Discover Where Nature Meets the City | An Avian Treasure Hunt

10 September 2017

The silhouette of a warbler

Bird watching is a year-around treasure hunt that can take you all the over the world. Luckily at 1000M, you don’t have to venture far from your home’s porte-cochère to begin this unique pursuit. Grant Park, Chicago’s and your personal front lawn, has some crazy good opportunities for bird watching.

The Museum Campus, walking distance from 1000M, is perfect for searching for native Illinois birds on an early morning, before the influx of museum visitors. From Soldier Field to Burnham Harbor, be on the lookout for warblers, thrushes, sparrows and vireos that dart from tree to tree.

A little farther east, Northerly Island, which is traditionally less crowded than the Museum Campus, promises some of the best opportunities in the city for spying birds. Surrounded by water, the Island is ideal for seeing ducks, loons and rare gulls as well as grassland birds like sparrows and wrens. The short-eared owl, an owl with spotted and streaked plumage and, as its name suggests, tiny perked ears, can be spotted flying in a floppy line due to its irregular wing beats.

Birding in Grant Park, like anywhere, requires patience and time. As a new birder, don’t plan on discovering your favorite avian right away. Pick a bird (be mindful of the time of year and the bird’s feeding schedule) and take a long morning to explore Grant Park. It is an ideal opportunity to dive into the natural beauty right outside 1000M’s doorstep.