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A “Big Year” at Labagh Woods

great horned owl in a cottonwood tree
Great horned owl in a cottonwood tree. Photo by Jeff Skrentny.

Birders raise funds for bird-friendly native shrubs

With spring just around the corner, many nature lovers turn their thoughts to birding and spring migration. Some are already engaged in what’s known as a “Big Year,” a binge-like personal attempt to see as many birds as possible in one year.

Since this past January, the Chicago Ornithological Society has been hosting a collective “Team LaBagh Big Year” at LaBagh Woods, a birding hotspot on Chicago’s Northwest Side. Through the end of 2015, birders are seeking pledges to raise funds for planting native shrubs in the understory, where a recent habitat restoration effort is removing large swaths of invasive brush. The native shrubs are being purchased to provide food and cover for migratory birds such as tanagers, warblers and vireos.

Supporters can pledge a flat rate or pledge per bird species observed. Or you can join the birders on weekly two- to four-mile birding hikes—everyone is welcome to help grow the tally.

Find more information about how to donate or join in at the Chicago Ornithological Society’s website. Or help with the habitat restoration as a Centennial Volunteer.