In just 3 weeks, there has been an amazing amount of different kinds of birds migrating through our home town. Usually, the first bird family to show up for the spring season on their way north are the waterfowl. Lake Zurich is a small glacial formed lake with good water quality and lots of slow fish! (Slow because the water is still cold!) It’s like a fast food’s flashing neon sign to a very tired and hungry group of determined winged wonders. These birds have traveled hundreds of miles and know they are almost home where they have to compete for mates, nesting spots and survival of young. Their survival is determined on the stops along their migration route. Not only do our natural areas provide a place for rest, recovery and tasty treats, but without the stop they wouldn’t survive. Let’s look at the bright side…we get to enjoy their stops, displays and colorful calls. Imagine our surprise when last Thursday at 11:00 am, while at Kuechmann Arboretum, we heard loons calling! Then at 11:38 they were diving and courting right in front of Bobber’s Restaurant!
Here are just a few fun facts about waterfowl! Some are aquatic grazers eating plants that grow in the water. Some are hunters from the surface, taking every opportunity of the lonesome fishy who heads for the sunlight or a tasty insect. Or, the bird may be one of the ducks who dive down under the surface to search out their meal and often stay under for over 3 minutes hunting! All of them have certain adaptations in common. Webbed feet helps a swimmer. Waterproof feathers and specific eye shape and eye lids that can see through sunlight reflection provide protection from cold water. Colorful plumage requires a healthy diet and prime physical size to win the female’s attention.
Our natural areas can provide a migratory rest stop of plenty and wondrous water access! All we need to do is watch and share!
Some species spotted in the last few weeks include some species of concern. These are birds that scientists are watching due to lower population numbers.
Til next time!
AOF Board Member
Mary has worked for McHenry County Conservation District for 16 years and has been a “founding” member of the Village of Lake Zurich’s Tree Commission for 20 years.