Printer Friendly

Breeding birds and nest productivity at Green Wing Environmental Laboratory, northcentral, Illinois.


Green Wing Environmental Laboratory (GWEL) is a biological field station in the Prairie Peninsula Physiographic Area (Fitzgerald et al. 2000) of northcentral Illinois. In the early 1800's, GWEL was embedded in a landscape dominated by prairie and was part of a ~6,000 ha forest, which included isolated wetlands (INHS 2006). Agricultural development post-European settlement has reduced prairie, forest, and wetlands by an estimated 99.9%, 50%, and 91%, respectively (Levin 2000, IILCP 2004, INHS 2006). In the 1930's, the site was managed for row crops (mixed use grasslands), although many small forest patches were present. Despite little management since this time, mature forest area has increased in size by 62 ha, mixed use grassland area has decreased by 86 ha, and wetlands have become reestablished. Current land use in the immediate vicinity of GWEL includes Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grasslands, small woodlots and hedgerows, and agriculture. In addition, recent exurban development immediately adjacent to this site has resulted in four new single family residences, which has converted mature forest to edge/early successional habitat.

Today, GWEL consists of 170 ha of forest fragments [black and bur oak, hickory, and walnut estimated at 42 ha based on "core" area in Burke and Nol (2000)], white pine plantations (12 ha), wet meadows (21 ha), old fields and a reconstructed prairie (combined 17 ha), small pot-holes, and streams. The reminder of the site (78 ha) may effectively function as habitat edge, which negatively affects fitness in breeding birds compared to conspecifics in large habitat patches. For example, brood parasitism by the Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) and nest predation may be high in small woodlots and grasslands resulting in reduced nest productivity (Burke and Nol 2000; Herkert et al. 2003). Small forest patches may also act as sinks for birds, such as Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla), Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina), Veery (Catharus fuscescens), and Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus), in a metapopulation context (Nol et al. 2005). Donovan et al. (1997) found that birds breeding in early successional and forest edge habitats experience higher nest-depredation rates than in "core" forest habitats. In addition, highly and moderately fragmented sites experience relatively high nest predation rates due to mammalian (raccoon, opossum, and canid) and avian predators. Much of GWEL is immediately surrounded by row crop development, which has indirect negative effects on nest productivity (Heske et al. 2001). Increasing exurban development at the eastern and southern boundaries of the site may reduce survival and reproduction of native birds near homes (Hansen et al. 2005). In addition, as exurban housing density increases, there is a tendency for 1) early successional habitat (edge) to increase, 2) native species richness to decrease, and 3) an increase in abundance of exotic predators (domestic dogs and cats) and human-adapted natives [Brown-headed Cowbird and American Robin (Turdus migratorius)].

Previous field studies at GWEL documented 55 summer species and abundance was highest in the Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata), and American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) (McKay and Hager 2005). This information offers limited insight about the population status of breeding birds. A deeper understanding of the status and short-term demography may be derived from the details of breeding and nest success (Martin 1992, Martin and Geupel 1993, Faaborg 2002). We conducted three field studies to assess those characteristics in the birds of GWEL. In Study 1, we identified species as confirmed, probable, and possible breeders using the methodology of the Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA) (Smith 1990). Although the Illinois BBA was recently published (Kleen et al. 2004), field surveys were completed in 1991 and may not have examined forested areas in the region since this habitat is not well represented. In Study 2, we estimated the abundance and richness of summer species using standardized transects. In Study 3, we quantified breeding productivity via daily nest survival in birds known to reproduce in edge habitat.


Study 1

We assessed the likelihood of breeding in the birds of GWEL from late-May through August 2005-2007. The methods were generally consistent with the Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA), which recommends the use of reproductive behavior to assign standardized breeding categories: confirmed, probable, possible, and observed; however, in Appendix 1 we explain how these were synthesized from Smith (1990) and Cutright et al. (2006). We completed approximately one 7-h survey/week, which began at sunrise. Our basic objectives were to document evidence of breeding in at least 75% of species observed and, of these, to confirm at least 50% (Cutright et al. 2006). We also report the full repertoire of breeding classification and codes observed for each species; this provides more detailed and valuable natural history information which is important since GWEL is relatively new (established in 1991). In 2005 and 2007, we conducted BBA surveys in March (2 visits; 9 field-h), April (8 visits; 30 field-h), and May (3 visits; 7 field-h) for early breeding species. Twelve nocturnal BBA surveys (22 field-h) were conducted in 2005-2007 for the American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus), Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis), Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola), Sora (Porzana carolina), American Woodcock (Scolopax minor), Eastern Screech-Owl (Megascops asio), Barred Owl (Strix varia), Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor), and Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus vociferous). We would occasionally broadcast recordings of bitterns, rails, and owls to elicit responses (McGarigal and Fraser 1985, Ritchison et al. 1988, Conway 2005). Seven artificial nest boxes (entrance hole diameter ~40 mm), placed at the edges (<100 m) of grasslands and wetlands in 2003, were monitored throughout the study.

Poole et al. (1992) and Baicich and Harrison (1997) were consulted for identification of nests, eggs, nestlings, and breeding behavior. Common and scientific names used throughout follow the American Ornithologists' Union (1998). We make qualitative comparisons between our results and the data in surrounding Illinois BBA blocks (Amboy, Dixon East, Franklin Grove, Ashton, Sublette, Mendota West, La Moille, Ohio, and Walton) (Kleen et al. 2004, Breeding Bird Atlas Explorer 2007).

Study 2

In June and July 2007, we estimated abundance of summer birds from 6 fixed-width strip transects (Bibby et al. 2000; 100 m on each side of transect), which averaged ([+ or -] 1SD) 1.9 h ([+ or -] 0.51) and 1.4 km ([+ or -] 0.35) in length. We systematically placed transects so that a representative sample of the site's habitats was obtained. Surveys could not be confined within a habitat because the site is highly fragmented and contains many small habitat patches. Each transect was completed once during favorable weather (PWRC 2001). This survey methodology allowed us to evaluate relative commonness and diversity. We used estimates to categorize species as Abundant ([greater than or equal to] 6 birds/h), Common (2.00-5.99 birds/h), Fairly Common (1.00-1.99 birds/h), and Rare (<1.00 birds/h and birds documented at times other than during surveys) (Andres et al. 2004). We make qualitative comparisons to previously recorded abundance estimates from the Troy Grove (#68) Breeding Bird Survey route, which was ~19 km south of and the closest route in proximity to GWEL (PWRC 2007).

Study 3

From late May-July 2007, we located and monitored the nests of seven species known to breed in edge habitat: Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor), Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis), Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis), Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum), Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia), Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), and Red-winged Blackbird (Yasukawa and Searcy 1995, Imbeau et al. 2003, McKay and Hager 2005). We focused on these species since previous work suggested that they were abundant relative to forest-nesting species, such as Ovenbird and Wood Thrush (McKay and Hager 2005).

We located nests by visual inspection of vegetation and adult distress calls, which is an indicator of a nearby nest (Burhans and Thompson 2006). Nests were identified by parent, nest, chick, or egg characteristics (Baicich and Harrison 1997, Sibley 2003, DeVore et al. 2004). We marked nests with a piece of pink plastic flagging (~15 cm) at a distance 5 m to the north of the nest (Johnson and Temple 1990, Galligan et al. 2006) and recorded latitude/longitude via GPS, nest height, and plant genus in which a nest was found. In addition, we monitored breeding in seven nest boxes mentioned previously.

