|Typical view from our back porch.|
Yard birding in an urban area is a very arbitrary and incredibly rewarding experience. Once, while I was parking on another congested North Side street, a Virginia rail ambled between cars and passersby. It was my lifer Virginia rail, and I was nowhere near a wetland.
I've kept a yard list at my last two Uptown addresses. Our previous home was situated on a North-South street: Kenmore Avenue. Neither home has had a yard any bigger than about 500 square feet. But the Kenmore building seemingly yielded more warbler species in the proper seasons--perhaps they followed the treetops of North-South Chicago streets as part of their migration. We tallied nearly 50 species in our five years at the location. Every year, almost to the day, we could count on a yellow-bellied sapsucker in a poplar that was clearly visible from our front window. It became a gratifying rite of April to see this bird.
For whatever reason, perhaps the East-West orientation, the yard list at our current home has taken longer to build. I decided that any bird seen or heard from the property would be counted as a yard bird. This opened up some great possibilities, including standing on our back porch and seeing birds from quite a long distance. That's resulted in peregrine falcon, black-crowned night-heron, great blue heron and some waterfowl. The total stands at 48, the last species a budgie on a frigid day--the bird likely an escape.
I still have a few target species--blue jay, common grackle, red-winged blackbird, fox sparrow, sandhill crane to name a few--but there's something fun about the low expectations and randomness of Uptown yard birding. Which will be the next new species? Probably not a Virginia rail.
Current list below:
|Black-crowned Night Heron|
|Great Blue Heron|
Budgerigar (likely escape)