As planned, I got out to Millennium Park again on Friday, with pretty much the same menu options. The Birdz Cookies were one week older, but the Crows didn’t seem to mind. The snow was for the most part gone and the sun poked out from behind the clouds every now and then.
The squirrels may turn their noses up at hot dogs, but they like the Birdz Cookies.
There were a lot more birds than last time. See if you can pick out the White-Throated Sparrow among these House Sparrows.
Visitors included a male Northern Cardinal and a couple Black-Capped Chickadees.
But what I really wasn’t expecting to see was a Brown Thrasher! They normally start showing up around April.
I knew this was going to make my list exciting so I was that much more pleased when the Thrasher gave me several good pictures.
The photographic data I submitted to ebird was more than sufficient. I found it funny though that the Thrasher was the only sighting on the Rare Bird Alert for the entire county on Friday.
What I suspect is going on with the Thrasher is that it is expanding its year-round range, which now cuts off at the southern tip of Illinois. This is likely the effect of global warming. So the data is important for that reason alone. This particular bird might be related to the male declaring his territory near the BP Bridge a couple years ago.
What I didn’t know about Brown Thrashers is that they eat seeds, so that explains why the bird came back to explore the food some more.
The crows got their fill of hot dogs.
On the way back I stopped at the Boeing sculpture garden and saw two beautiful female Northern Cardinals and a couple more White-Throated Sparrows.
So even though I hardly get out during the week, it’s still possible to find something unexpected. This is part of the magical attraction to birding. You can never predict what will happen.