2015 Carlyle Pelagic - September 19

IOS is pleased to announce this year’s Carlyle Lake Field Trip to be held, Saturday, September 19th, 2015. This trip includes the popular three-hour pelagic aboard comfortable pontoon boats.

Long-tailed Jaeger is the most hoped for of possible rarities on this trip.

Long-tailed Jaeger is the most hoped for of possible rarities on this trip.

As in past years, we’ll meet at McDonald’s off IL 127 in Carlyle at 6:30 AM. This is a full-day field trip, ending around 7:30. We’ll begin with a scan of the lake from Dam West Beach before heading to Eldon Hazlet State Park to search for migrant songbirds. We’ll bird the Hazlet area all morning before breaking for lunch. Lunch will be fast food or bring your own. We’ll gather at the Dam West picnic area where we’ll be able to search for more birds from the excellent shade provided.

After lunch, depending on water levels, we’ll search for shorebirds and waders.


The boat trip begins at 3:30 from Dam West Marina. The late afternoon/early evening hours can be excellent for feeding gulls, terns and others. We hope to find SABINE’S GULL which has eluded us on the past 3 field trips! It’s also possible to tally RED and RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, EARED and PIED-BILLED GREBES, 5 or 6 Gull species and potentially any of the 3 JAEGER species!

Bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, bug spray, mud boots and your hat.

Those planning on staying Saturday night may wish to join us for a group dinner at a nearby restaurant. Recommended hotels are available in Carlyle, Greenville, Salem and Vandalia.

There is a fee associated with this field trip to cover the costs of pontoon rental and gasoline. In addition, $5 per participant goes to the IOS Grants program. The fee is $30 for existing IOS members and $50 for non-IOS members. The $50 fee for non-members registers you for the field trip and also pays for a one-year IOS membership and all the benefits, including 4 issues of the outstanding IOS journal, the Meadowlark.

This field trip is limited to 45 participants with IOS members receiving first priority. Trip registration and payment shall be made through the Pay Pal feature on the IOS website (below) if at all possible. Registration will not be accepted without full payment in advance. The trip leader is not accepting payment or registrations.

Persons not using the website and Pay Pal must promptly register by sending full payment to IOS , P.O. Box 931, Lake Forest, IL 60045 and note that the payment is for “Carlyle Pelagic” AND call or e-mail the trip leader (see below) to notify their payment has been mailed.

This trip is very popular and will fill up fast. IOS will not make refunds but will allow substitutes if you sign up for the trip and cannot attend. It will be your responsibility to notify the trip leader of your substitute. If you cannot provide a substitute, the trip leader will take the 1st name on the waiting list.


If you have any questions about the trip, feel free to contact the trip leader at warbler7@sbcglobal.net or by phone (618) 560-9450.

 Registration and Payment


Meadowlark editorial on Passenger Pigeon

Here’s the latest letter from the editor featured in the recently mailed Volume 23 No. 1 issue of Meadowlark. To read more, please join IOS. Another issue is coming soon and will feature an article on  the Gray Kingbird in Illinois.

Drawing of Passenger Pigeon left by Kevin Sierzega

Of Mourning Doves and Passenger Pigeons

By Sheryl DeVore 

You, no doubt, noticed the gorgeous front and back cover of this issue, created by Kevin Sierzega, whose work has graced Meadowlark before.

We asked Kevin to do this drawing to commemorate the demise of the Passenger Pigeon, whose numbers once seemed to be so abundant that humans thought this species would last forever.  Of course, we now know that extinction can happen to any species, no matter how numerous.

The 100th anniversary of the death of the last Passenger Pigeon occurred in 2014. The last of the species, Martha, died in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo Sept. 1, 1914.

In 2014, much was done to call attention to this important milestone, including, of course, Joel Greenberg’s book, “A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction.”

We birders all know that at one time, Passenger Pigeons filled the Illinois skyline from horizon to horizon.

But now it’s 2015, the Passenger Pigeon is long gone, and we have a story in this issue about another species in the order Columbiformes, the Mourning Dove. The article, “Lead shot ingestion rate and effects in Mourning Doves,” by Stephanice C. Plautz, et. al, addresses the issue of how one of North America’s most numerous birds is being poisoned from spent lead shot. According to Plautz, more than 400 million individual Mourning Doves have been counted in the fall in the United States. “However, Mourning Dove populations may be declining,” she writes. Her story, which begins on page 2, explains why.

Can the Mourning Dove ever go the way of the Passenger Pigeon? It seems ludicrous. Certainly, we humans would never let something like what happened to the Passenger Pigeon in the 20th century occur in the 21st century. Right?

IOS June fieldtrip to Kankakee yields 90 species

iostripGeoffrey Williamson led a group of 19 IOS members on a field trip June 6 to  parts of Kankakee County and Iroquois County. In Kankakee County, they visited sod farms and agricultural fields in Momence Township, various habitats in Pembroke Township, and the river bottom woods of the Momence Wetlands. In Iroquois County they visited the Iroquois County Conservation Area and then birded the agricultural fields southwest of there.

Highlights included Northern Bobwhite, Upland Sandpiper (endangered in the state and getting rarer), Pileated Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpeckers  declining nationwide)  and Bell’s Vireo. Five of these vireos afforded close looks to everyone. Eight species of breeding warblers were found including Prothonotary, Northern Parula, Yellow-throated and Yellow-breasted Chat.

Nine species of sparrows were found including Lark, Grasshopper, Vesper and even a White-throated. Three Blue Grosbeaks included a cooperative singing male. Plus, 21 Dickcissels were counted — it seems to be a good summer for Dickcissels.

The keen observers also discovered nests of Eastern Bluebird, Yellow Warbler, American Redstart, and Summer Tanager.

