Sharing Our Shore-Waukegan

Lake County Audubon Society (LCAS) is excited to announce that we are partnering with the City of Waukegan on a Beach Stewardship Program: Sharing Our Shore – Waukegan.

Shorebirds have declined 70% in North America since the 1970’s due to habitat loss, predation, climate change and human disturbances. Conservation of breeding, stopover and wintering habitat is crucial for shorebird survival. 

Waukegan’s unique dune and swale habitat is home to a large diversity of plants and wildlife including threatened and endangered species and is excellent habitat for a wide range of birds. In 2017 and 2018 the Waukegan dunes were the only site in Illinois where the state endangered Common Tern attempted to breed. Federally endangered Piping Plovers also nested in Waukegan in 2018. A story that made front page news in the local press.

The Sharing Our Shore – Waukegan Partnership’s goals are to monitor bird species and increase public support for bird conservation at Waukegan Beach. The program will raise awareness of Waukegan’s special habitat and build on the reputation of Waukegan as a city dedicated to conserving its lakeshore. 

In 2018 Waukegan was the first city in Illinois to proclaim 2018 as the Year of the Bird, a success that was nationally recognized by National Audubon. The Sharing Our Shore – Waukegan Beach Stewardship Partnership will achieve another first in Illinois for Waukegan. 

LCAS is now recruiting and will be training Volunteer Stewards to monitor birds and to be part of the public outreach program which will have a presence on the beach on Saturdays from 1-3pm from May – July. Training will take place on April 13. Those interested in volunteering should contact LCAS via email at: lakecountyaudubonsociety@gmail.com 

The program will begin with a kick-off event on at 1-3pm on Saturday May 4, 2019. Click here to see the invitation.

LCAS is delighted that we have this opportunity to partner with the City of Waukegan to increase public awareness of the extraordinary habitat at Waukegan Beach and to contribute to bird conservation on the lakeshore.Click here for the press release.

Creative Birdscaping Blog Annoucement

Lake County Audubon Society has just entered into a new partnership with the David Adler Cultural Center to restore the property's landscape and create a birdscaping project. The goals of the birdscaping program, or Plants for Birds, is to educate the community on the beauty and value of native landscaping as well as create a pollinator destination. We encourage you to follow our progress as we chronicle our restoration efforts on our blog, Creative Birdscaping. We will be launching the program with an Opening Reception: Exploring Humans' Relation to Nature on April 5, 2019 at 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the David Adler Cultural Center, 1700 N Milwaukee Ave, Libertyville, IL. We hope that you will be able to attend our celebration. The event is open to all so please feel free to pass onto friends.Click here for the announcement and here for the invite.

One Earth Film Festival

Lake County Audubon Society is one of the sponsors of the One Earth Film Festival this year. Details of the festival and film trailers can be found on their website: https://www.oneearthfilmfest.org/lake-county-films-2019/. You can also see the press release by clicking here and a flyer by clicking here. We hope to see you at “Call of the Forest Film” at St. Joseph’s Church in Libertyville at 2pm. We are giving away potted oak saplings to the first 20 attendees. If you missed the March 10 showing you can watch the film by clicking here.

Liberty Prairie Workdays

The Libertyville Township needs volunteers for its habitat restoration workdays at Liberty Prairie. This is the area where we have been carrying out our Birdscaping project over the last few years. For details of the workdays see their website: http://www.libertyvilletownship.us/open-space-district/volunteer-opportunities

Bluebirds need your help: 

Lake County Bluebird Trails are always in need of volunteers to monitor them.  The data collected from the monitoring give us a better idea of how many bluebirds are returning to Lake County. Last season there were over 800 bluebirds that fledged from the monitored boxes in Lake County.  Bluebird monitoring is an excellent opportunity to get out and enjoy nature while helping to restore the bluebird population. Because of the constant loss of habitat and competition of non-native species the Bluebirds have been an endangered species in Lake County since the 1920’s.  Since the Bluebirds are cavity nesters, the most important thing we can do to bring them back is to provide monitored nesting sites with nesting boxes.   Bluebirds prefer to nest in open areas with scattered trees and low ground cover.  The Forest Preserve sites provide many areas like this including Golf Courses.  Click here for a guide to bluebird nest box monitoring.

