Nature Boardwalk, Layover Location

While the thermometer is slow to realize that spring has started, birds have begun their northern migrations to warm-weather destinations. And just as they do on their southbound trips, many species use the pond at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo as a layover location.

Yellow-rumped warblers, brown creepers, killdeer, song sparrows, eastern phoebes and golden-crowned kinglets have been spotted resting and refueling at Nature Boardwalk, complementing the American crows and northern cardinals that overwintered here.
 
Migrating birds prefer to travel along the edges of water bodies. Lincoln Park Zoo’s proximity to Lake Michigan places us in the middle of one of the nation’s busiest bird highways. Also attractive to birds are Nature Boardwalk’s variety of habitats (from towering trees to brush areas), the protection from predators provided by the pond, and the bounty of insects and vegetation.
 
The winged visitors lure birdwatchers like myself and our Coordinator of Wildlife Management Vicky Hunt, who advises those hoping to spot visiting birds to hone their binoculars on the island in the middle of the pond and on trees at the southeast corner of Nature Boardwalk.
 
This is just the start of the migration season. There’s plenty of time to come to the zoo and admire this natural rest station and its flighty visitors. And if you can’t make it, you can always stay in touch with Lincoln Park Zoo by admiring or contributing photos to our Flickr group, located here.
 
As always, I’ll keep you posted.
Sincerely,
Kevin Bell