We monitored nests every 3 to 4 days after the initial marking (Martin and Geupel 1993, Brawn 2006). Welfare impacts to nests were minimized by approaching them from different pathways (which would not dead end at the nest) and by minimizing damage to surrounding vegetation. Whenever possible, we visually examined nests using a hand mirror and a pole-mounted mirror (~2.5 m in length), which minimized disturbance.

We recorded nests as successful based on appropriate timing of chick development, intact construction of the nest, presence of fledglings off of nest, fecal sacs in a nest, and flattened edges of the nest, and produced at least one fledgling (Martin and Geupel 1993). Nests were considered depredated if damage to nest construction and remnants of eggs, egg shells, and chicks were observed in or around nests. The timing of nest success or depredation was placed at a date halfway between the previous and final monitoring visits (Johnson and Temple 1990).

Daily nest survival (DNS), the probability of a nest surviving with at least one viable chick on any day of the nesting period, was calculated using the Mayfield Method (Johnson 1979). A minimum of 20 nests per species was required for meaningful estimates of DNS (Martin and Geupel 1993), which was calculated for the Gray Catbird and Red-winged Blackbird. Parasitism by the Brown-headed Cowbird for each species was recorded as the percent of nests parasitized. We used a chi-squared test to evaluate differences in nest location (plant genus) for the Gray Catbird and Red-winged Blackbird. This analysis was restricted only to data gathered in an opportunistic sense; we made no attempt to identify plants available to, but not used, by birds.

We make general statements about regional population status through the use of maintenance fecundity, which may be considered as the annual recruitment of young that balances adult mortality (Burke and Nol 2000). This was calculated using estimates of lifespan and survivorship reported in the literature (Yasukawa and Searcy 1995, DeSante et al. 2001, de Magalhaes et al. 2005). We reasoned that if our estimates of the # offspring/ year was greater than maintenance fecundity, then nest productivity at GWEL contributed to population numbers in 2007. Alternatively, if these estimates were less than maintenance fecundity, then GWEL recruitment failed to add to the regional population. Modeling population trends, per se, was not an objective of our work, and, thus, we make only general conclusions in this context.


Study 1

We observed 124 species, 97 of which showed evidence of breeding at GWEL: 66 confirmed, 14 probable, and 17 possible (Tables 1-4). Standardized behaviors of Singing, Territoriality, Pair, Feeding Young, Fledged Young, and Nests with Eggs were observed often ([greater than or equal to] 50%) in confirmed breeders (see Appendix 1 for breeding code definitions). We confirmed 25 species not reported as such in the Amboy and surrounding Illinois BBA blocks (Kleen et al. 2004), including Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus), Veery, Wood Thrush, Ovenbird, and Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla) (Table 1). In contrast, we failed to observe five species that were confirmed by Kleen et al. (2004) in these BBA blocks: Mute Swan (Cygnus olor), Gray Partridge (Perdix perdix), Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris), Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis), and Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta).

We documented nest parasitism in 11 species (Table 5) and nest depredation in: Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus), White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus), Veery, American Robin, Yellow Warbler, Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus), Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea), and Red-winged Blackbird. In 2005, a Red-winged Blackbird was observed to consume the first and only egg within a Yellow Warbler nest, after which the female warbler disassembled the nest and, using the same nest material, re-built another nest ~15 m away (A. Wenmacher, unpubl. data).

For the nests we monitored (see Tables 1 and 2), the following observations were at the edge of or beyond known egg or nestling dates for this region: 1) Sora nest with eggs on 23 July 2006; 2) Eastern Phoebe nest with eggs on 7 July 2006; 3) probable re-nest attempt for single-brooded Yellow-throated Vireo, with male and female pair observed making nest on 7 July 2006; and 4) nest with nestlings of Eastern Towhee on 7 September 2005 (Weeks 1994; Greenlaw 1996; Melvin and Gibbs 1996; Rodewald and James 1996).

Study 2

We observed 72 species during abundance surveys: 8 Abundant, 24 Common, 24 Fairly Common, and 16 Rare (Tables 1, 3 and 4; Appendix 2). Dickcissel (Spiza americana), Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), and Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) were observed in habitats immediately adjacent to GWEL. We encountered a male Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) shortly after the end of one survey route on 12 June 2007.

Study 3

We calculated reliable estimates (=20 nests) of DNS for the Red-winged Blackbird and Gray Catbird (Table 6). Nest loss for all species was attributed to predation, except for the Red-winged Blackbird in which 13 of 25 nests were lost to flooding after heavy rainfall. Nest loss for the Gray Catbird, Northern Cardinal, and Red-winged Blackbird, was higher for nests with eggs than nests with nestlings. For the Yellow Warbler and Brown Thrasher, we found equal proportions of depredated nests for those containing eggs and those with nestlings. For nest boxes, one depredated Tree Swallow nest resulted in the loss of chicks and adults. House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) quickly began nest building on top of the swallow nest, which contained the bodies of both adult swallows.

We observed no direct cause of nest predation for Study 3, although many predators are known from the site, e.g., raccoon (Procyon lotor), American mink (Neovision vision), squirrels (Sciurus spp.), birds, and snakes [northern watersnake (Nerodia sipedon), western ribbonsnake (Thamnophis proximus), and common gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis)]. During this study, only one nest (Yellow Warbler) was parasitized by the Brownheaded Cowbird (Table 5). (Parasitized nests of other species reported in Table 5 were observed during Study 1.) A Tree Swallow nest was parasitized by an Eastern Bluebird, although the bluebird egg was not brooded.

Gray Catbirds nested in Cornus (N = 11 nests), Lonicera (N = 5), and Rubus (N = 6), but proportions were not significantly different ([chi square] = 2.68, DF=2, P=0.26). Significantly more Red-winged Blackbird nests (N = 24) were found in Phalaris grass ([chi square] = 13.54, DF=1, P=0.0002) than in other plants (N = 5, which was a combined group of three plant genera in order to meet assumptions of the test).


We set out to document evidence of breeding in at least 75% of species observed and, of these, to confirm at least 50% (Cutright et al. 2006). We achieved these objectives with 78% (97/124) documented evidence and 68% (66/97) confirmed breeders. Probable breeders were easily heard, but in some cases, difficult to visually locate, e.g., American Woodcock. This was exacerbated for the Whip-poor-will, which was heard in all years except 2007. Moreover, we observed the Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens) and Eastern Screech-Owl only in 2005. Possible breeders included species that were difficult to confirm because of secretive breeding habits, such as Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors), or they were observed infrequently, e.g., Purple Martin (Progne subis). To our knowledge we are the first to document depredation on a Yellow Warbler nest by the Redwinged Blackbird and one of the few to report the observation of the female warbler using material from the depredated nest to construct a new one (Lowther et al. 1999).

This and previous work on the birds at GWEL (McKay and Hager 2005) documented (1) 26 summer species considered threatened, declining, or rare at the continental and national scales, (2) 22 priority and declining species in the Prairie Peninsula physiographic area, and (3) six state species of special concern (Fitzgerald et al. 2000, IESPB 2006, Butcher and Niven 2007, Butcher et al. 2007, Sauer et al. 2007). Seven confirmed or probable breeders [Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus), Whip-poor-will, Redheaded Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus), Field Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Dickcissel, and Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna)] are of conservation concern at national and physiographic levels (Fitzgerald et al. 2000, Butcher et al. 2007, Sauer et al. 2007).

