IOS Spring Birding Weekend — May 15–17, 2015


Galena / Northwestern Illinois

Nesting warblers at Mississippi Palisades and other breeding birds with southern affinities at Lost Mound N.W.R. are just a few of the reasons to join us at this year’s spring birding weekend.  Songbird migration should still be in full swing in the scenic hills of the driftless area of northwestern Illinois, and the wetlands along the Mississippi River always hold a few surprises.

We will be stationed at the Chestnut Mountain resort, located on a wooded bluff a few miles outside Galena with a commanding view over the river valley below.  Birding should be good even on the resort grounds!

After the Saturday evening banquet dinner, a couple of IOS grant recipients will update us on their research.

Details on the field trips are being finalized, and all registration information will be posted here on the IOS website.  The registration fee of $60.00 for IOS members will include the banquet dinner and a donation to the Stewards of Lost Mound.  Any surplus will go into the IOS grants program.  Direct all questions to Urs Geiser (630-310-9443, or Bob Fisher (630-985-2956,

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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 1 and April 15…to count those Rustys!

Rusty Blackbird (photo by Shawn Billerman)

Rusty Blackbird (photo by Shawn Billerman)

Cerulean Warbler gets help from major grant

cerulean 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 will help one of Illinois’ rarest and most beautiful warbler species.




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

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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

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Trip Report: Carlyle Lake Pelagic

September 27, 2014

43 birders participated in the annual IOS Carlyle Lake field trip that was held on September 27. The day started very well as a visit to the Dam West Beach just after sunrise yielded a beach full of gulls, mainly Ring-billed, but with a few Franklin’s Gulls sprinkled in as

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14th Annual Gull Frolic

14th Annual Gull Frolic February 14, 2015

Start Time – 9:30 a.m. (please note the later start time).

The Gull Frolic is a unique winter event at Illinois’ premier gull-watching hotspot: North Point Marina. Bring your binoculars, scope and cold weather gear, and join birders outside of the yacht club to enjoy close

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Winter finch forecast: What will we see this year in Illinois?

Red Crossbill female. Photo by Ron Bradley.


This winter’s theme is a “mixed bag” of finch movements. For example, some species such as Purple Finch will go south while White-winged Crossbills will likely stay in the boreal forest in widely separated areas where spruces are laden with cones. Sure would have been nice

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How to have a GR-EIGHT Owling Day

Snowy Owl at Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area in Grundy County. 5 January 2012. Photo by Jim Tezak.


By Jeff Smith

The winter of 2011/2012 saw a record, major irruption of Snowy Owls into Illinois. Double-digit numbers were observed along Chicago’s lakefront and well inland, even extending to the far reaches of

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IOS Spontaneous Shorebirding Field Trip Results - August 23, 2014

Despite the predicted insane heat and humidity, the weather was actually much better than expected for the Illinois Ornithological Society’s spontaneous shorebirding field trip on Saturday, August 23rd. Beginning around the 7:00 AM meeting time, our group of 10 (eventually) made our way out across the cross-dike at Chautauqua to find AMERICAN AVOCETS and WILSON’S

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