Friday, November 19, 2010

Wood Ducks, North Pond, Lincoln Park & Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Chicago

A pair of Wood Ducks (male & female) at North Pond, Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL; 10/30/10.
Even in a large urban setting like Chicago, there are still places that one can go to observe wildlife, and of course, birds.  A couple of weeks ago, I spent a few hours at two such places: Lincoln Park and the Jarvis Sanctuary.
Lincoln Park is well known for its Zoo, but also has two large ponds that attract waterfowl during their migratory routes: sensibly named "The North Pond" and "The South Pond."  While hoofing around the North Pond, I observed, not only the usual Mallard Ducks and Canada Geese, but also several other species: Mergansers (both Hooded and Red-Breasted), American Coots, Ruddy Ducks, a pair of Trumpeter Swans, a trio of Gray-Fronted Geese, and the bird I went there in hopes of seeing - Wood Ducks (Above). Believe it or not, I have never seen the colorful Wood Duck in the wild before, and I heard that they are often seen in at the North Pond. So off we went in search of Wood Ducks and more - we were not disappointed.  We saw several small flocks of Wood Ducks mixed in with Mallards, Coots, and Mergansers. Wood Ducks are found largely in the Midwest, Northeast, and the southern portions of Canada in the summer months and will migrate down to the Southeast section of the country in winter. They also live along the Northwest Pacific Coast year round.  They are so beautiful to observe that even after I knew I had some very good pictures of them, I kept taking more (Below)
Male Wood Duck, North Pond, Lincoln Park, Chicago; 10/30/10

Female Wood Duck, North Pond, Lincoln Park, Chicago; 10/30/10

Male Wood Duck, North Pond, Lincoln Park, Chicago; 10/30/10

Pair of Wood Ducks, North Pond, Lincoln Park, Chicago; 10/30/10
I was told by a grounds keeper that some of the Wood Ducks found at the North Pond are actual permanent residents, but many are also wild. I really couldn't tell which were wild or not, and then wondered if I could add them to my Life List. But my dilemma was later satisfied when I visited the Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary (off of Lakeshore Drive and Addison Street) and spotted a young male Wood duck sitting quietly in a marshy area (Below).  Initially I thought it was a female Wood Duck, but its pinkish white bill, white verticle stripe on its cheek, and yellow eyes told me it was a male without its full regalia of plumage.

Young male Wood Duck; Jarvis Sanctuary, Chicago; 10/30/10.
It is worth noting that the Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary ( )  is an excellent place to spot birds. It is a haven of approximately 8 acres of woodland and wetland habitat located smack dab in the middle of a very populated busy lakeshore recreation area. Fortunately for the birds but unfortunately for birders, it is enclosed by a protective fence. However, there is a wood chip path leading around the perimeter of the sanctuary and on the East side, a large viewing platform which provides a heightened perspective of the two lakes on this side of the park, along with information to identify the many species of birds that visit or live here. The number and variety of species of birds that use this small parcell of land during migration is astonishing. I took the pic of the Wood Duck above through the fence, so it is fairly easy to get photographs even if we are not allowed inside the sanctuary. That is a true meaning of a sanctuary.

Tomorrow and the next couple of weekends I will highlight other birds that I photographed at Lincoln Park: Trumpeter Swans, Hooded Merganser, Red-Breasted Merganser, Purple Finch, Gray-fronted Goose, and the White-throated Sparrow.


Anonymous said...

Love the colors these guys are showing off....beautiful!!!

~Val said...

Cool ducks. They almost look real! ;-)

AleR said...

One of my favorit birds!
Great shots!

Robin Robinson said...

Wood ducks are a bird I can't get enough of as a photographer. Last fall I saw 14 all together in a pond. I thought my head would explode! nice captures.

Lotusdog said...

May I use your photo above on a public informational website I have a custom Google Map of regional parks, urban farms, and educational centers and would like to use your photo for my Bill Jarvis Migratory Bird Preserve Map Marker,-87.639045&spn=0.002226,0.004764&t=h&z=18 with credit to your blog of course, hopefully my marker is correct, the preserve is not exactly on Google Maps.

jon said...

Absolutely, Ernest, it would be an honor. You have my permission. Thanks for visiting.