Abundance of breeding birds in 2007 was highest in the Red-winged Blackbird, Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia), and Gray Catbird (Appendix 2). These results may more accurately reflect abundance at this site since McKay and Hager (2005) conducted only one point count survey-day during the summer. The Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) was abundant at GWEL despite a significant average decline of 0.8%/yr in 1966-2006 from BBS work in the Prairie Peninsula physiographic area (Sauer et al. 2007). Results from the closest BBS route, Troy Grove (#68), show that abundance was highest in the Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, and American Robin (PWRC 2007). Although close in proximity, overall differences in richness between sites appear to correspond to the habitats assessed: woodlands, wetlands, grasslands, and edge at GWEL and (presumably) open farmland and rural towns for the BBS route.

The BBS population assessment for the Red-winged Blackbird in the Prairie Peninsula physiographic area reported no significant difference in annual percent change in the number of individuals for 1966-2006 (Sauer et al. 2007). This suggests that reproductive success in local areas was high enough to maintain regional demographic stability. The DNS calculated for this species at GWEL in 2007 was similar to DNS estimates reported elsewhere in the Midwest (Galligan et al. 2006). However, the #offspring/year was only ~50% of the maintenance fecundity for this species (Table 6). This implies that annual recruitment from GWEL failed to contribute new individuals into the population. Nest submersion accounted for over half of the nest losses due to heavy rain events in the summer months. Nesting over water is reported for this species and it may minimize predation risk relative to nests on land (Yasukawa and Searcy 1995). During years of average rainfall nest productivity at GWEL may be high enough to contribute more positively to the regional demography of Red-winged Blackbirds.

We observed no evidence of nest parasitism for the Red-winged Blackbird at GWEL. The incidence of parasitism in this species is reported at 30% across habitats (Galligan et al. 2006). Levels of parasitism may be inversely correlated with high breeding density of adults, which was documented at this site in Study 2, and may be reduced by limited cowbird egg recognition and subsequent removal (Yasukawa and Searcy 1995).

The BBS also reported no significant difference in annual percent change in the number of Gray Catbirds for 1966-2006 (Sauer et al. 2007). Daily nest survival in 2007 was high and was similar to other studies in the region, although year-to-year reproductive success may vary widely (Cimprich and Moore 1995). Moreover, our estimate of the #offspring/ year was higher than maintenance fecundity. This suggests that recruitment from GWEL in 2007 may have contributed to the regional population.

Low nest predation for the Gray Catbird may be attributed to several factors. Catbird nests are constructed deep within the shrub interior, which may minimize conspicuousness to predators (Cimprich and Moore 1995). Plant genera (Cornus, Rubus, and Lonicera) used by catbirds at GWEL for nesting match the genera reported elsewhere (Cimprich and Moore 1995). Additionally, aggressive parental behavior in this species may also confer protection of active nests (Cimprich and Moore 1995). Low incidence of nest parasitism was expected since catbirds can recognize and remove cowbird eggs from nests (Cimprich and Moore 1995).

Tree Swallows and Eastern Bluebirds experienced relatively high nest success. One Tree Swallow nest was depredated most probably by House Sparrows (K. K. Hallinger, pers. comm.). Robertson et al. (1992) report that both sexes of Tree Swallows often grapple with avian intruders inside nest cavities. Combatant Tree Swallows have been found injured or dead inside boxes, which we observed, or on the ground after such fights. Intraspecific nest building on top of dead adults has been documented for the White-throated Swift (Aeronautes saxatalis) (Rett 1946), but not in an interspecific context (House Sparrows nesting on dead Tree Swallows). Moreover, our observations included recently killed Tree Swallows, whereas the adult swift appeared to die the year prior to being found.

Nest parasitism by Eastern Bluebirds is rare, but known hosts include Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus), chickadees, and House Sparrows (Gowaty and Plissner 1998). Only one of ~400 monitored Tree Swallow nests in Virginia was parasitized by bluebirds (K. K. Hallinger, unpubl. data). To our knowledge, this is the first published documentation of bluebirds parasitizing a Tree Swallow nest.

Results of Studies 1-3 suggest that GWEL is an important site for breeding birds, although reproductive success appeared to vary among species when viewed along with the abundance data, nest productivity, and anecdotal observations of nest parasitism. Reasons for this may be related to the biological characteristics of the site, including fragmented habitats (Burke and Nol 2000, Herkert et al. 2003, Hansen et al. 2005), many of which are immediately adjacent to developed agricultural land and are known to increase the risk of nest predation and parasitism (Heske et al. 2001). Moreover, high inter-annual variation in weather may have affected our results. In 2004-2007, above average temperatures were recorded in Illinois, except in 2006, when temperatures were much higher than average (NCDC 2008). Precipitation was near or above average in all years, but not in 2005, when Illinois was characterized at much below average (NCDC 2008). This resulted in "extreme" and "severe" drought conditions in northern Illinois in 2005 and 2006, respectively (NCDC 2008). Qualitatively, wetlands in June-August at GWEL were dry in 2005, temporarily filled with water in 2006, and filled in 2007.


We evaluated the breeding birds at Green Wing Environmental Laboratory (GWEL), which supports small fragments of forest, wetlands, and grasslands. Field work focusing on atlasing birds (Study 1) identified 124 species, 97 of which showed evidence of breeding: 66 confirmed, 14 probable, and 17 possible. In Study 2, coarse estimates of abundance in 2007 suggested that the Red-winged Blackbird, Song Sparrow, and Gray Catbird were present in the highest numbers. In Study 3, an analysis of nest productivity, daily nest survival (DNS) was generally high for two edge-breeding species, Red-winged Blackbird (DNS = 0.92 [+ or -] 0.016) and Gray Catbird (DNS = 0.96 [+ or -] 0.01), which included no evidence of nest parasitism by the Brown-headed Cowbird. Future work should examine nest productivity of other edge species, forest breeders, e.g., Wood Thrush and Ovenbird, and species of conservation concern, e.g., Field Sparrow.

Breeding classification, codes, and interpretations for Study 1
(Smith 1990, Outright et al. 2006). We classified birds as
Observed, Possible, Probable, or Confirmed breeders. Codes within
each category were used to summarize breeding behavior observed
during field work and listed in Tables 2-4. Interpretations were
used to distinguish among classifications and codes.

Breeding Breeding
Classification Code Interpretation

Observed O A non-breeder or migrant (male or
 female) observed or heard between June 1
 and July 31 does not suggest breeding,
 regardless of habitat. Use this code for
 species observed in unlikely breeding
 habitat, out of their normal breeding
 range, flying over, or with no
 indication of breeding. This code
 applies to vultures or raptors flying
 over, to ducks summering on an urban
 pond with no breeding habitat, or a
 heron foraging when no heronry exists in
 the block. This code records the
 presence of the species but does not
 suggest breeding.

Possible X A male or female observed in possible
 suitable nesting habitat within safe
 dates suggests possible breeding. Note
 that many species do not have safe
 dates. Thus, this code can only be used
 for some species.

