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May 2023

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Program: Through the Lens: Birding in Northwest Illinois
Bird Walk: Pecatonica River Forest Preserve
4-H Wee Naturalists- InsectsField Trip: Accessible Birding Event
Annual Birdathon Fundraiser!
Bird Walk: Silver Creek Biodiversity Preserve
World Migratory Bird Day - FREE and OPEN TO PUBLIC
Bird Walk: Espenscheid Forest Preserve
New Moon Campfire at Silver Creek
Bird Walk: Krape Park
Field Trip: An Evening of Birding at Lost Mound

Program: Through the Lens: Birding in Northwest Illinois

Tuesday, May 2, 2023
7 p.m.
St. John United Church of Christ, Fellowship Hall, 1010 Park Blvd., Freeport, IL
Presenters: Rich Hofmaster and Patty Weik

Join us for an evening of birds and photography with two members of the Freeport Area Camera Club. Rich Hofmaster and Patty Weik will share their passion of photography with photos of birds taken in Northwest Illinois. Many of these birds can be found in your own backyard! Looking through the lens, you will get an up close and personal view of our feathered friends.

Field TripsBird Walk: Pecatonica River Forest Preserve

Friday, May 5, 2023
8 – 11 a.m.
Coordinator: Richard Benning, 815-865-5279

Pecatonica River Forest Preserve (main entrance by the campground). A special bonus of this walk will be stunning wildflowers and perhaps singing frogs! Trails have some steep portions and the surface can be uneven. Restrooms are available in the parking area.

Carpool at 7:30 a.m. from the Harbor Freight east parking area on Freeport's south side adjacent to the McDonald's along HWY 26.

Field TripsField Trip: Accessible Birding Event

Saturday, May 6, 2023
8 – 10 a.m.
Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S. Cranes Grove Rd., Freeport, IL
Coordinators: Gary Gordon, 815-541-1228 and Juliet Moderow, 201-233-0946

Accessible trail – Meet at the Oakdale Pavilion by the parking lot. 

The Northwest Illinois Audubon Society is committed to ensuring that birding and the outdoors are welcoming, inclusive, and safe to everybody and every body! We are working with the RAMP Center to lead an accessible birding event to enjoy this year’s spring migration.

We will use the 1/3-mile hard-packed accessible trail at Oakdale Nature Preserve and will lead a birding identification outing. If you do not have binoculars, we will have some available to borrow during the event.

Other/Miscellaneous4-H Wee Naturalists- Insects

Saturday, May 6, 2023
9:30 – 11 a.m.
Highland Community College, 2998 W Pearl City Road, Freeport, IL
Contact: 815-235-4125

NIAS would like to help share information about the University of Illinois Extension new environmental education program for children ages 4-7 called “Wee Naturalists”, hosted by 4-H Youth Educator Kelly Lafferty. It is an interactive program that includes a story, craft/activity, and an outdoor component (so it is encouraged to dress appropriately!). It is held on the 1st Saturday of every month through May 2023 at the University of Illinois Extension Office, Highland Community College campus (building R), 2998 W. Pearl City Road, Freeport. (Use Parking Lot B)

Programs include: February 4- Groundhogs, March 4- Signs of Spring, April 1- April Showers, May 6- Insects
The cost is $5.00 per session and is from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
For more information click here or to register, call 815-235-4125 or click here.

EventsAnnual Birdathon Fundraiser!

Sunday, May 7, 2023
Coordinator: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204

This year our chapter marks its 44th year of sponsoring a BIRDATHON fundraising event! In that time thousands of dollars have been raised for bird conservation. Please join us in making this year’s effort our best yet!
We invite you to make a pledge to any of our birders who will be participating in our chapter’s annual BIRDATHON on May 7. Your pledge, for instance 15¢, will be per SPECIES of bird that your selected birder(s) identifies on that day. Your birder will contact you after the count with his or her species total and collect your contribution


Field TripsBird Walk: Silver Creek Biodiversity Preserve

Thursday, May 11, 2023
8 – 11 a.m.
Silver Creek Biodiversity Preserve, Leaf River, IL (SE corner of Leaf River and West Grove Rds)
Coordinator: Mary Blackmore (815-938-3204)

NIAS Silver Creek Biodiversity Preserve, rural Leaf River. We'll walk the mowed trails (uneven ground in some places) of this woodland and grassland area. The timing should be such that we'll hear many songbirds.

Carpool 7:30 a.m. from the Harbor Freight east parking area on Freeport's south side adjacent to the McDonald's along HWY 26.

