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Birding the Illinois River

March 10, 2007

Hats off to John Mullen of the Peoria Park District and Maury Brucker of the Peoria Audubon Society for organizing and hosting an all day field trip that showcased wildlife conservation habitats along the Illinois River.  The field trip covered several backwater habitats along both sides of the Illinois River, from Peoria to Havana. 

57 species were viewed at Chautauqua, Emiquon, and Banner Marsh, as well as smaller sites along the way.  John was able to procure a 15-passenger Peoria Park District van to help with the logistics.  More importantly, John and Maury pointed out the highlights of the birding experience.  Many of the novice birders really appreciated their patient explanations of bird identification and the stories that went along to make the day an enjoyable experience for all.

While at Chautauqua, John and Maury indicated that the recent warm weather melting of ice helped to create a feeding frenzy at a few key locations where the current concentrated "recently thawed out" fish.  The birds certainly knew where the food was and our experienced guides knew where to look. 

Along the way, Dennis snapped a few photos to remember the day:

 Thousands of ducks and geese take flight near Banner Marsh

Northern Shoveler, male, on remnant of ice at Chautauqua

Common Merganser, female, at Chautauqua

Hooded Merganser, male, at Chautauqua

Bald Eagle at Chautauqua


Mute Swans at Banner Marsh on ice

Organizers and Wildlife Guides: John Mullen & Maury Brucker at Chautauqua

Picnic at Dickson Mounds  [Thanks John for organizing this!]


Several of the participants on the "Birding the Illinois" tour reiterated their appreciation for the Peoria Park District sponsorship of this event that helps draw the community together and improve the quality of life for all.

'Birding the Illinois' Species List

Great Blue Heron

Turkey Vulture

Greater White-fronted Goose

Snow Goose

Canada Goose

Mute Swan

Tundra Swan


American Widgeon

American Black Duck


Northern Shoveler

Northern Pintail

Green-winged Teal



Ring-necked Duck

Lesser Scaup


Common Goldeneye

Hooded Merganser

Common Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser

Ruddy Duck

Bald Eagle

Northern Harrier

Red-tailed Hawk

American Kestral

American Coot


Bonaparte’s Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Rock Pigeon

Mourning Dove

Belted Kingfisher

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Eastern Phoebe (at Forest Park)

Blue Jay

American Crow

Tree Swallow

Back-capped Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse (at Forest Park)

White-breasted Nuthatch

Carolina Wren

American Robin

European Starling

Song Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Northern Cardinal

Red-winged Blackbird

Common Grackle

House Finch

American Goldfinch

House Sparrow

Eurasian Tree Sparrow


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