Probable S Singing male detected once in possible
 suitable nesting habitat indicates
 probable breeding. If you hear a male of
 the same species in the same location on
 another visit determine if code T

 P Pair (male and female) observed in
 suitable nesting habitat when apparently
 holding a territory suggests probable
 breeding. This code is used when it is
 fairly certain that a mated pair of
 birds has been observed. Note that two
 birds of the same species observed
 together are not always a pair,
 especially when males and females look
 alike. In sexually monomorphic species,
 behavior may indicate a pair.

 T Territory establishment can be based on
 a singing male observed on at least two
 different days a week or more apart in
 the same location. Such repeated
 observations are a good indication that
 a bird has taken up residence. Chasing
 of other birds of the same species often
 marks a territory and should be recorded
 using code T. One male American Robin
 chasing another falls under this code,
 as would two male owls hooting at each
 other from opposite sides of a canyon.
 Caution should be used for some species
 such as raptors and hummingbirds since
 they exhibit territorial behaviors in
 defense of feeding areas and favorite
 perches while wintering and migrating.

 C Courtship behavior or copulation
 indicates probable breeding. This code
 includes courtship displays and food
 exchanges. Prairie-chickens seen dancing
 on a lek, hummingbird courtship flights,
 and the bill tilt or topple-over display
 of cowbirds would fit this code. Use
 this code cautiously for ducks and
 grebes since they often court during
 migration. For bird banders, this code
 should be used for females with a brood
 patch or males with a cloacal

 N Visiting a probable nest-site indicates
 probable breeding when no further
 breeding evidence is obtained. This code
 is especially useful for cavity nesters
 and shrub-nesting species that fly into
 the same locations and disappear
 repeatedly. Repeated use of the same
 probable nest-site must be observed.

 A Agitated behavior or anxiety calls heard
 from an adult suggests probable
 breeding. This behavior suggests the
 probable presence of a nest or young
 nearby. Do not include agitation that
 you induce by "pishing" or using taped
 calls. A goshawk that calls in a
 distressed fashion falls into this
 category. If the goshawk swoops at you,
 you upgrade to the confirmed breeding
 code DD.

 B Nest building by wrens (Cactus,
 Bewick's, House, and Marsh), Verdins, or
 excavation of holes by woodpeckers
 indicates probable breeding. In Verdins
 and some species of wrens, unmated males
 will build nests to attract females.
 Thus, nests built by these species do
 not confirm breeding. Also, woodpeckers
 usually excavate one nest hole and other
 holes for roosting. Thus, excavation
 does not confirm breeding in

Confirmed PE Physiological evidence of breeding
 (i.e., highly vascularized incubation
 (brood) patch or egg in oviduct) based
 on a bird in hand confirms breeding for
 bird banders only.

 CN Birds observed carrying nesting material
 (e.g. sticks, hair, grass, mud, cobwebs)
 confirms breeding. This applies for all
 species except for some species of wrens
 (Cactus, Bewick's, House, March) and

 NB Nest building at the actual nest site by
 all except woodpeckers, Verdins, and
 wrens, confirms breeding.

 DD Distraction display or injury feigning
 for defense of an unknown nest or young
 confirms breeding. This code is used if
 an adult bird is seen trying to lead
 people away from a nest or young. A
 Killdeer giving a "broken wing" act fits
 this code. The difference between this
 code and agitated behavior is that the
 adult bird puts its own life in danger
 with a distraction display.

 UN A used nest confirms breeding. Caution:
 This must be carefully identified if it
 is to be used, and requires a written
 verification form. Some nests such as
 those of orioles are persistent and
 characteristic, but others are more
 difficult to identify. Be sure that the
 nest was used during the atlas period.
 Do not use this code for species that
 build multiple nests in a breeding
 season, such as Verdins and Cactus
 Wrens. Do not collect nests because some
 species roost in them all year and it is
 also illegal to collect nests or eggs
 without a permit.

 ON Adults entering or leaving a nest site
 in circumstances indicating an occupied
 nest confirms breeding. This code is not
 generally used for open-cup nesting
 birds, unless the nests are high above
 the ground and the contents cannot be
 seen. This code should be used mainly
 for cavity nesting birds that enter a
 hole and remain inside, leave a hole
 after having been inside for some time,
 or for adults that exchange occupancy of
 a cavity.

 FL Recent fledglings (of altricial species)
 or downy young (of precocial species
 such as galliformes, shorebirds or
 waterfowl) confirm breeding. Fledged
 young should be incapable of sustained
 flight. This code does not apply to
 mobile immatures. This code should be
 used with caution for species such as
 starlings and swallows that may move
 relatively great distances soon after
 fledging. Use of this code should be
 used only for recently fledged
 passerines in the natal areas that are
 still dependent on parents. A young
 cowbird begging for food confirms both
 the cowbird and the host species. If
 feeding of young by adults is observed
 use code FY.

 FS An adult observed carrying a fecal sac
 confirms breeding. Many passerine adults
 keep their nests clean by carrying away
 membranous, white fecal sacs.

 FY Feeding young, carrying food for young,
 or feeding recently fledged young
 confirms breeding. Be especially careful
 on the edge of a block. Some birds, such
 as birds of prey, continue to feed their
 young long after they've fledged and may
 move considerable distances. Some birds,
 such as Common Ravens, may carry food
 long distances to young in a neighboring
 block. Also, care should be taken to
 avoid confusion with courtship feeding,
 code C.

 NE A nest with e s , undisturbed nest with
 a bird in incubation posture, or
 eggshells found below the nest confirms
 breeding. Finding a cowbird egg in a
 nest is coded NE for both the cowbird
 and the host. Be careful not to disturb
 the vicinity of any nests.

 NY A nest with young seen or heard confirms
 breeding. The presence of a cowbird
 young is coded NY for both cowbird and
 host species. Caution must be used in
 approaching nest sites to minimize
 disturbance. Most confirmations can be
 accomplished without locating actual


Abundance estimates for Green Wing Environmental Laboratory
(72 species) in 2007 and the Troy Grove Breeding Bird Survey (BBS)
route #068 (75 species) in 1989-1998 (PWRC 2007).

Green Wing Environmental Laboratory

Common Name Species Birds/h

Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus 13.85
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia 9.61
Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis 8.84
Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana 8.4
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 7.67
American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis 7.02
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia 6.26
Killdeer Charadrius vociferas 6.18
Wood Duck Aix sponsa 5.96
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor 5.81
House Wren Troglodytes aedon 5.18
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum 4.26
Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater 4.02
Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla 3.55
Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina 3.4
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea 3.26
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 3.22
American Robin Tordus migratorios 3.14
Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens 3.1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus 3.04
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata 3.02
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 2.94
Canada Goose Branta canadensis 2.88
European Starling Storms vulgaris 2.61
Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula 2.45
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus 2.45
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 2.36
Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria 2.29
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius 2.29
Eastern Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus 2.18
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea 2.16
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus 2.04
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla 1.9
Warbling Vireo Vireo gilvus 1.66
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 1.64
Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum 1.63
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus 1.56
Green Heron Butorides virescens 1.56
Bank Swallow Riparia riparia 1.5
Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus 1.46
White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis 1.4
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus 1.38
Veery Catharus fuscescens 1.38
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus 1.31
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 1.31
Sedge Wren Cistothorus platensis 1.27
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 1.27
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula 1.25
Dickcissel Spiza americana 1.25
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus 1.23
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis 1.2
House Sparrow Passer domesticus 1.13
Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo 1.12
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons 1.12
Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanos 1.11
Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina 1.1
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 0.94
Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica 0.94
Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea 0.94
Willow Flycatcher Empidonax traillii 0.93
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus 0.84
Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus 0.81
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens 0.8
Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris 0.75
Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis 0.75
Sora Porzana carolina 0.75
Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii 0.5
Rock Pigeon Columba livia 0.5
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis 0.44
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris 0.44
Barred Owl Strix varia 0.25
Grasshopper Sparrow Ammodramus savannarum 0.25
-- -- --
-- -- --
-- -- --