Contact Walt Sivertsen who is the master monitor and record keeper of Lake County bluebird trails.  It's best to call him at 847-223-4730, or if you prefer email him at MCFWalt@yahoo.com  

Highlights of our Accomplishments in 2018

We are proud to have achieved a lot in 2018 thanks to your support. Here are a few of the highlights:

  1. We continued with our Birdscaping program in conjunction with Libertyville Township. Further plantings were carried out at the Liberty Prairie Nature Reserve. The Birdscaping is already showing that it is benefiting the bird population with increased numbers of species being sighted, the highlight being a Henslow's Sparrow.

  2. A new collaboration with Lambs Farm resulted in residents making bluebird nest boxes for us.

  3. Our new president, Emma England, monitored the endangered Common Terns and Piping Plovers that nested in Waukegan this summer. The story made front page news when the plover eggs had to be salvaged and raised at the Great Lakes Piping Plover Research Center in Michigan.

  4. We were able to get two Year of the Bird Proclamations passed. The City of Waukegan was the first in Illinois to pass such a proclamation in support of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Village of Libertyville was a close second.

Free Thayer Birding Software for Kids

Any young birders or students interested in birds and nature who are enrolled in pre-K, grade school, middle school or high school can download the new version 7.7 of Thayer’s Birds of North America – for FREE. Just visit www.ThayerBirding.com, select the Windows or the Mac download and enter our special code: LakeCountyAudubonYoungBirder. Then click the Apply button and Free Checkout.

This amazing birding software, for Windows or Mac computers, features the 1,007 birds that have been seen in the continental United States and Canada. The software includes 6,856 color photos, 1,506 songs and calls, 552 video clips of birds in action, 700 quizzes and much, much more. Use the ID Wizard to identify unknown birds in your yard. Keep track of the birds you see. Compare any two birds side-by-side. Read all about the bird’s nests, eggs, feeding habits and more.

Thayer Birding Software's founder, Peter Thayer, decided that this would be the perfect way to celebrate his 70th birthday! "It is time to give back something to the birding community and to the millions of young birders (and potential young birders) who just need a spark to get them started on a life-long quest for knowledge about our natural world and the importance of preserving the habitat we still have. What better way than this to celebrate the year of the bird? Our goal is to give away one million free copies of the birding program to kids everywhere."

Are you the local bird expert?  You soon will be! College and grad school students, use the code STUDENT for a 50% discount. Teachers use the code TEACHER for a 50% discount.

Lake County Audubon Society has registered for AmazonSmile

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.

Here is a link to FAQ's on AmazonSmile:  https://smile.amazon.com/gp/chpf/about/ref=smi_aas_redirect?ie=UTF8&%2AVersion%2A=1&%2Aentries%2A=0

You can help Lake County Audubon Society by choosing us as your organization to donate to. Thank you!

Birdscaping/Plants for Birds

Lake County Audubon is continuing with our Birdscaping/Plants for Birds program at Liberty Prairie Open Space in conjunction with Libertyville Township. On Saturday, June 9 there was a workday with Township staff and volunteers that included some of our members. The workday was very successful and a huge number (2,470) of wetland plants were installed.
Check out Chris Geiselhart's photos from this special "Birdscaping Volunteer Day" in our photo gallery. The Township's staff have been working with Lake County Audubon Society on grant funding for this site restoration including native seeding, tree planting and native live plant plugs for several years. Trees will be planted that were purchased with a grant from the Morton Arboretum.

