The site navigation utilizes arrow, enter, escape, and space bar key commands. Left and right arrows move across top level links and expand / close menus in sub levels. Up and Down arrows will open main level menus and toggle through sub tier links. Enter and space open menus and escape closes them as well. Tab will move on to the next part of the site rather than go through menu items.

Current Headlines

From the Gulf of Mexico to Goodenow, Hummingbird Goes Full Circle



Photo for: From the Gulf of Mexico to Goodenow, Hummingbird Goes Full Circle

Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock

A special guest darted into the Forest Preserve District’s recent "Hummingbird Fest & Nature Celebration," much to the delight of staff and volunteers.

A hummingbird that was captured and banded four years ago made a return visit to Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve and was recaptured during the banding portion of this year's fest. Seeing the tiny bird again was quite a treat, said Bob Bryerton, an interpretive naturalist for the Forest Preserve District.

“When the birds are captured, each one is weighed and measured, given a band and then released,” he said. “If a banded bird is recaptured, it gives us some information on where it was banded and about how old it might be. Most often, hummingbirds return to the same location, so it is likely that birds that are recaptured are from the same spot.”

Hummingbirds have only been recaptured two or three times during past Forest Preserve banding events. 

“Recaptures are special and something we hope for each year, but we cannot count on it happening,” Bryerton said. “These birds have such a long distance to travel that many don’t make it the first year. If they manage to get through the first year, then they usually have a lifespan of 3-5 years.”

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, allaboutbirds.org, the oldest known hummingbird was banded and recaptured in West Virginia at the age of 9 years, 1 month old.

“So there are some that can live longer,” Bryerton said. 

The bird recaptured at this year’s hummingbird fest was one that had been banded at Plum Creek Nature Center in 2015. 

“We know the bird is at least 4 years old, and it would seem to be a relatively hardy bird,” Bryerton said. “This bird had likely been across the Gulf of Mexico four times in order to come back to our area. It was a female bird and had a brood patch on it, which indicated that it likely nested at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve.” 

 

The hummingbird’s band number, K25835, showed it had been adopted by Forest Preserve volunteer and Thorn Creek Audubon Board member Greg Hejnar.

"The big thrill of our hummingbird fest is the chance to adopt a hummingbird so you can hold it in your hands to release it," said Forest Preserve interpretive naturalist Suzy Lyttle. "It is a first-come, first-served situation, so people line up early for the special opportunity."

Once the returning hummingbird's band was researched and identified after the fest, Hejnar received a letter informing him that his bird had made it back home to Will County. Hejnar said in an email that it was wonderful to receive the letter. 

"In fact, it somehow brightened my day, maybe my week," he said. " ... It was nice to hear that a bird that was banded four years ago was recaptured and helps in the overall understanding of the health of the hummingbird population. I guess the reason it made me feel so good was that my contribution to the banding of hummingbirds helps in the understanding of bird behavior."

The adoption and banding programs help educate the public about hummingbirds beyond seeing them at backyard feeders, Bryerton said. 

“This is one of the reasons we do the bandings,” he said. “It really helps people connect with these tiny active birds. It is very special to know that this little bird has been able to make the trip back for so many years, and it calls Goodenow Grove home during the nesting season. And it confirms that these birds come back to the same areas each year. Places like Goodenow Grove provide habitat that supports nesting for these birds and is important for their survival.”

_______________

Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to The Citizen, our weekly digital newsletter that provides subscribers with updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family. If you're only interested in programs, subscribe to The Weekly Five, which outlines the five must-do programs each week. Signing up for either newsletter is easy and free of charge.

News

Deadline to Order 2020 Dog Park Calendars Extended

10/21/2019

The new deadline to order a dog park calendar is November 6, and the calendars will still be shipped the week of November 25 in time for the holidays.

Read More


'Only Owls' Art Exhibition Coming to Isle a la Cache Museum

10/21/2019

The traveling exhibition will run from November 5-December 29 and it features 40 pieces of owl-themed art in pencil, charcoal, ink, watercolor, and woodcut from the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin.  

Read More


Forest Preserve Chips in to Help Celebrate National Bison Day

10/17/2019

Bison Crawl programs are scheduled at Sugar Creek Preserve, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie and a variety of other sites throughout Illinois.

Read More


Sign up for a Newsletter