esther Schippers, & Jean Howell. Also seen Sunday on Montague Rd west about 5 miles from Hwy 26, mixed flocks of 200+ Snow Buntings, Lapland Longspurs, Horned Larks. Quite a sight!

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