Check the Sunday RRStar sports section, or call the Boone County Conservation District, for weekend dates on which Kinnikinnick, Distillery and Anderson Bend Cons. Areas will be closed for deer hunting. Unfortunately, it includes December 13-14, so the Rock Cut CBC won't be able to access those areas to count birds.

Earth Day is coming and NCIOS plans on having a booth. We need help attending the booth from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. The event is held at Spencer Conservation Area in Belvidere. This is a perfect opportunity for bird club members to spread the word about area birding and conservation and attract new members.

If anyone is interested, please comment on this post and/or come to the meeting on April 10th (7:00 PM) at Burpee Museum. More details will be provided for those interested and you can check our Earth Day page for more info and updates will be made on the blog.

I have completed data entry to National Audubon. The Rockford Count concluded with 70 species and 19,601 individual birds. In addition to the 70 species seen on count day (12/15) the following were seen in the count week period, which is three days before and three days after the count day: Common Merganser, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Eurasian Tree Sparrow. We recorded 1 new species for the count: Sandhill Crane. New highs were seen for the following species (with the number in parentheses after the bird name): Cooper's Hawk (17), Snowy Owl (1-tie), Barred Owl (16-tie), Northern Shrike (7), Carolina Wren (3-tie), Cedar Waxwing (246), Savannah Sparrow (5), Northern Cardinal (769), Brewer's Blackbird (2), and American Goldfinch (627).

As I mentioned in my preliminary report, our counters could not find Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, or Lapland Longspur. Waterfowl numbers were very low due to the lack of open water and the snow cover. The snow cover undoubtedly accounted for the high numbers of birds attracted to feeders, such as Northern Cardinal and American Goldfinch. The siskins and redpolls were only found at feeders. The snow conditions probably kept the number of Horned Larks, Snow Buntings, and Lapland Longspurs low because the road shoulders were not yet plowed and they had no place to pick up grit and seeds that made them easily visible.

This is a big year for Northern Shrikes throughout northern IL, and our 7 is probably 1 or 2 short of what birds are actually in the count circle. For instance, we found one on Sunday in our territory that wasn't near that spot on Saturday.

The Snowy Owl was a nice find, and represents only the second time that species has been seen on the Rockford count. Sandhill Crane was only a count week bird previously. A complete list of the species list and numbers can be found at the Audubon website I will be mailing out the species list to the participants with the totals of the Kishwaukee count, which will be held tomorrow, 12/29.

Thank you to all who participated. I really appreciate your efforts and assistance.


A reminder that the Rockford CBC will be held on Saturday, December 15. The count generally covers the northwest quadrant of the City of Rockford and northwest Winnebago County. The eastern boundary roughly follows the Rock River from downtown Rockford to Rockton. The southern arc is generally US 20 bypass from Meridian Road west to Berglund Rd. The northwest corner is Sugar River FP. If you signed up for the count at the Rockford Bird Club meeting in October, but haven't heard from me, don't worry. I have your name and the sheet, and you will be assigned to a team. You will hear from (or you are) a team captain.

If you don't have time to participate for at least one-half of a day, but live iwthin the count circle and would like to count birds at your feeder, please let me know by email at I will mail you a feeder form.

Remember that there is a $5 fee to participate for anyone over 19. The fee is not charged to feeder watchers.

If you have questions, you can email me at the above address or call 815-968-4732. Thanks.

I missed the deadline to submit information for a new Christmas Bird Count (CBC), however, next year we should have a new count for our area.

I will be bringing a map and some more information to the next NCIOS meeting (November 8th) but here is some preliminary information:

All CBC circles are 15 miles in diameter so I played around with various circles to maximize "good" area covered. The circle I came up with includes:

Rock Cut State Park, Kieselburg FP, Lib, Distillery, and a fairly long list of parks and preserves, mostly in Boone County. Already there has been some interest from birders in the area and I see no problem with getting 10 people to count (one of the requirements for starting a count is a list of at least 10 counters).

I am going to bring this up at the meeting so hopefully birders with some spare time can browse some of the areas this year to get an idea of the "best" areas. The data will be submitted next year between August and September and I am volunteering to compile the data and work on getting counters.

The date will be set in such a way to accommodate for other counts and for the Christmas season. By no means do I wish for this count to diminish the counting of the other CBCs in our area.

Don't miss our next meeting :)

It is never too early to start saving dates on your calendar for the upcoming Christmas Bird Count season. The Rockford count will be held on Saturday, December 15 and the Kishwaukee count is Saturday, December 29. Barbara and I would really appreciate all of your help and participation in thsse counts.

There are a number of other counts in the state that need counters. For instance, I help the Lost Mound/green Island count over on the Mississippi River in Jo Daviess/Carroll counties. That will be held on December14 this year.

Don't miss out on the Mysteries and Miracles of Nature ! Starting September 12th and going through the 15th, Severson Dells is hosting a wonderful event that can't be missed by anyone that loves nature!

And this event is FREE

You can view the whole event schedule at Severson Dells' Website but a couple highlights for birders are:

  • Bobby Harrison will be talking about the rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker on Friday, September 14th
  • Live raptor show sponsored by the World Bird Sanctuary on Saturday, September 15th at 10:00 AM, Noon, and 2:00 PM

I've personally seen a show by the World Bird Sanctuary and it is really spectacular. The birds fly freely above your heads! This is especially great for young birders and naturalists.

Here's a Bald Eagle from the World Bird Sanctuary in Missouri (I took this in 2004):
Bald Eagle