EventsWorld Migratory Bird Day - FREE and OPEN TO PUBLIC

Saturday, May 13, 2023
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S. Cranes Grove Rd., Freeport, IL
Oakdale Preserve, Mogle Building, and Oakdale Pavilion

Join us for a fun, family-friendly event at Oakdale Nature Preserve. This location provides wonderful birding opportunities as well as a chance to explore the habitat along the creeks that flow through the preserve. Volunteers from our chapter and from the University of Illinois Extension will be hosting. We will have activities for all ages and abilities.
Throughout the entire event time, there will be ongoing educational activities and crafts at the Mogle Building and/ or Oakdale Pavilion. We will have our migratory obstacle course that fits this year’s theme. We will also have giveaways while supplies last.
On each hour at 10:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m., and 12:00 p.m., there will be three outings to take the trails to bird watch and observe aquatic creatures in the creek. Please meet at the Pavilion to join one of these outings lead by NIAS members.
We will ensure that the accessible trail be used for each of these outings before taking other trails.
Pat Leitzen Fye from Your Core Being will also have a water element yoga at 11am.
Oakdale Nature Preserve also provides accessible parking and restrooms. There are benches along many of the trails. Please wear appropriate footwear, especially if you choose to explore the water. Bring binoculars if you have any and we will have some available to borrow.
This is a rain or shine event and hope to have plenty of shelter in case of rain. Save the Tabernacle, Inc., will also open the Tabernacle.
WORLD MIGRATORY BIRD DAY 2023 FOCUSES ON WATER AND ITS IMPORTANCE TO BIRD LIFE: Water is fundamental to sustaining life on our planet. Virtually all migratory birds rely on water and its associated habitats at some point during their life cycles. Lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, wetlands, and coastal waters are all vital for feeding, drinking, or nesting, and as places to rest and refuel during long seasonal migrations. Unfortunately, these aquatic ecosystems are becoming increasingly threatened around the world, and so are the migratory birds that depend on them. The increasing human demand for water, as well as pollution and climate change, is having a direct impact on the quantity and quality of water resources and on the conservation status of many migratory bird species. In 2023, the importance of water is the focus of World Migratory Bird Day, an annual global campaign that celebrates the migration of birds across countries and continents. Throughout the year, we will spread the message that “water sustains bird life” and provide actions for managing water resources and protecting healthy aquatic ecosystems. 


Field TripsBird Walk: Espenscheid Forest Preserve

Wednesday, May 17, 2023
8 – 11 a.m.
Harry and Dorothy Espenscheid Forest Preserve
Coordinator: Richard Benning (815-865-5279

Harry and Dorothy Espenscheid Forest Preserve, northeast of Freeport. A variety of habitats will be explored including forest, savanna and the riparian areas of Rock Run Creek. There are a few steep portions of the mowed trail and the surface can be uneven.

Carpool at 7:30 a.m. from the Harbor Freight east parking area on Freeport's south side adjacent to the McDonald's along HWY 26.

EventsNew Moon Campfire at Silver Creek

Friday, May 19, 2023
7 p.m.
Silver Creek Biodiversity Preserve
Coordinator: May Blackmore, 815-938-3204

New Moon campfire at the Silver Creek Biodiversity Preserve. At 7 p.m. we’ll take a leisurely stroll to observe blooming plants and resident birds. The campfire will start at 7:30 p.m. S’mores will be provided. Bring a lawn chair, flashlight and water (if desired).

The preserve is Located about 2 miles south of Leaf River (S. Main St. in Leaf River becomes Leaf River Rd.), with parking just off of Leaf River Rd. If weather is questionable call Mary at 815-938-3204.

Field TripsBird Walk: Krape Park

Monday, May 22, 2023
8 – 11 a.m.
Krape Park, 1799 Park Blvd, Freeport, IL
Coordinator: Juliet Moderow, 201-233-0946

Krape Park, Freeport. We'll meet in the parking lot by the dam and walk the paved path along Yellow Creek and then on some of the road shoulder downstream to the pedestrian bridge. Restrooms are in the park.

Field TripsField Trip: An Evening of Birding at Lost Mound

Friday, May 26, 2023
6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Fish & Wildlife Office, 3700 Army Depot Rd, Savanna, IL
Coordinator: Mary Blackmore, 815-938-3204

Join us as we travel alongside sand prairies, sand savannas and the mighty Mississippi in search of birds at the Lost Mound Unit of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge just north of Savanna. Of primary interest will be the awesome courtship display of the Common Nighthawk, as well as vocalization of both Eastern Whip-poor-wills and American Woodcocks. There will be enough time to observe many of the grassland species of Lost Mound as well.
Carpool from the Forreston Municipal Lot (next to the library along HWY 26) at 5:30 p.m. Or meet in the parking area of the Fish and Wildlife office building at Lost Mound at 6:30. There is a restroom in the parking area.

We’ll car-caravan on the paved roads and do little or no walking. Bring binoculars. The timing sequence will be songbirds, Common Nighthawk, American Woodcock and at the end, Whip-poor-wills. If you want to leave the caravan for an earlier departure you may do so.
Call Mary to confirm your attendance.

Call Mary to confirm your attendance.