Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

Backyard birds

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The Great Backyard Bird Count begins today.


It's one of my favorite weekends. In part because it can involve the whole family in the outdoors, and you can make it as short or long as you want, and do it anywhere.

I grabbed the photo of the woodpecker above near our suet feeder while the kids played in the backyard a few years ago.

The GBBC, which runs through Monday, is something I highly recommend for teachers.

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Dale: An avid birdwatcher freind of mine from the north surburbs e mailed me that he saw (24) White winged crossbills yesterday at Touhy and Int 294.He said there are a lot of them around Chicago this year. Ed

It is a once-in-a-lifetime year for white-winged crossbills in Illinois. They favor evergreens. I should have documented some for myself already, but only tried one day with Andy Sigler and Joel Greenberg, as a tangential quest to other chases.

Suet cakes are an excellent attractant if you want more birds in your back yard. The key is to use fresh suet, or the birds will not come back.

Just the other day I saw a small hawk flying across my back yard and a great horned owl swooping down behind it as though to chase it away from the area. I've seen crows chasing a great horned owl before, but that's the first time I ever saw an owl harrassing another bird.

Is that normal?

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on February 13, 2009 6:49 AM.

SU response on lakefront walleye was the previous entry in this blog.

Asian carp in Lincoln Park lagoon is the next entry in this blog.

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