New to native plants? Native plant experts and authors Charlotte Adelman and Bernard L. Schwartz have a book, Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees: Gardening Alternatives to Nonnative Species

More information on Plants for Birds: http://www.audubon.org/plantsforbirds

Climate Watch: a community science program from National Audubon. Want to use your birding skills to advance our understanding of climate change's impact on birds? Then Climate Watch is for you. This innovative community-science program enlists volunteer birders across North America to count certain bluebirds and nuthatches in the same place (or places) twice each year. By sticking to a scientific protocol and sharing their results, these community scientists help track whether birds are moving in accordance with projections from Audubon's climate models. Find out more here: https://www.audubon.org/news/how-join-climate-watch-community-science-program-audubon. Emma England is the Climate Watch Coordinator for Lake County. Please email Emma to volunteer or find out more information: lakecountyaudubonsociety@gmail.com.

 

Who are my legislators?: to contact your legislator click on the names below:

Senator Tammy Duckworth

Senator Dick Durbin

Congressman Brad Schneider

State Senator Dan McConchie

State Rep. Nick Sauer

Carol Calabresa, Lake County Board

Birds in My Neighborhood:

Volunteers are needed. Volo Bog State Natural Area is teaming up to bring Birds in my Neighborhood to McHenry & Lake County Schools. Interested? Call Stacy at 815-344-1294. Click here to see the 2019 spring training schedule.

Lake County Audubon Society received an Urban Communities in Conservation Award from the United States Forest Service International Programs for our participation in the Birds in My Neighborhood program. Click here to see our Certificate of Appreciation.

Protect birds from cats:

The Lake County Audubon Society has adopted the Bird Conservation Network's policy on free roaming cats. Click here to read this policy.

If you love wildlife, keep your cat indoors because:

Everyday, cats kill between 4 and 5 million birds in the U.S. alone. 

Collar bells don’t work. Birds and other wildlife do not associate bells with being stalked. 

Ground-nesting birds are very susceptible to predation by cats. 

Even well-fed cats will hunt small wild animals. 

Most young birds leave the nest before they are able to fly well, spending a day or two on the ground as they learn.  These fledglings are frequently caught by cats. 

Most of the birds caught by cats, but not killed outright, die of their injuries or infection. 

Cats that kill small rodents can eliminate a critical food source for owls and hawks.

If you love your cat, keep him or her indoors because: 

Cars kill millions of cats each year.

Outdoor cats are exposed to serious, and often fatal, infectious diseases, such as feline leukemia and rabies.

Parasites such as fleas, ticks, and intestinal worms post a health threat to your cat.  Some of these parasites can be transmitted to humans.

Outdoors, cats can be chased by dogs or other cats and killed, injured, or become lost.

Cats are often shot at, poisoned, trapped, or tortured by neighbors who are annoyed by cats using their gardens as a litter box or hunting ground. 

Coyotes, Great-Horned Owls, and other wild animals are known to regularly kill and eat house cats.

Cats that spend time outdoors require more medical treatment and their life-span is much shorter than cats that live indoors.

 

Create bird-friendly yards:

Tips from National Audubon if you click on this link

 

The Bird Conservation Network(BCN) Survey

The goals of the BCN Survey are to generate a picture of bird distribution in the region, assist conservation planners in decision making and to create a database which can be used by researchers investigating specific ecosystem questions. Bird monitoring is easy and is not a big time commitment. Monitors are required to visit their site twice in June (breeding season) and should try to make 5 or more visits total each year. Monitors need to be able to recognize birds by sight and sound. Click here for a list of suggested bird songs a BCN monitor should know. Points are set up at the site and the monitor spends five minutes at each point recording all the birds seen and heard. Data is then entered into BCN eBird.

Many Lake County Forest Preserves are in need of monitors, especially:

Lakewood

Independence Grove

Nippersink

Wilmot Woods

MacArthur Woods

For more information please contact BCN Survey Coordinators, Tim Balassie and Judy Pollock at bcnsurvey@gmail.com

So why not give it a go! Bird monitoring is rewarding, gets you out in nature and is a way you can make a very important contribution to bird conservation in your county.

