Author Archives: Amy

My visitors came from *where* in April?!

Here are some of the more interesting search terms that brought visitors to this site during April. You can see previous editions of this monthly post here.

By virtue of the address, this site ranks high for several search terms containing the words Magnificent Frigatebird or variations thereof. Last month visitors searched for frigate bird myth, picture of frigate ninove, why frigate bird migrations map, predators of magnifecent frigate bird and is the frigate bird extinct. For the record on that last one, no, it’s not.

The only new addition to the poop-term list for April is poop for lunch foto.

Interesting typos included bird art eshibit, hundreds of wolfs, new mexico pitchers of the state bird, modern mesuring tape, and stop red squirrles from getting into suet cage,

Someone searched for pigeon rice explode video which I am sure I don’t have anywhere on the site. In fact, the whole pigeons-exploding-from-eating-rice story is a myth.

T-shirt design ideas came in the form of searches for quiet shirts (as opposed to…?), rat pigeon skyline t-shirt, and extinct endangered threatened shirt.

I don’t want to know what the person searching for spoonbill recipes was really looking for.

Someone also searched for how to feed juncos, which I find kind of funny as juncos are the most abundant birds at our feeders during the winter, and they don’t seem too picky.

My favorite search term for April was can kids join the fbi. I can’t find the landing page on this site any more, but this page is probably a good start.

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SWF: Grant Woods Tree

Last week we visited Grant Woods Forest Preserve for the first time. It’s another Lake County (Illinois) preserve and probably the second-closest to our home, after Rollins Savanna. It was the first of several beautiful days we had last week, with a gorgeous blue sky and fast-moving white clouds.

We took one of the shorter trails through the woods and came across this tree, which looked to have been struck by lightning.


It was a dramatic scene and I felt bad for the very large tree, which must have been very old at the time it was split. How many sunrises and sunsets did this tree live through? How many years did it reach up towards the sky?


For more stories of the sky, visit the other submissions to this week’s Skywatch Friday.

Posted in Skywatch Friday | 4 Comments

Our low-cost birdbath

We picked up this cheap used birdbath at the Salvation Army shop last month for about $4. There was a small crack in the basin but otherwise it was in fine shape. It’s made of very lightweight plastic. The top screws off which makes it easy to thoroughly clean the bath when necessary.


To fix the crack, I got a tube of plumber-grade Goop for about $3.00. I applied half of the tube to the crack and let it dry for 24 hours.


We picked up four bricks at Menard’s for $1.00 to weigh the bath down. For less than $10 we now have a functional birdbath. I was very excited to spot the first customer last week: this Mourning Dove. Yay!

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Hang in there!

We’re getting ready for Arthur’s parents to visit us for two weeks. They’re flying in from the Netherlands tomorrow. We probably won’t do any birding during this time so I won’t be making too many posts here on the blog, except for a couple I’ve got scheduled (T-Shirt Tuesday must go on, you know!).

I was outside taking a few photos of our birdbath and as I approached the feeders this funky little American Goldfinch was determined to keep on the sock as long as possible. It was extremely windy and I was only about 15 feet away from him but he just kept hangin’ on, munching away.

See ya in May!

Posted in Video, Yard Birds | Leave a comment

BPW: American Goldfinch

I grew up around here but for some reason I can’t remember seeing American Goldfinches in our back yard as a kid. As I became more interested in birds over the last few years, my visits home would only be in the very early spring or, more often, at Christmastime. (Meanwhile I got to know the local European Goldfinches in Leiden). So in my memory I’ve only seen male American Goldfinches in their winter garb. I am really wowed by the bright, beautiful yellow color they transform into for the summer and I’ve enjoyed watching them during the transformation – they can look kind of funky when they’ve got a half-drab half-bright thing going on. Last week we took a walk at Rollins Savanna, the closest Lake County Forest Preserve to our house, and saw our first totally ready American Goldfinch. What a beauty!

First a look to one side.
American Goldfinch

Then a good fluffing.
American Goldfinch Fluff-up

And a look to the other side.
American Goldfinch

Bird Photography Weekly is a regular collection of user-submitted bird photos from all over the world. This great meme is hosted by Birdfreak and is well worth checking out every week!

Posted in Bird Photography Weekly | 5 Comments

Techny field trip

Yesterday we went out with the Evanston North Shore Bird Club again. This time the leader was a young man named Sulli and he brought us into Valley Lo Country Club, a spot normally off-limits to non-members. Sulli is a monitor for the Techny Basin Conservation Area with the Bird Conservation Network and has special permission to bird on the club’s property.

Sulli lead our group of 12 participants around the golf course of the club and around Techny Basin as well as Lake Glenview and Air Station Prairie, a prairie habitat set aside from the old Glenview Naval Air Station. Here is part of our group at the golf course:


One of the highlights was very good looks at a Palm Warbler at Techny Basin. During the trip I mentioned to Joel, a birder we had met on the Looney Trip, that we hadn’t seen warblers before, but I was so wrong, oops! We’ve seen the Palm Warbler in non-breeding plumage in Florida in 2006, as well as a surprise non-breeding Yellow-rumped Warbler in Deerfield last year. It would be true to say we’ve not seen any warblers in their full breeding glory, though!

We saw lots of great birds on this outing, but unfortunately I did not get lots of great photos. Highlights were: Common Loons (still here!); a flying Green Heron; a flying Merlin; the Palm Warbler; Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers; courting Red-breasted Mergansers; Northern Flicker; Cedar Waxwings; roosting Black-crowned Night-herons; and a flying Sora which was flushed by Sulli and Joel. Several of these were lifers for us.

We did have very good looks at the Red-tailed Hawk on the golf course. It wasn’t bothered by us at all and even did a little preening with us watching.



I had a hard time getting on the Black-crowned Night-heron but Sulli was very patient and helped me get a good look at at least four of them (I think he saw more!). Boy, they were hiding! Here’s one:


It was another great outing with Evanston North Shore Bird Club on a beautiful Saturday. The forecast for the next few days is bleak with lots of rain and colder temperatures. I’m glad we could get out while the weather was so fine!

Posted in Illinois | 1 Comment

Make your home BirdSafe!

Learn how you can prevent bird collisions with windows at your home by visiting the BirdSafe Homes registry from the Wisconsin Humane Society. You can even register your home as a Bird Safe Home. You don’t have to be a resident of Wisconsin to participate. Even if you don’t register, check out the great tips to make sure your birds won’t fall victim to a strike at your home.


Posted in Aside, Yard Birds | 2 Comments

Skywatch Friday: Looking for MOON birds

A few months ago I volunteered to help with the Monitoring of Owls and Nightjars (MOON) program from the Illinois Natural History Survey. The project involves monitoring for certain bird species between sunset and sunrise during periods close to the full moon. The monitoring takes place at 9 different locations along a route where volunteers listen for nightjars, owls and other species for a period of 8 minutes. The first window for monitoring was April 3-17. We did our first survey on April 9th under optimal conditions. I’ll have more about MOON in a future post. For now, enjoy these photos of the sunset I took at Pistakee Lake before we started our survey:



And these crazy-loud Chorus Frogs we heard at one of our monitoring stops:

And don’t forget to go enjoy the other Skywatch Friday posts submitted this week!

Posted in Skywatch Friday | 5 Comments