Troy Grove BBS Route #068

Common Name Species 2.5 h

Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus 175.09
Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula 105.82
American Robin Tordus migratorios 101.09
European Starling Storms vulgaris 63
House Sparrow Passer domesticus 61.55
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia 27.73
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 23.45
Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta 23
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 22.91
Rock Pigeon Columba livia 21.36
American Crow Corvos brachyrhynchos 21.36
Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater 16
Killdeer Charadrius vociferas 15
Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica 12.18
Vesper Sparrow Pooecetes gramineus 10.09
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris 7.18
Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus 7.09
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis 7
American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis 5.36
Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum 4.09
Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina 2.73
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 2.55
House Finch Carpodacus mexicanos 2.55
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 2.36
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea 2.36
Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis 2.27
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna 2.27
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis 2.18
House Wren Troglodytes aedon 1.91
Dickcissel Spiza americana 1.73
Northern Rough-winged Stelgidopteryx serripennis 1.64
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula 1.64
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus 1.36
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata 1.27
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus 1.18
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 1.09
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus 0.82
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 0.73
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis 0.73
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis 0.73
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus 0.64
Warbling Vireo Vireo gilvus 0.64
Canada Goose Branta canadensis 0.55
Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus 0.55
American Coot Fulica americana 0.55
Red-headed Woodpecker Melanerpes erythrocephalus 0.55
Bobolink Dolichonyx oryzivorus 0.55
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura 0.45
Wood Duck Aix sponsa 0.45
Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota 0.45
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps 0.36
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus 0.36
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor 0.36
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum 0.36
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens 0.27
Willow Flycatcher Empidonax traillii 0.27
Willow/Alder Flycatcher Empidonax traillii/E. alnorum 0.27
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 0.27
Green Heron Butorides virescens 0.18
Gray Partridge Perdix perdix 0.18
Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon 0.18
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons 0.18
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus 0.18
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor 0.18
White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis 0.18
Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina 0.18
Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus 0.09
Sora Porzana carolina 0.09
Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanos 0.09
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris 0.09
Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens 0.09
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe 0.09
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus 0.09
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia 0.09
Yellow-headed Blackbird Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus 0.09


We thank the students of Research in Field Biology (BIOL465) for assistance in 2005 and 2007. Kelly McKay provided helpful advice throughout the project. Reuben Heine kindly assisted with some GIS analyses. Financial assistance was provided to SBH via a Faculty Research Grant and to CRB through the Lily Foundation Student-Faculty Summer Research Fellowship.

received 7/8/08

accepted 11/2/08


American Ornithologists' Union. 1998. Check-list of North American Birds. Seventh Edition. American Ornithologists' Union. Washington, D.C. USA.

Andres, B. A., M. J. Stotts, and J. M. Stotts. 2004. Breeding birds of Research Natural Areas in southeastern Alaska. Northwestern Naturalist 85:95-103.

Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A Guide to the Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds, 2nd Edition. Academic Press. San Diego, CA.

Bibby, C. J., N. D. Burgess, D. A. Hill, and S. Mustoe. 2000. Bird Census Techniques. Second Edition. Academic Press. London.

Brawn, J. D. 2006. Effects of restoring oak savannas on bird communities and populations. Conservation Biology 20:460-469.

Breeding Bird Atlas Explorer. 2007. U. S. Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center & National Biological Information Infrastructure. Available from: Accessed: 6 November 2007. Data extracted from: Kleen, V. M., L. Cordle, and R. A. Montgomery. 2004. The Illinois Breeding Bird Atlas. Illinois Natural History Survey Special Publication No. 26. Champaign, IL.

Burhans, D. E., and F. R. Thompson. 2006. Songbird abundance and parasitism differ between urban and rural shrublands. Ecological Applications 16:394-405.

Burke, D. M., and E. Nol. 2000. Landscape and fragment size effects on reproductive success of forest-breeding birds in Ontario. Ecological Applications 10:1749-1761.

Butcher, G.S., and D.K. Niven. 2007. Combining data from the Christmas Bird Count and the Breeding Bird Survey to determine the continental status and trends of North American birds. National Audubon Society, New York NY. Available from: bird/stateofthebirds/CBID/report.php. Accessed 20 November 2007.

Butcher, G. S., D. K. Niven, A. O. Punjabi, D. N. Pashley, and K. V. Rosenberg. 2007. The 2007 Watchlist for United States Birds. American Birds 61:18-25.

Cimprich, D. A., and F. R. Moore. 1995. Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis). The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: Accessed: 1 June 2007.

Conway, C. J. 2005. Standardized North American Marsh Bird Monitoring Protocols. Wildlife Research Report #2005-04. U.S. Geological Survey, Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. Tucson, AZ.

Cutright, N. J., B. R. Harriman, and R. W. Howe. 2006. Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. Waukesha, WI.

de Magalhaes, J. P., J. Costa, and O. Toussaint. 2005. HAGR: the Human Ageing Genomic Resources. Nucleic Acids Research 33(Database Issue):D537-D543.

DeSante, D. F., M. P. Nott, and D. R. O'Grady. 2001. Identifying the proximate demographic cause(s) of population change by modeling spatial variation in productivity, survivorship, and population trends. ARDEA 89(special issue):185-208.

DeVore, S., S. Bailey, and G. Kennedy. 2004. Birds of Illinois. Lone Pine Publishing, Auburn, WA.

Donovan, T. M., P. W. Jones, E. M. Annand, and F. R. Thompson III. 1997. Variation in local-scale edge effects: mechanisms and landscape context. Ecology 78:2064-2075.

Fitzgerald, J. A., J. R. Herkert, and J. D. Brawn. 2000. Partners in Flight bird conservation plan for the Prairie Peninsula (Physiographic Area 31). Available from: plan/pl_31_10.pdf. Accessed: 10 October 2005.

Faaborg, J. 2002. Saving Migrant Birds: Developing Strategies for the Future. University of Texas Press, Austin, TX.

Galligan, E. W., T. L. DeVault, and S. L. Lima. 2006. Nesting success of grassland and savanna birds on reclaimed surface coal mines of the Midwestern United States. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 118:537-546.

Gowaty, P. A., and J. H. Plissner. 1998. Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: Accessed: 23 March 2008.

Greenlaw, J. S. 1996. Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: Accessed: 23 March 2008.

Hansen, J. H., R. L. Knight, J. M. Marzluff, S. Powell, K. Brown, P. H. Gude, and K. Jones. 2005. Effects of exurban development on biodiversity: patterns, mechanisms, and research needs. Ecological Applications 15:1893-1905.

Herkert, J. R., D. L. Reinking, D. A. Wiedenfeld, M. Winter, J. L. Zimmerman, W. E. Jensen, E. J. Finck, R. R. Koford, D. H. Wolfe, S. K. Sherrod, M. A. Jenkins, J. Faaborg, and S. K. Robinson. 2003. Effects of prairie fragmentation on the nest success of breeding birds in the Midcontinental United States. Conservation Biology 17:587-594.

