During June and July the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County volunteer monitors and ecologists survey dozens of wetlands, prairies and woodlands throughout the county for breeding birds. This effort helps assess population trends and confirmed breeding activity in our preserves. Data is contributed to regionwide efforts headed up by the Chicago Audubon Society and Bird Conservation Network, and nationwide datasets maintained by Audubon and Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
BCN’s analysis of the Breeding Bird Population Trends of the Chicago Region can be found here.
Marsh bird surveys conducted by ecologists use taped recordings of specific breeding birds, like rails and bitterns, and record the number of birds based on visual or audio confirmation. Many of the rails and bitterns are secretive and more often heard than seen. By playing their calls, ecologists hope to elicit a response from that or other species.
Volunteers also annually collect eastern bluebird nesting box data in order to help District ecologists determine nesting success rates, population trends and the overall success of local populations.
Check out this photo gallery to learn more about breeding birds.
For more information about District’s volunteer monitoring programs, see the Natural Resource Management Volunteer Program page.