Category Archives: Birdorable

Social and curious sun-lovers

Black Vulture

Well, hello there! Long time no blog. We lost our beloved cat Arby on Monday after about eight weeks of slowly deteriorating health. It’s been a tough summer. I’m so ready for fall! Bring on September — which happens to start off with International Vulture Awareness Day on the 1st.

I find vultures endearing for several reasons. These pictures of Black Vultures, taken at Hontoon Island State Park back in June, show three of those reasons.

They are social.

Black Vultures

They are curious.

Black Vultures

They love the sun.

Black Vultures

How are you celebrating IVAD this year? Arthur and I will visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom (the park celebrates on the 5th), as we did last year. If you can’t get enough of vultures, you’ll probably like what we’ve done over at Birdorable – check out the new Birdorable vulture landing page.

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Posted in Behavior, Birdorable, Festivals & Events | 1 Comment

Why’s the Osprey so hot lately?

There’s a movement to designate the Osprey as the state bird of Oregon (replacing the Western Meadowlark). A few months ago schoolchildren in Florida elected to name the Osprey the new state bird, to replace the Mockingbird. I love Ospreys as much as the next person (it’s even one of my favorite Birdorables), but how come they’re so popular as to be replacing existing state birds all of a sudden?

Osprey Hovering
Osprey Hovering by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region, Creative Commons on Flickr

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Posted in Birdorable, North America, Offbeat | Leave a comment

The Big Sit 2008

Yesterday we participated as Team Birdorable in the 14th annual Big Sit birding event. The Big Sit involves observing as many different bird species as possible while remaining basically in the same place. Big Sit participants find a good birding spot and remain within a 17 foot diameter circle during the event.

We are lucky enough to live within walking distance of a county preserve: Prairie Wolf Slough in Lake County, Illinois.


Prairie Wolf Slough
Prairie Wolf Slough in Lake County, Illinois


Prairie Wolf Slough
Our view of the slough from our Big Sit circle

Team Birdorable member Amy
Amy looks for birds during the Big Sit

Team Birdorable member Arthur checks out Prairie Wolf Slough during the Big Sit 2008
Arthur explores the slough outside our Big Sit circle


We arrived at our ‘circle’, a picnic table, shortly before sunrise. Our first bird was a Mallard flying over, and then the first of many flocks of Canada Geese leaving the slough for the day. Other flyovers included Herring Gull, American Crow, Great Egret and Great Blue Heron. American Goldfinches and Red-winged Blackbirds were the most abundant species.

Canada Geese
Canada Geese leave the slough for the day

American Goldfinch
An American Goldfinch snacks on seeds

White-crowned Sparrow
A White-crowned Sparrow poses for the camera

Our total species count was 16, nowhere near fellow Illinois Big Sitters Birdfreak’s impressive total of 42. We had a lot of fun during our first Big Sit and we are looking forward to participating again next year!

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Posted in Birdorable, Festivals & Events, Illinois | Leave a comment
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