Heske, E. J., S. K. Robinson, and J. D. Brawn. 2001. Nest predation and neotropical migrant songbirds: piecing together the fragments. Wildlife Society Bulletin 29:52-61.

[IESPB] Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board. 2006. Endangered and Threatened Species List. Available from: Accessed: 8 January 2008.

[IILCP] Illinois Interagency Landscape Classification Project. 2004. Land Cover of Illinois Statistical Summary, 1999-2000. Available from: index.htm. Accessed: 4 February 2008.

[INHS] Illinois Natural History Survey. 2006. Land Cover of Illinois in the Early 1800's. Available from: Accessed: 4 February 2008.

Imbeau, L, P. Drapeau, and M. Monkkonen. 2003. Are forest birds categorized as "edge species" strictly associated with edges? Ecography 26:514-520.

Johnson, D. H. 1979. Estimating nest success: The Mayfield method and an alternative. The Auk 96:651-661.

Johnson, R. G., and S. A. Temple. 1990. Nest predation and brood parasitism of tallgrass prairie birds. Journal of Wildlife Management 54:106-111.

Kleen, V. M., L. Cordle, and R. A. Montgomery. 2004. The Illinois Breeding Bird Atlas. Illinois Natural History Survey, Special Publication No. 26. Champaign, IL.

Levin, G. 2000. Restoration. In: Rice, T. and C. Warwick, eds., Illinois Natural History Survey Annual Report 1998-1999. Available from restor.html. Accessed on 2 September 2003.

Lowther, P. E., C. Celada, N. K. Klein, C. C. Rimmer and D. A. Spector. 1999. Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: bna/species/454. Accessed: 23 March 2008.

Martin, T. E. 1992. Breeding Productivity Considerations: What are the appropriate habitat features for management? In: J. M. Hagan III and D. W. Johnston, eds., Ecology and Conservation of Neotropical Migrant Landbirds. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington, DC.

Martin, T. E. 1995. Avian life history evolution in relation to nest sites, nest predation, and food. Ecological Monographs 65:101-127.

Martin, T. E., and G. R. Geupel. 1993. Nest monitoring plots: methods for locating nests and monitoring success. Journal of Field Ornithology 64:507-519.

McGarigal, K., and J. D. Fraser. 1985. Barred Owl responses to recorded vocalizations. The Condor 87:552-553.

McKay, K. J., and S. B. Hager. 2005. An assessment of avian richness and relative abundance at Green Wing Environmental Laboratory, Lee County, Illinois. Meadowlark 14:8-14.

Melvin, S. M., and J. P. Gibbs. 1996. Sora (Porzana carolina), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: Accessed: 23 March 2008.

[NCDC] National Climatic Data Center. 2008. Weather/Climate Events. Available from: Accessed: 22 March 2008.

Nol, E., C. M. Francis, and D. M. Burke. 2005. Using distance from putative sources woodlots to predict occurrence of forest birds in putative sinks. Conservation Biology 19:836-844.

[PWRC] Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. 2001. Instructions for Conducting the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Available from: ACCEPTABLE. Accessed: 24 January 2008.

[PWRC] Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. 2007. North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analyses. Available from: Accessed: 19 November 2007.

Poole, A., P. Stettenheim, and F. Gill, editors. 1992. The Birds of North America: Life Histories for the 21st Century. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C., Academy of Natural Sciences. Philadelphia, PA.

Rett, E. Z. 1946. An unusual nest of the White-throated Swift. The Condor 48:141.

Ritchison, G., P. M. Cavanagh, J. R. Belthoff, E. J. Sparks. 1988. The singing behavior of Eastern Screech-Owls: seasonal timing and response to playback of conspecific song. The Condor 90:648-652.

Robertson, R. J., B. J. Stutchbury and R. R. Cohen. 1992. Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: Accessed: 23 March 2008.

Rodewald, P. G., and R. D. James. 1996. Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: Accessed: 23 March 2008.

Sauer, J. R., J. E. Hines, and J. Fallon. 2007. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966 - 2006. Version 10.13.2007. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Laurel, MD.

Sibley, D. A. 2003. The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America. Knopf Publishing Group, New York.

Smith, C. R. 1990. Handbook for Atlasing North American Breeding Birds. Available from: Accessed: 22 January 2008.

Weeks, Jr., H. P. 1994. Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: Accessed: 23 March 2008.

Yasukawa, K., and W. A. Searcy. 1995. Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: Accessed: 17 December 2006.

Stephen B. Hager (1) *, Christopher R. Bertram (1), and Katie R. Derner (2)

(1) Department of Biology, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL 61201-2296

* corresponding author:

(2) Department of Geography, Augustana College, Rock Island, IL 61201-2296
Table 1. Abundance and comparison to Kleen et al. (2004) of
Confirmed breeders. Asterisks identify species not observed
during abundance surveys.

 in Kleen
Common Name Scientific Name Abundance et al.
Canada Goose Branta canadensis Common
Wood Duck Aix sponsa Common
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Fairly Common
Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus Rare
Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo Fairly Common X
Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus Rare *
Green Heron Butorides virescens Fairly Common X
Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii Rare X
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis Rare
American Kestrel Falco sparverius Rare *
Sora Porzana caroling Rare X
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus Abundant
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura Common
Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanus Fairly Common
Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus Rare *
Ruby-throated Archilochus colubris Rare X
Red-bellied Melanerpes carolinus Common X
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens Rare
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus Fairly Common X
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus Fairly Common
Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens Common X
Willow Flycatcher Empidonax traillii Rare
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe Rare * X
Great Crested Myiarchus crinitus Fairly Common
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus Fairly Common
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus Rare X
Yellow-throated Vireo flavifrons Fairly Common X
Warbling Vireo Vireo gilvus Fairly Common X
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus Common X
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata Common
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos Common
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor Common
Black-capped Poecile atricapillus Fairly Common
White-breasted Sitta carolinensis Fairly Common
House Wren Troglodytes aedon Common
Sedge Wren Cistothorus platensis Fairly Common X
Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustres Rare X
Blue-gray Polioptila caerulea Common X
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis Fairly Common
Veery Catharus fuscescens Fairly Common X
Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina Fairly Common X
American Robin Turdus migratorius Common
Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis Abundant
Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum Fairly Common
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris Common
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum Common
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia Abundant
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla Fairly Common X
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas Abundant
Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea Rare X
Eastern Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus Common X
Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina Common
Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla Common X
Lark Sparrow Chondestes grammacus Rare * X
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia Abundant
Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana Abundant X
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis Common
Rose-breasted Pheucticus ludovicianus Common X
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea Common
Dickcissel Spiza americana Fairly Common
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus Abundant
Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula Common
Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater Common
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula Fairly Common
American Goldonch Carduelis tristis Abundant
House Sparrow Passer domesticus Fairly Common

Table 2. Breeding codes of Confirmed breeders. See Appendix 1 for
definitions of Breeding Codes and Table 1 for scientific names.