 

Lake County Forest Preserve monitoring programs: the LCFPD also has monitoring programs for frogs, bats and Wood Duck and Purple Martin nest boxes. For information email Tom Smith: tasmith@LCFPD.org

 

Homemade Suet Recipe:

Melt together in a water bath:
1 cup lard
1 cup chunky peanut butter
Stir melted mixture into: 
2cups quick oats
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar (optional)
Spread in a baking pan (7 ½ x 7 ½”) and allow to cool before
cutting into squares.  Wrap in Saran-wrap and store frozen.

 

Vegetarian Suet recipe:

Materials:

  • 1 & 1/2 c. shortening (look for palm-oil-free options)

  • 3/4 c. nut butter

  • 3 & 1/2 c. wild bird seed

  • 1 c. quick oats

  • 1/2 c. corn meal

  • Ice cube tray, or use four commercial suet trays size 5"x5"x1".

Steps:

  1. Mix the bird seed, oats, and cornmeal together and set aside.

  2. Combine the shortening and nut butter in a separate bowl and melt. Stir until completely combined.

  3. Pour the melted mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

  4. Spoon mixture into the ice cube tray.

  5. Freeze for one to two hours then place in your suet feeder.

Note: Not recommended for outdoor temperatures above 50 degrees.

 

Hummingbird nectar recipe: click

 

Other useful links:

Rehabilitation center list: where to take an injured critter that you find

Providing water for birds: information on setting up and maintaining a birdbath

Global warming: a checklist of things you can do to help in the fight against global warming

Mergansers: learn all about the different Merganser species in this document by Jim Stevenson

Winter Gulls: information on gulls and their changing plumage by Jim Stevenson

Help prevent bird strikes: information on making your windows safer for birds

A list of invasive plants in Illinois

 

Photo Submission to Lake County Audubon Society

All photograph submissions must be taken in Lake County. At this time, all photograph submissions shall be of wild birds in their natural habitat. Please do not submit any photos that include pets, or any photos with caged birds. Please be sure to include with your submissions a caption of what it is, the location where it was taken, the date it was taken and the photographer's name. Photographs are permitted to have had minor digital enhancements for cropping, filters, and corrective functions, but images that have been judged to be significantly altered will not be used. Photographs may not be larger than 5MB in size and must be submitted in .jpg format. All photographs must be submitted by email to audbirds@aol.com or mailed on a CD to Lake County Audubon Society, P.O. Box 332, Libertyville, Illinois 60048. Photographs that are inappropriate, indecent or obscene, as determined by Lake County Audubon in their sole discretion, shall not be used. Photographers agree to have their submitted photograph used and displayed, either singly or in combination with others and in any size, on the Lake County Audubon photo gallery website without any fee or other form of compensation due at any time for so long as desired by the Lake County Audubon Society. Photographs will be credited to the photographer named. In the event that ownership of any photograph submitted is challenged in any manner by any person, Lake County Audubon will discontinue use of the photograph. The Lake County Audubon Society shall have the right to edit, adapt, and publish any or all of the photos submitted, and may use them in any presentation media without compensation to the photographer, his or her successors or assigns, or any other entity. Photographers warrant that the photos they submit:

1. Are their own original creations.

2. Do not infringe any other person's or entity's rights.

By reading this disclaimer and submitting your photos, you agree to these terms. Thank you.

 

 

Past events, projects and accomplishments:

Greenbelt Forest Preserve Nature Walk:

On May 4th 2016, a cold and blustery day, over 100 students from the 4th grade classes at Lyons School in North Chicago went on a field trip to the Greenbelt Forest Preserve.  The trip was a part of a Chicago Region Audubon grant and was led by Daniel Suarez.  The field trip was organized by Glen Moss, Vice-President of the Lake County Audubon Society, who enlisted eight volunteers to act as guides and accompany the students. A spotting scope was set up at the pond edge to observe wild life. The 4th graders were full of questions and enthusiastically explored the 3 habitat areas of wetland, woodland, and prairie that make up the Greenbelt Preserve.  By the end of the trip most students had seen not only a variety of bird species, but could recognize common plant species as well.  The children’s un-coached thanks to the volunteers made the day!

