As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday 12 July 2018

How a tiny bird signals big improvement for a Palatine forest preserve

The Henslow's sparrow has been spotted at the Deer Grove Forest Preserve in Palatine for the first time since 1993.

Although the Henslow's sparrow is small in size, conservationists say its return to Deer Grove Forest Preserve in Palatine after a 15-year absence is a big sign that longtime restoration work is paying off.

Palatine birder Heidi Tarasiuk spotted and photographed the roughly 5-inch sparrow during its nesting season early this month at Deer Grove, the state's first dedicated forest preserve. Linda Masters, a restoration specialist for the Openlands conservation organization, said the Bird Conservation Network confirmed Tarasiuk captured an image of the Henslow's sparrow.

"When I saw the Henslow here, I thought, 'Wow, this is a big deal,'" Tarasiuk said during a recent walk through Deer Grove East, where the sparrow's "hiccup" sound could be heard not far from an egret and sandhill cranes.

Officials at Chicago-based Openlands say the Henslow's sparrow is an indicator species for the health of natural areas, so its first appearance at Deer Grove since 2003 represents a milestone for the organization's work managing the preserve's continuing restoration. Openlands began the task in partnership with Forest Preserves of Cook County in 2008.

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