2021 Summary of Preserve Birding Activity

The Lakeshore Nature Preserve hosted 197 species of birds during 2021, providing a rich experience for recreational birders, students and researchers. With its wide variety of habitats: woodland, old field, prairie, wetland and lake, the Preserve is an important stop-over for migrating song birds and waterfowl, as well as habitat for year-round and summer breeding species. View a list of avian species observed in the Preserve during 2021.

The large number of bird observations made in the Preserve over the year, combined with citizen-science reporting via Cornell University’s eBird, provides a detailed and comprehensive view of bird activity. For example, these observations show the arrival and departure dates of several of the New World Warblers (Parulidae) that migrate through the preserve in spring and fall, stopping long enough to feed. Also shown is the Yellow Wabler (Setophaga petechia), a summer resident that has been observed breeding in the Preserve.

Cornell University – eBird

The shores of Lake Mendota, and especially University Bay are also important stop-overs for migrating waterfowl. While the ever-popular Tundra and Trumpeter Swans arrive in late fall to feed for weeks and are seen by hundreds of birders and the public, less well known are are species like the Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) with flocks of five hundred or more stopping on the Bay for a day or two in early December as they migrate south. Also rarely seen are species like the American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) seen feeding at the mouth of Willow Creek.

Throughout the Lakeshore Nature Preserve, even a casual observer is likely to see unusual bird activity such as this from 2021: a Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) sunning in a treetop along the main entrance to Picnic Point; an immature Barred Owl (Strix varia) recently emerged from it’s nest in Bill’s Woods; Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) competing for nest space near the Biocore Prairie.