Said Geoff, “It was a great group to bird with, the weather cooperated nicely, and we even got to wade in the Kankakee River, which had flooded over Stateline Road.”

Thanks, Geoff for leading this IOS field trip.

Below is the list of species, along with numbers seen for each.

Wood Duck – 1
Mallard – 5
Northern Bobwhite – 3
Wild Turkey – 2
Great Blue Heron – 7
Green Heron – 1
Turkey Vulture – 15
Cooper’s Hawk – 1
Bald Eagle – 1
Red-tailed Hawk – 4
Killdeer – 5
Upland Sandpiper – 1
Ring-billed Gull – 1
Rock Pigeon – 6
Eurasian Collared-Dove – 2
Mourning Dove – 18
Yellow-billed Cuckoo – 1
Yellow-billed/Black-billed Cuckoo – 1
Barred Owl – 1
Common Nighthawk – 1
Chimney Swift – 9
Ruby-throated Hummingbird – 4
Belted Kingfisher – 2
Red-headed Woodpecker – 5
Red-bellied Woodpecker – 2
Downy Woodpecker – 6
Northern Flicker – 2
Pileated Woodpecker – 1
American Kestrel – 2
Eastern Wood-Pewee – 12
Acadian Flycatcher – 1
Eastern Phoebe – 3
Great Crested Flycatcher – 8
Eastern Kingbird – 13
Bell’s Vireo – 5
Yellow-throated Vireo – 1
Warbling Vireo – 21
Red-eyed Vireo – 6
Blue Jay – 7
American Crow – 5
Horned Lark – 26
Northern Rough-winged Swallow – 5
Tree Swallow – 6
Barn Swallow – 13
Cliff Swallow – 147
Black-capped Chickadee – 5
Tufted Titmouse – 13
White-breasted Nuthatch – 1
House Wren – 18
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – 9
Eastern Bluebird – 15
Wood Thrush – 3
American Robin – 72
Gray Catbird – 20
Brown Thrasher – 4
Northern Mockingbird – 2
European Starling – 139
Cedar Waxwing – 43
Prothonotary Warbler – 4
Common Yellowthroat – 18
American Redstart – 11
Northern Parula – 1
Yellow Warbler – 6
Chestnut-sided Warbler – 1
Yellow-throated Warbler – 1
Yellow-breasted Chat – 5
Eastern Towhee – 14
Chipping Sparrow – 17
Field Sparrow – 25
Vesper Sparrow – 7
Lark Sparrow – 1
Savannah Sparrow – 1
Grasshopper Sparrow – 10
Song Sparrow – 9
White-throated Sparrow – 1
sparrow sp. – 2 (probably two more Vespers)
Summer Tanager – 2
Northern Cardinal – 4
Rose-breasted Grosbeak – 2
Blue Grosbeak – 3
Indigo Bunting – 40
Dickcissel – 21
Red-winged Blackbird – 71
Western Meadowlark – 1
Eastern Meadowlark – 8
Common Grackle – 16
Brown-headed Cowbird – 22
Orchard Oriole – 5
Baltimore Oriole – 10
House Finch – 1
American Goldfinch – 18
House Sparrow – 53

Spring birding weeknd: Great birds, friends and scenery

The IOS Spring Birding Weekend (May 15 – 17) was a terrific weekend of birding on the Mississippi River in northwest Illinois. The event was planned and organized by Urs Geiser using the Chestnut Mountain Resort for accommodations.

For the field trips we split into groups and birded Lost Mound Wildlife Refuge, Mississippi Palisades State

Continue reading Spring birding weeknd: Great birds, friends and scenery

WE Need Your Help to Fund the 2015 Grant Requests!!

A total of 10 Grant Requests have been received.

Grant awards will be announced April 15th. Some funds have already been received but more contributions are needed so more of the grants can be funded. Any organization or individual may fund all or part of a Grant. Donations can be for any amount.

Continue reading WE Need Your Help to Fund the 2015 Grant Requests!!

IOS field notes compiler featured in

Meadowlark editor Sheryl DeVore wrote an article about Field Notes compiler David B. Johnson and his 25 years of leading looney trips in Lake and McHenry Counties for the Chicago Tribune and News-Sun. Take a peek. Dave needs to be praised over and over for all the wonderful work he has done on behalf

Continue reading IOS field notes compiler featured

Rusty Blackbird Blitz, Year two

We’re gearing up for the second year of the Blitz. Nick Sly, IOS Coordinator for the Blitz, posted complete details here on the Illinois Birders Forum website. IOS is proud to be a sponsor of this important project here in Illinois. Mark your calendar and make your plans to get out there between March

Continue reading Rusty Blackbird Blitz, Year two

Cerulean Warbler gets help from major grant

A five-year project targeting conservation of the imperiled and iconic Cerulean Warbler and focusing on the states of Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia got a big boost following the granting of $8 million in funding from the Dept. of Agriculture’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

Read more about this exciting project that

Continue reading Cerulean Warbler gets help from major grant

Amar Ayyash: A Birder You Should Know

Amar Ayyash is the man behind the IOS Annual Gull Frolic, which he organized this year and persuaded Birding editor and author Ted Floyd to speak. As you likely know, Amar is “crazy” about gulls, and indeed very knowledgeable about this difficult-to-identify group of birds. In honor of the upcoming Gull Frolic, we

Continue reading Amar Ayyash: A Birder You Should Know

Jeff Sanders featured in Chicago Tribune article

For at least three days in December and early January over the past 50 years, Jeff Sanders has gone outside in the predawn cold to count birds in and around Chicago.

In 2015, Sanders will celebrate a half-century since he began helping with the National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count, just a few miles

Continue reading Jeff Sanders featured in Chicago Tribune article