Chicago Audubon's 2nd Annual Spring Photo Contest

Chicago Audubon Society (CAS) is happy to announce the 2nd Annual Chicago Audubon Spring Photo Contest. All levels of photography experience are invited to join us! If you are not already a member, send a request to join CAS's Public Group on Facebook at all your favorite bird photos of the 2017 Spring migration during the month of May. The winning photos must have been taken and posted during the month of May 2017. We will be featuring numerous images throughout the month on our two Facebook pages, the CAS Public Group & CAS Home Page. 

To enter the contest you will be required to repost your ONE favorite photo with the tag #CAS from June 1st to June 4th. Multiple entries will be passed over. Please no photos of nesting birds, owls or pileated woodpeckers. We want this to be a positive experience for all! The winning images will need to be sent to CAS in full resolution for publication in the CAS Compass Newsletter. We recommend 240+ dpi for the best online quality. The winning photos will be announced on the CAS Facebook pages on Monday, June 12th.

Prizes To Be Awarded

1st Place:  The Museum of Science & Industry "Household Membership"

2nd Place:  Six daily passes to the Morton Arboretum

3rd Place:  Chicago Botanic Garden's "Day in the Garden Package"


Chicago Audubon 2017 Awards Banquet and Annual Members Meeting

Congratulations to the Recipients of the 2017 Chicago Audubon Environmental Awards!

From left to right:  Matt Cvetas, John Rogner, Josh Coles, Jeff Skrentny, John Navin, Steve Flexman, Chicago Audubon President Dave Willard, Jill Flexman, Bob Fisher, Kathy Andrews Wright, Henry Griffin, Libby Hill and Josh Engel.     ~ Photo by Heidi Tarasiuk ~

On March 25, Chicago Audubon presented Awards to honor those who have made contributions to conservation, the protection of migratory birds and other wildlife, and have helped to conserve, preserve, and enhance the varied habitats and open spaces of the greater Chicago region. The Awards ceremony took place March 25 at the Silver Stallion Restaurant in Des Plaines. To see a complete list of the categories awarded and their recipients, please go to the March-April issue of the Compass newsletter:  compass_marapr2017 (7).pdf

We Congratulate the Awardees!


"Urban Nature" -- WTTW Video featuring Chicago Bird Collision Monitors

Chicago Audubon is proud to announce a video produced by WTTW featuring Annette Prince of Chicago Bird Collision Monitors & The Chicago Audubon Society, Doug Stotz of The Field Museum, Rose Augustine of Willowbrook Wildlife Center and Architect Jeanne Gang. Chicago Audubon Board member and photographer, Jerry Goldner, donated the bird videos to the project.

"BUILDING A BIRD-SAFE CITY" urbannature/building-bird- safe-city#!/


From the American Bird Conservancy and Chicago Audubon





We are at critical moment for birds! The Endangered Species Act (ESA)—one of our bedrock environmental laws—is under attack in Congress. Leaders of key environmental committees in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have identified weakening the ESA as a top priority. This may be the single best opportunity ever for our community to stand together for birds and defend the ESA. Please sign and share the petition to show your support for bird conservation and help preserve the progress we have made in recent decades. Threats to the ESA can be halted—but only if everyone who cares about birds and other wildlife makes their voices heard. Please add your voice to these very important efforts. The following link will take you to the American Bird Conservancy's page which contains the petition:
(Photo credits, left to right: Bald Eagle by Greg and Jan Ritchie;
Northern Cardinal by Bonnie Taylor Barry;
Blackburnian Warbler by Paul Reeves Photography;
Burrowing Owls by Tania Thomson, all from Shutterstock)



Arguably the most important thing we can do for bird conservation is mentor the next generation to love and value the natural world. Children are the future birders, scientists, artists and voters. Please take a look at the information in the link below about a program that has a great track record of working with children in Chicago to get them out of their classrooms into their neighborhoods to study and appreciate common city birds like cardinals, robins and goldfinches. The program relies on volunteers who are trained to be classroom and neighborhood guides. Consider whether this is something you might want to do and sign up now for the next training session. If you do decide to participate in this program let us know. We would like to write a story for the this website and for our newsletter, the Compass, about Chicago Audubon's educational efforts. Thank you for considering it. Everyone is very very busy, but busy people make time for important things.



To the Volunteers and Friends of Montrose Beach Dunes
Your Help is Needed!
The dunes sleep in peaceful dormancy under a fresh blanket of snow, but folks are already busy preparing for next year’s growing season. Advocates for better security and enforcement of city ordinances and regulations at Montrose have put together a petition at the link below. If you have not already received this, please open the link, read the letter and add your signature and comment. It’s very important! The petition has only been circulating for a few days but is already almost halfway to its goal of 2,000 signatures. It will be shared with various governmental agencies and officials (the Chicago Park District, its Board of Commissioners, the Chicago Police Department, the city Animal Care and Control Department, etc.), and it will help achieve the protection, health, and security our Montrose natural areas, beach, and recreational areas deserve.

Chicago Audubon Annual Appeal 2016

  ~~ ANNUAL APPEAL 2016  ~~

Your donation to our 2016 Annual Appeal will help us to achieve our on-going goals of protecting migratory birds, the restoration and protection of bird habitat and habitat for all wildlife, and educating the public about the importance of these goals. Please click here if you would like to donate using you credit card. If you prefer, you may call our office to speak to the Administrator and make a charge over the phone (773-539-6793). If you reach voice mail, please  leave a message with your name and phone number (only), and the Administrator will return your call. Another option would be to donate by mailing a check made out to Chicago Audubon Society to our address at:  Chicago Audubon Society, 5801-C North Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL  60646. If you have any questions, please call ourr office at the number just above.

