2007 Fermilab Bird Report
For more information see the
"Birds of Fermilab" web pages.
Christmas Bird Count produced a higher than average species count (53) and
individual counts (6593) that included a record high count for
robins (299) that was more than twice the
previous record. Also of note was our first count record for
Ring-necked Duck; a female that spent the
entire winter on the main ring moat. American
Crow numbers were still low (only 3 seen on site) and for the third winter
in a row a Pied-billed Grebe was present
on the main ring moat.
(Photo by Peter Kasper)
Wintering waterfowl characterized the early part of the season with
Cackling Geese, and
Greater White-fronted Geese
being seen regularly until early February when a cold spell forced most of them
to abandon the site. The latter part of the season was more typical of early
years with regular sightings of winter specialtiies such as
Short-eared Owls (seen late in the season
hunting over the dog-training area),
Long-eared Owls (in the village pines), and
Eastern Screech-Owls were also
recorded several times this winter and one individual managed to find his way
into one of the site 38 wharehouses where he remained for several days before he
was eventually caught and released.
Late in March 20, a pair of Peregrine
Falcons showed up at Wilson Hall. They continued to frequent the building
till mid June during which time they went through all the motions of
establishing a breeding territory. They were observed sharing food and engaging
in cooperative hunting, and the female was often seen scatching at the ledges as
though trying to prepare a nest. However, no nest was found nor was there any
other indication of successful nesting. Both birds carried leg bands that
enabled them to be positively identified through the Midwest Peregrine Project.
The male was a two year old called "Joe" was was hatched om May 13, 2005, in
Irving Park, Chicago. The female was a first year bird called "Neomi Jo" who was
hatched on April 16, 2006, in Bedford, Kentucky. The lack of breeding success is
perhaps not surprising since Peregrines do not typically reach breeding age
until their second year when they obtain their adult plumage.
|The male Peregrine|
(Photo by Marek Proga)
|The female Peregrine|
(Photo by Harry Cheung)
It was a fairly average year as far as the Spring migration was concerned.
The major highlight was a Red-necked
Grebe that was seen on April 22, on Lake Law. This is only the second time
this species has been seen on site. Other unusual records included two
White-rumped Sandpipers on Nepese
Pond and a White-eyed Vireo near the
A Willet was seen by A.E.Sea late in June. This was
remarkable not only because it was only the fourth site record for this species,
but also because it is an unusual time of year to be seeing migrants.
|Willet (Photo by Tom Bentley)
The scrubby habitat of ELM-14 was particularly productive for breeding birds
this year with good numbers of Bell's
Vireos and record high numbers of
Yellow-breasted Chats. Other
noteworthy breeding records this year were
Pied-billed Grebes and possibly
Hooded Mergansers on Lake Logo,
Yellow-throated Vireos in the Big
Woods, Dickcissels and
Henslow's Sparrows in numerous
locations, and Grasshoppeer Sparrows
inside the main injector ring.
After being absent for over a month the Peregrine Falcons unexpectedly showed up
again for about a week in mid September. They were seen on the 12th and 17th and
were positively as the same pair that were present in the Spring. In fact it was
a good season for raptors with several records for
Bald Eagles and
.Merlins, all of which are fairly rare on site.
However, the most unusual record for the season was without question, the
White-winged Scoter that was found on
Lake Law on October 11. This was only the second site record for this sea-going
duck, the other one occuring on November 5, 1997.
|Merlin (Photo by Jed Hertz)