Lake County Audubon Society Chimney Swift Tower Project:

After hearing about Richard and Marion Miller's (Kane County Audubon) successful Chimney Swift Tower project, Lake County Audubon Society decided to start its own project. We received  a grant from Audubon Chicago-Region to purchase the materials to construct a Chimney Swift tower. Working in conjunction with Lake County Forest Preserve District a site for the tower was identified at Bonner Heritage Farm in Lindenhurst.  The tower was constructed in sections by Lake County Audubon Board member Jack Nowak. Lake County Forest Preserve District then installed the bottom section of the tower in a concrete base. On Saturday November 7 a small team of volunteers made up of our members and Board members gathered at Bonner Farm to assemble the tower. On Friday November 20, some of our Board members completed the construction by adding the vinyl siding onto the tower. Click here to see photos taken on both days by Emma England. 

 

Lake County Audubon Society Fall Fundraiser was a great success:

The event was held on September 27th, 2015 at O'Tooles in Libertyville. It was a great success with many people attending and enjoying the live music by Barrelhouse Chuck's Blues Band and prizes. Click here for some photos of the event.

 

Lake County Audubon Society Nature Photo Contest 2015: Winners have been selected:

We would like to thank all of you that participated in our 2015 photo contest. We received many wonderful images that really demonstrated the beautiful nature that can be seen in Lake County.  Contest judge, Ralph Durham commented "I thought the quality of the images submitted was outstanding." From the 30% of the entries that were judged to be possible winners a number of Awards, Honorable Mentions and one Best in Show was selected for each class.  Click here to see all the excellent winning images and photos from the Opening Reception of our "Moments in Nature" Exhibition at Brushwood Center.

New for 2015 LCAS introduced a nature photo competition open to all. The digital competition was  divided into two classes: Beginner and Advanced. A Beginner was classified as someone that has less than 2 years of experience in taking pictures using a point and shoot camera, or camera phone. An Advanced person had at least 2 years of experience and/or using a SLR (Single Lens Reflex) Camera.  Images could feature any kind of nature subject, but must have been taken in Lake County. The contest was judged by Ralph Durham who is President of the North Shore Camera Club.  Ralph is an excellent photographer who has won numerous awards at Chicago Area Camera Clubs Association (CACCA).

 

Birdscaping in Libertyville Township Open Space:

Twenty-three volunteers recently labored for four hours while planting 160 trees and shrubs on a portion of Libertyville Township Open Space. Volunteers of all ages worked as part of a two year project initiated by Lake County Audubon Society.

Called "Birdscaping the Liberty Prairie Reserve," the program began in 2012 with native seeds planted along the trails that wind through the area south of Casey Road and west of the Casey Farm. The program was advanced with the cooperation of Libertyville Township, under the leadership of Supervisor Kathleen O'Connor.

The project was funded with matching funds donated by the society and a private local
foundation. "The goal of the second phase, funded in the same way, is to plant high-quality native shrubs and trees along the trail to provide and expand habitat, food, and shelter for
birds and other animals," said Paul Geiselhart, who originated the project. "These plants are to provide animals with high-energy food during different seasons of the year," Geiselhart added.

Other benefits of the project include stabilization of the stream bank and erodible areas in the Liberty Prairie Reserve, and educating residents of Lake County about the importance of native plants that support unique animal habitat. This will enhance the experience of hiking the Millennium Trail system with connections to Independence Grove Forest Preserve.
The shrubs and trees, including a variety of oaks, have been tagged and fenced to protect them from deer damage, and township employees will water the plants early in the growing season as needed.

The volunteers were members of the Lake County Audubon Society and Conserve Lake County, with local residents and others interested in helping to improve the area that had once been a dairy pasture. For photos of the event taken by Emma England click here.