We thank you for your timely support and for your support in the past!




We wish to extend many, many thanks to

Good Earth Greenhouse in River Forest and to Nature House in Chicago

for hosting our pickup day for our bird seed sale in 2016.

Without your help and the help of all of our wonderful Volunteers,

this sale would not be possible!

We look forward to seeing you all again this coming Autumn.

Keep an eye on our website in early September

for publication of deadlines and pickup date.

Good Birding to all!



Congratulations to the winners of Chicago Audubon's First Annual Photo Contest. We would like to thank all of you who entered for sharing your beautiful images with us. We also thank our judges for their valuable time and support. And many thanks to the Field Museum and the Chicago Botanic Garden for donating prizes.


 1st Place:  Steven Jner Palm Warbler


2nd Place:  John Picken Mourning Warbler


3rd Place:  Jennifer Marshall Black-crowned Night Heron


 We look forward to seeing even more entries for Chicago Audubon's

Second Annual Photo Contest in 2017.

 Have a magical bird-filled summer!

The Skokie Lagoons: A Jewel for Recreation and A Paradise for Volunteers

"This network of pools, channels and islands winds between Winnetka, Northfield and Glencoe. With public boat access (boasting some of Cook County’s best fishing), biking and hiking trails and picnic areas, this well loved, wooded preserve offers peaceful retreats and activities around every bend. The Skokie Lagoons Forest Preserve covers 894 acres."   Cook County Forest Preserve District

THE SKOKIE LAGOONS -- By John Elliott, Chicago Audubon Society Conservation Committee

Bur Oak.  Photo by A.L. Gibson.Long before there was a forest preserve, before a settlement called Chicago was founded on the prairie, before Jean Baptiste DuSable built a trading post on the Chicago River, when explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet made the first recorded passage by Europeans over the Chicago Portage, a grand old bur oak much like the one pictured here would have already been a maturing tree. Known to relatively few, the original still stands today surrounded by a tangle of buckthorn on the western edge of Erickson Woods preserve of the Skokie Lagoons.

When the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed the Skokie Lagoons during the great depression of the 1930’s, the region gained a fishing, boating, hiking and biking recreation area—at the cost of losing a diverse marshland home to many wild creatures. From Willow Road to Lake-Cook Road in Winnetka the only remnants of those original communities is a sedge meadow and the neighboring grand old oak that lie between the levee and drainage channel of the lagoons. Over the years much of the land was overrun by buckthorn and other invasive species of marginal value to wildlife. After the lakes of the lagoon system were dredged and rehabilitated in the 1990’s, some hardy volunteers took on the challenge of remedying at least a small portion of past neglect. Chicago Audubon’s Jerry Garden was the first volunteer steward to work on removing invasive species at a lagoon site along Tower Road in Winnetka, beginning at the shore just east of the parking area along Tower Road. After Jerry left us for Alaska, Dave Kosnik and Daniel Kielson took over as stewards. A few years later, Gary Morrissey also joined the stewardship team. In the past few years, work has been concentrated north of Tower, working east towards Forestway Drive. Buckthorn has been removed from much of the target area. While buckthorn removal remains a regular workday activity—and a favorite of many volunteers—there is a renewed emphasis on follow-up work. Even though “it’s not as much fun,” Dave says, follow up maintenance is defense against recolonization and is now a very important task. In spring, control of garlic mustard is also needed. 

Quite a few years ago I put in my small bit of effort working with Mighty Acorns school groups removing buckthorn around that historic oak. In the past few years, responsibility for restoration there has fallen to Adam Kessel of the Cook County Forest Preserves. Unfortunately, he reports, the last school working there left the program two years ago, and the re-sprouting of buckthorn threatens to overwhelm what had been accomplished. Meanwhile, volunteers worked with district contractors to remove teasel from the sedge meadow. Dave Kosnik reports success. If all goes well the meadow will only need prescribed fire for maintenance. Teasel removal was spearheaded by the site’s bird monitors who then documented the return of shrubland birds like Willow Flycatchers. Daniel Kielsen is also president of an organization called the Backyard Nature Center (BYNC) which works with schools, turning the lagoons into something of an outdoor classroom. Their main focus of late has been on aquatics. The BYNC is a community organization in New Trier Township spanning Glencoe and Winnetka that works to connect children, youth, and adults with local natural areas. It is particularly active in bringing school groups to the Lagoons (and other preserves) for science lessons and service learning.

Prothonotary Warblers and Red-headed Woodpeckers that have nested here testify to the importance of restoration for habitat. Migrant birds are finding critical resting stops here now. Lake restoration greatly improved resources for wintering waterfowl, including a Barrow’s Goldeneye that was a winter visitor several years ago. Dave says, “The Skokie Lagoons is a special place, a big area with a lot of diverse habitat in the middle of suburbia. Many people use the lagoons for recreation, and the many native and migrant birds and other animals that live there make it a really important place.”  Thanks Dave, Daniel, and Gary! Thanks volunteers!  The reward is knowing you have contributed in a perhaps small but no doubt valuable way to the revival of habitat for birds and other creatures. 

Workdays every second Saturday of the month welcome any and all volunteers. Contact Dave Kosnik at [email protected] for information. 



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