Back to Birds: Crabtree Nature Center

Feeder Mayhem IMG_1508_1

7 Species in 1 Frame!

Last week, I visited Crabtree Nature Center in the far northwest corner of Cook County, Illinois. I went twice, to try for reported good views of a female White-Winged Crossbill, a species I have barely seen on a few occasions. The bird had been seen visiting the feeders, and others had taken nice pictures, so I wanted a memorable look.

Downies IMG_1715_1

Female and Male Downy Woodpeckers

I never saw the White-Winged Crossbill. Watching the feeders from the comfort of the warm nature center, however, was a mesmerizing experience. Birds came constantly to the feeders. If someone or something scared them off, they were back within seconds.

Am Tree Sparrow IMG_1199_1

American Tree Sparrow

I am looking forward to returning to Crabtree to check out the trails later in the year. But for now I am going to just fill up the rest of this post with a few more pictures taken last week.

Feeder Birds IMG_1229_1

Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, House Finch and Northern Cardinal


Pine Siskins IMG_1537_1

Pine Siskins


RB Woodpecker IMG_1562_1

Red-Bellied Woodpecke


Crabtree Nature Center Dove IMG_1332_1

Mourning Doves and Northern Cardinal


WB Nuthatch IMG_1717_1

White-Breasted Nuthatch


White-Throated Sparrow IMG_1617_1

White-Throated Sparrow


Fox Sparrow IMG_1580_1

Fox Sparrow



11 thoughts on “Back to Birds: Crabtree Nature Center

    • Thanks for the comment! It was a bit hard to choose which ones to publish – we waited out the sought-after bird for an hour and a half so there were lots of pictures of everyone else. When we were sitting inside looking out the windows, my friend said it was like watching an aquarium – very much so.

    • Thanks for your comment, Syl. These last days of meteorological winter are a true test of everyone’s patience. The birds are singing, the days are getting longer…hurry up spring!

  1. I love to visit nature centers because you get to see many birds and other creatures that you might not see in your own yard. I serve on the board of our local nature center and it is a joy to see all the school children come to learn about wildlife and land stewardship. I wish we had gone on field trips to these places when I was in school. I would have been in heaven!

    • Thanks for your comment, Bob. It almost feels like cheating to photograph birds at these feeders, but the light was pretty good both visits and I couldn’t resist. 🙂

      • Hey, a good percentage of my small bird photos were taken at a bird blind at the local state park. I see nothing wrong with that. Not exactly feeders but still a place where birds gather because of a small man-made pond.

  2. Good going, Jo Ann! I never would have even know about Crabtree if I had not heard about the White-Winged Crossbill. As it turns out, seeing the Pine Siskins up close was a surprise: I don’t normally see them very often. I’ll have to put nature centers with feeders on my need-a-quick-nature-fix list. I agree, I wish I’d been exposed to this sort of thing when I was a kid.

  3. We used to take our kids to Crabtree for walks. It’s a lovely spot. I never went for bird watching, though. They’ve got a great variety at their feeders. I get most of the species you captured, except for the fox sparrows and pine siskins. And we haven’t seen the red bellied woodpercker much this winter, other years he has been more of a presence.

    • I think we heard your red-bellied when we visited your Varied Thrush! You have a wonderful yard and a great location with all the right trees.
      From what I could tell, Crabtree has enough water for herons or ducks, and someone said they get Henslow’s Sparrows and other grassland species in the summer, so it’s on my locations list now. Just checked: officially their website says they have 260 species observed and 89 recorded breeding.

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