Birding in Riverside!
On January 27, 2020, the Riverside Des Plaines River Corridor was designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon Great Lakes. Learn more about what that means here.
Riverside is home to rich and varied wildlife, including many wild birds. Due to its location on the Mississippi Flyway, Riverside welcomes dozens of migratory birds each Spring and Fall, in addition to the hundreds of local species that live here year round. Check out the information and links below and become a Riverside Birder! Learn more about the Year of the Bird!
Five Easy Ways to Help Birds
1. Keep your cat indoors.
Being inside is best for your cat. Indoor cats live three to seven years longer than cats that go outside. Cats are also responsible for an estimated 2.4 billion bird deaths each year (and 12 billion mammals). In the spring, young birds or nestlings often end up on the ground, attracting the fatal attention of a nearby cat.
2. Prevent window collisions.
As many as one billion birds die each year after colliding with glass in buildings. You can reduce this problem at your home by applying a variety of window treatments. Check out the American Bird Conservancy page for advice on how to protect birds.
3. Eliminate pesticides from your yard.
Even pesticides that are not directly toxic to birds can pollute waterways and reduce insects that birds rely on for food. For rodent control, seal cracks, remove food sources, and use snap and electric traps rather than rodenticides, which can poison raptors such as hawks and owls. And be sure not to garden with neonicotinoid-coated seeds, which are lethal to songbirds as well as to bees and other invertebrates.
4. Create a backyard habitat using native plants.
When you garden with native plants you supply native insects and their larvae with food, which in turn are an irreplaceable food source provided by birds to their nestlings. Yards both large and small can benefit birds and other wildlife. Create a diverse landscape by planting native grasses, flowers, and shrubs that attract birds. You will be rewarded by their beauty and song, and will have fewer insect pests as a result.
5. Keep bird feeders and baths clean and in the right place to keep birds alive.
If you feed birds, make sure you don’t accidentally spread disease. Disinfect feeders and bird baths, and change water regularly or use a drip system to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. The safest locations for bird feeders is within three feet of your house or more than 30 feet away. When a feeder is really close, a bird cannot gain enough speed to have a fatal window collision and when the feeder is really far away birds are better able to perceive that your windows are part of your house and not a flyway.
Helpful Birding Resources
Introduction to birding:
All About Birds --The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a world leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds.
Audubon Guide to Birding -- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation.
Birding in the Chicagoland Area -- General information about birding in the Chicagoland area.
Great Lakes Birding Basics -- A regional office of the National Audubon Society, Audubon Great Lakes manages conservation work throughout the region to protect and improve habitat critical for birds during their migration and nesting cycles.
Audubon Bird Feeding Tips -- Follow these tips from the Audubon Society to attract the most feathered friends to your feeders.
Cornell Bird Feeding Advice – Practical advice on the safe feeding of backyard birds.
Backyard Bird Feeding -- This National Conservation Training Center pages includes extensive information on what kinds of food you need to attract specific birds.
Backyard Bird Problems -- The National Conservation Training Center, division of U.S. Fish and Wildlife, explains common backyard birding problems.
Planting for birds:
Audubon Guide to Riverside Native Plants -- Learn how to attract birds through native plants.
Attracting Migratory Birds with Plants -- With a bit of planning, you can make your garden a healthy, safe, beautiful stopover point for migratory birds.
How to Pick a Birding App -- There are many good birding apps to choose from. This Nature Conservancy guide will help you pick the one best for you.
Bird Guides and Lists:
Chicago Region Birding Trails -- When you’re ready to spread you wings beyond Riverside, this guide will take you to other great birding locations.
Common Chicago Summer Birds -- Chicago Field Museum guide to common summer birds.
Common Chicago Winter Birds – Chicago Field Museum guide to common winter birds.
Illinois Common Birds – Illinois Raptor Center guide, with photographs of common Illinois birds.
Salt Creek Woods – Bob Mann Woods -- An Audubon Important Bird Area, part of which is across the Des Plaines River from Riverside.