 Breeding Codes

Common Name Singing Pair Territory

Canada Goose
Wood Duck P
Mallard P
Ring-necked Pheasant S T
Wild Turkey S
Northern Bobwhite S T
Green Heron
Cooper's Hawk P
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Sora S T
Killdeer S
Mourning Dove S P T
Yellow-billed Cuckoo S T
Great Horned Owl S T
Ruby-throated Hummingbird T
Red-bellied Woodpecker P
Downy Woodpecker P
Hairy Woodpecker P
Northern Flicker S P T
Eastern Wood-Pewee S P T
Willow Flycatcher S P T
Eastern Phoebe S P T
Great Crested Flycatcher S P T
Eastern Kingbird S P T
White-eyed Vireo S P T
Yellow-throated Vireo S P T
Warbling Vireo S P T
Red-eyed Vireo S P T
Blue Jay S T
American Crow
Tree Swallow P
Blackcapped Chickadee S T
White-breasted Nuthatch S P T
House Wren S T
Sedge Wren S T
Marsh Wren S P T
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher S P T
Eastern Bluebird S P T
Veery S T
Wood Thrush S T
American Robin S P T
Gray Catbird S P T
Brown Thrasher S P T
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing S
Yellow Warbler S T
Ovenbird S P T
Common Yellowthroat S P T
Scarlet Tanager S P T
Eastern Towhee S P T
Chipping Sparrow S P T
Field Sparrow S T
Lark Sparrow
Song Sparrow S T
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal S P T
Rose-breasted Grosbeak S P T
Indigo Bunting S P T
Dickcissel S P T
Red-winged Blackbird S P T
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird S P
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch S P T
House Sparrow P T

 Breeding Codes

Common Name Courtship Agitated Building

Canada Goose A
Wood Duck
Ring-necked Pheasant
Wild Turkey C
Northern Bobwhite
Green Heron
Cooper's Hawk C A
Red-tailed Hawk A
American Kestrel
Mourning Dove A
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Great Horned Owl
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker A
Downy Woodpecker A
Hairy Woodpecker A
Northern Flicker C
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Willow Flycatcher A
Eastern Phoebe A
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird A
White-eyed Vireo A
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo A
Red-eyed Vireo A
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow C
Blackcapped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren A
Sedge Wren A B
Marsh Wren A B
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird C A
Veery A
Wood Thrush A
American Robin A
Gray Catbird A
Brown Thrasher A
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow Warbler A
Ovenbird A
Common Yellowthroat A
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee A
Chipping Sparrow C A
Field Sparrow A
Lark Sparrow
Song Sparrow A
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal A
Rose-breasted Grosbeak A
Indigo Bunting A
Red-winged Blackbird C A
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird C
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

 Breeding Codes

 Carrying Distraction
Common Name Nesting Nest Building Display

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Ring-necked Pheasant
Wild Turkey DD
Northern Bobwhite
Green Heron
Cooper's Hawk DD
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Great Horned Owl
Ruby-throated Hummingbird CN
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker DD
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Willow Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird CN NB DD
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo CN NB
Warbling Vireo CN NB
Red-eyed Vireo CN NB DD
Blue Jay CN
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Blackcapped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren DD
Sedge Wren
Marsh Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher CN NB DD
Eastern Bluebird
Veery CN
Wood Thrush
American Robin CN NB
Gray Catbird CN
Brown Thrasher CN
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing CN
Yellow Warbler CN NB
Common Yellowthroat
Scarlet Tanager CN
Eastern Towhee DD
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Song Sparrow CN
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak CN
Indigo Bunting DD
Red-winged Blackbird CN DD
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole CN DD
American Goldfinch CN DD
House Sparrow CN NB

 Breeding Codes

 Used Occupied
Common Name Nest Nest Fledglings

Canada Goose ON
Wood Duck FL
Mallard FL
Ring-necked Pheasant UN FL
Wild Turkey FL
Northern Bobwhite FL
Green Heron FL
Cooper's Hawk FL
Red-tailed Hawk UN FL
American Kestrel ON FL
Killdeer FL
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo FIFL
Great Horned Owl FL
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker ON FL
Downy Woodpecker FL
Hairy Woodpecker FL
Northern Flicker FL
Eastern Wood-Pewee FL
Willow Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe FL
Great Crested Flycatcher FL
Eastern Kingbird
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo FL
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo FL
Blue Jay ON FL
American Crow FL
Tree Swallow ON FL
Blackcapped Chickadee FL
White-breasted Nuthatch ON
House Wren
Sedge Wren
Marsh Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher FL
Eastern Bluebird ON FL
Wood Thrush
American Robin ON FL
Gray Catbird FL
Brown Thrasher
European Starling FL
Cedar Waxwing FL
Yellow Warbler UN FL
Ovenbird FL
Common Yellowthroat FL
Scarlet Tanager FL
Eastern Towhee UN FL
Chipping Sparrow ON FL
Field Sparrow FL
Lark Sparrow
Song Sparrow FL
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal FL
Rose-breasted Grosbeak FL
Indigo Bunting FL
Dickcissel FL
Red-winged Blackbird FL
Common Grackle FL
Brown-headed Cowbird FL
Baltimore Oriole ON FL
American Goldfinch ON FL
House Sparrow UN

 Breeding Codes

 Fecal Feeding Nest
Common Name Sac Young Eggs

Canada Goose NE
Wood Duck
Ring-necked Pheasant
Wild Turkey NE
Northern Bobwhite
Green Heron
Cooper's Hawk FY
Red-tailed Hawk FY
American Kestrel
Sora FY
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo FY NE
Great Horned Owl
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker FY
Downy Woodpecker FY
Hairy Woodpecker FY
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee FY
Willow Flycatcher FY
Eastern Phoebe NE
Great Crested Flycatcher FY
Eastern Kingbird NE
White-eyed Vireo FY NE
Yellow-throated Vireo FY
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo FY
Blue Jay NE
American Crow
Tree Swallow FS FY NE
Blackcapped Chickadee FY
White-breasted Nuthatch FY
House Wren FY NE
Sedge Wren FY
Marsh Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher FY
Eastern Bluebird FY NE
Veery NE
Wood Thrush FY
American Robin FY NE
Gray Catbird FY NE
Brown Thrasher FY NE
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing FY NE
Yellow Warbler FY NE
Ovenbird FY
Common Yellowthroat FS FY
Scarlet Tanager FY
Eastern Towhee FY
Chipping Sparrow FY NE
Field Sparrow FY NE
Lark Sparrow FY NE
Song Sparrow FY
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal FY NE
Rose-breasted Grosbeak FY NE
Indigo Bunting FY NE
Dickcissel FY
Red-winged Blackbird FS FY NE
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird FY NE
Baltimore Oriole FY NE
American Goldfinch FY NE
House Sparrow FS FY NE

 Breeding Codes

Common Name Young

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Ring-necked Pheasant
Wild Turkey
Northern Bobwhite
Green Heron
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk NY
American Kestrel
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo NY
Great Horned Owl
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker NY
Downy Woodpecker NY
Hairy Woodpecker NY
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Willow Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe NY
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
White-eyed Vireo NY
Yellow-throated Vireo NY
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow NY
Blackcapped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Sedge Wren
Marsh Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird NY
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird NY
Brown Thrasher NY
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow Warbler NY
Common Yellowthroat
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee NY
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow NY
Lark Sparrow NY
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal NY
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird NY
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird NY
Baltimore Oriole NY
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow NY

Table 3. Abundance and breeding codes of Probable breeders.
Asterisks identify species not observed during abundance surveys.
See Appendix 1 for definitions of Breeding Codes.

