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Cook County Bird Of The Month: The Baltimore Oriole!

Throughout 2016, the Forest Preserves of Cook County invites visitors to see some of the most interesting native and migrating birds in the preserves.

Each month during the Forest Preserves' 2016 Bird the Preserves initiative, a new bird will be highlighted. Visitors will have the opportunity to spot the bird of the month at an event or program, and learn what makes that bird so special. The May Bird of the Month is the Baltimore oriole.


Baltimore orioles feed mainly on insects, but in the spring and fall these birds have a serious sweet tooth . . . or beak.

Orioles are often heard and not seen because they forage high in trees for flower nectar, fruit and insects. But you can bring them to your backyard by appealing to their love of sweets:


* Oranges: Cut an orange in half and hang the slices from a tree

* Jelly: Place a small amount of jelly in a dish or specially designed feeder

* Sugar water: Use a specially designed feeder and make your own "nectar"

The sugars from these feeders (and naturally occurring fruits and nectar) help the orioles build fat reserves for spring and fall migration. Make sure to change these feeder foods daily.



To see the May Bird of the Month, check out these events:

Morning Bird Walk
Friday, May 6, 9:30 a.m.
Trailside Museum of Natural History, River Forest


Morning Bird Walk
Saturday, May 7, 7 a.m.
Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, Willow Springs


Tuesday Mornings Are For The Birds!
Tuesday, May 10, 8 a.m.
Sand Ridge Nature Center, South Holland


Bird Walk
Tuesday, May 10, 8 a.m.
Crabtree Nature Center, Barrington Hills


International Migratory Bird Day
Saturday, May 14, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, Lemont


In addition to learning about the featured Bird of the Month and enjoying birding programs and events, birders of all skill levels can explore the preserves with teams competing in the Forest Preserves' Big Year birding competition. During the Big Year competition, the preserves compete instead of the people. Participants will visit their team's preserve and log all bird sightings in eBird, an online birding checklist program. All are welcome to join these searches and binoculars will be available for loan.

The competition runs from March 1 to Dec. 31, and is a great way to challenge yourself and explore a local preserve, make new friends and experience what birding is all about. To learn more about the Big Year competition, visit

On May 7, each of the Forest Preserves' six nature centers will be hosting The Big Sit. Visitors can join in at any time between 5:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. to see how many birds can be heard or spotted from within a 17-foot circle. Citizen science events like The Big Sit can help ecologists make better decisions about the conservation of bird habitat.

Join a growing movement of nature lovers and bird the preserves this year while enjoying the many amenities offered throughout the Forest Preserves, including miles of marked trails, major waterways that can be canoed or kayaked, dedicated nature preserves and more.

Support for Bird the Preserves was generously provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through Chicago Wilderness. For more information, visit visit For additional information about the Big Year competition, visit


* Experience Birding In The Cook County Forest Preserves!

* Cook County Bird Of The Month: The Timberdoodle.

* Cook County Bird Of The Month: The Wood Duck!




Comments welcome.


Posted on May 3, 2016

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