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Fall

Clean Nestboxes in October

It’s a wistful moment when your backyard birds — like these Black-capped Chickadees — depart their nestboxes. By October, it’s time for one last duty as nestbox landlord: to clean it out. Cleaning will reduce the incidence of parasites in the box and make it more inviting to next spring’s tenants... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Counting a Million Raptors Over Veracruz

A “river of raptors” flows through Veracruz State in eastern Mexico during the month of September. In Living on the Wind, Scott Weidensaul describes his experience counting the birds: “Nothing in a lifetime of birdwatching had prepared me for this spectacle,” he says. “As our sense of numbed... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Bird Rehabilitation at Willowbrook Center

At Willowbrook Wildlife Center in suburban Chicago, there’s hope for birds that have collided with skyscrapers during migration. Today, volunteers from Chicago Bird Collision Monitors have rescued and transported 28 injured or stunned birds to the wildlife center for rehabilitation. Many birds... read more »

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A Building Manager Shows the Way

Geoff Credi is the facilities manager for an impressive glass building in Chicago. In 2004, Credi learned about the devastating problem of birds colliding with glass. As a result, the building he manages became one of the first to participate in the Lights Out Chicago program, voluntarily turning... read more »

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A Virginia Rail on Michigan Avenue

Chicago’s Michigan Avenue – with towering glass skyscrapers and fancy boutiques – is the last place you’d expect to see a bird that normally hides in freshwater marshes. Yet, during migration, secretive Virginia Rails like this one pass over the city at night. That is, until they hit a building... read more »

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Chicago Volunteers Rescue Birds

In many urban areas, collisions are the fate of hundreds of thousands of birds, like this Brown Creeper. But Annette Prince and volunteers with Chicago Bird Collision Monitors are making a difference. Every morning during spring and fall migration, Annette and her team rescue birds that have... read more »

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Owls Vocalizing in Fall

Why do owls ramp up their territorial calls during fall while most songbirds have already ramped down? read more »

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Birds in the Winter Garden

Put your winter garden to work as a haven for birds. Leaves and brush left to compost provide foraging and roosting places, smother this year’s weeds, and feed next spring’s plant growth. Watch for juncos and towhees in the leaf litter, and wrens in the brush. Maybe even a Song Sparrow, like this... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, gardening

Migration

Migration happens once every year. And then again maybe six months later.Depending on several factors, at most times of the year, there are many birds on the move. Some are merely altitudinal migrants, descending when the weather turns fowl in the mountains. The large majority undertake a twice... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

The Moon of Falling Leaves

The Cree call the full moon in October "The Moon of Falling Leaves." It's almost time to stow the tools and put the garden to bed for the winter. When the trees lose their leaves, you can see the nests of summer. It's a good time to prune trees, because you won't disturb nesting birds. If you... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  gardening, nesting

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