 Breeding Codes

Common Name Scientific Name Abundance Singing

Least Bittern Ixobrychus exilis Rare * S
American Woodcock Scolopax minor Rare * S
Eastern Screech-Owl Megascops asio Rare * S
Barred Owl Strix varia Rare S
Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor Rare *
Whip-poor-will Caprimulgus vociferus Rare * S
Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica Rare S
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus Rare * S
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla Rare * S
Yellow-breasted Chat Icteria virens Rare * S
Vesper Sparrow Pooecetes gramineus Rare * S
Grasshopper Sparrow Ammodramus savannarum Rare S
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna Rare * S
Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius Rare * S

Common Name Pair Territory Courtship site Agitated

Least Bittern
American Woodcock T
Eastern Screech-Owl T
Barred Owl P T
Common Nighthawk C
Whip-poor-will T
Chimney Swift
Carolina Wren T
American Redstart T
Yellow-breasted Chat P T N A
Vesper Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow T
Eastern Meadowlark
Orchard Oriole T

Table 4. Abundance and breeding codes of Possible breeders and
species occasionally Observed in late May-July, but which do not
breed at GWEL. Asterisks identify species not observed during
abundance surveys. See Appendix 1 for definitions of Breeding

Classification Common Name Scientific Name

Possible Blue-winged Teal Anas discors
 Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
 Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
 American Coot Fulica americana
 Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis
 Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius
 Rock Pigeon Columba livia
 Black-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus erythropthalmus
 Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon
 Red-headed Woodpecker Melanerpes erythrocephalus
 Purple Martin Progne subis
 Northern Rough-winged Stelgidopteryx serripennis
 Bank Swallow Riparia riparia
 Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustics
 Northern Parula Parula americana
 House Finch Carpodacus mexicanos

Observed Green-winged Teal (a) Anas crecca
 Double-crested Phalacrocorax auritus
 Cormorant (a)
 Osprey (a) Pandion haliaetus
 Red-shouldered Hawk (a) Bateo lineatus
 Broad-winged Hawk Bateo platypterus
 Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
 Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria
 Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla
 Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
 Baud's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii
 Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi
 Yellow-bellied Empidonax flaviventris
 Alder Flycatcher Empidonax alnorum
 Least Flycatcher (a) Empidonax minimus
 Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus
 Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis
 Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus
 Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrina
 Nashville Warbler (a) Vermivora ruficapilla
 Magnolia Warbler Dendroica magnolia
 Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis
 Chestnut-sided Dendroica pensylvanica
 Warbler (a)
 Blackburnian Warbler Dendroica fasts
 Black-and-white Mniotilta varia
 Warbler (a)
 Mourning Warbler Oporornis philadelphia
 Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla
 Canada Warbler Wilsonia canadensis

Classification Common Name Abundance

Possible Blue-winged Teal Rare *
 Great Blue Heron Fairly Common
 Turkey Vulture Fairly Common
 American Coot Rare *
 Sandhill Crane Rare
 Spotted Sandpiper Common
 Rock Pigeon Rare
 Black-billed Cuckoo Rare *
 Belted Kingfisher Rare *
 Red-headed Woodpecker Rare *
 Purple Martin Rare *
 Northern Rough-winged Rare *
 Bank Swallow Fairly Common
 Cliff Swallow Rare *
 Barn Swallow Fairly Common
 Northern Parula Rare *
 House Finch Rare *

Observed Green-winged Teal (a) Rare *
 Double-crested Rare *
 Cormorant (a)
 Osprey (a) Rare *
 Red-shouldered Hawk (a) Rare *
 Broad-winged Hawk Rare *
 Semipalmated Plover Rare *
 Solitary Sandpiper Rare *
 Semipalmated Sandpiper Rare *
 Least Sandpiper Rare *
 Baud's Sandpiper Rare *
 Olive-sided Flycatcher Rare *
 Yellow-bellied Rare *
 Alder Flycatcher Rare *
 Least Flycatcher (a) Rare *
 Philadelphia Vireo Rare *
 Red-breasted Nuthatch Rare *
 Swainson's Thrush Rare *
 Tennessee Warbler Rare *
 Nashville Warbler (a) Rare *
 Magnolia Warbler Rare *
 Northern Waterthrush Rare *
 Chestnut-sided Rare *
 Warbler (a)
 Blackburnian Warbler Rare *
 Black-and-white Rare *
 Warbler (a)
 Mourning Warbler Rare *
 Wilson's Warbler Rare *
 Canada Warbler Rare *

(a) Speccies was judged as Observed because site does not contain
suitable habitat, but future work may describe it as a Possible
breeder or higher based on breeding range and behavior.

Table 5. Common names of brood-parasitized species observed in
2005-2007. Most of these data were gathered during Study 1;
parasitized nests of the Yellow Warbler and Tree Swallow were
documented in Study 3.

Brood Broods Broods
Parasite Species Parasitized Year(s) Parasitized Observed

Brown-headed White-eyed Vireo 2007 1 1
 Cowbird Yellow-throated 2006, 2007 3 3
 Red-eyed Vireo 2006 2 4
 Yellow Warbler 2007 1 2
 Common Yellowthroat 2007 1 4
 Eastern Towhee 2007 1 2
 Chipping Sparrow 2005, 2007 1 2
 Northern Cardinal 2007 2 7
 Indigo Bunting 2007 2 3
 House Sparrow 2005 2 2
Eastern Tree Swallow 2007 1 4

Table 6. Nest productivity for species monitored in Study 3.

 Nests observed #
Common Name (# successful) Offspring

Tree Swallow 4 (3) --
Eastern Bluebird 4 (4) --
Gray Catbird 24 (11) 35
Brown Thrasher 8 (2) --
Yellow Warbler 3 (1) --
Northern Cardinal 3 (0) --
Red-winged Blackbird 29 (4) 12


Common Name nest yr (a) fecundity

Tree Swallow -- -- --
Eastern Bluebird -- -- --
Gray Catbird 1.46 2.92 1.35
Brown Thrasher -- -- --
Yellow Warbler -- -- --
Northern Cardinal -- -- -- --
Red-winged Blackbird 0.41 0.83 1.62

Common Name ND (b) DNS (c) SE (d)

Tree Swallow 87 0.989 0.011
Eastern Bluebird 72 1 0
Gray Catbird 342.5 0.962 0.010
Brown Thrasher 93 0.935 0.025
Yellow Warbler 45.5 0.956 0.030
Northern Cardinal 31.5 0.905 0.052
Red-winged Blackbird 295 0.915 0.016

(a) Assuming 2 broods/yr (Martin 1995)

(b) Number of nest days observed

(c) Daily Nest Survival

(d) Standard Error
COPYRIGHT 2009 Illinois State Academy of Science
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Hager, Stephen B.; Bertram, Christopher R.; Derner, Katie R.
Publication:Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Science
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2009
Previous Article:Thermoregulation of male Elaphe spiloides in an agriculturally-fragmented forest in Illinois.
Next Article:Records of nine-banded armadillos, Dasypus novemcinctus, in Illinois.

Related Articles
Breeding ecology of radio-tagged White-winged Doves (Zenaida asiatica) in the Coastal Bend region of Texas.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |