CBS 2 Chicago wbbm7801059 670 The Score


Annual Winter Bird Count Makes Rare Find For This Time Of Year

miller250 Steve Miller
Steve Miller is an investigative reporter and has been with Newsradio...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Birders out yesterday for Chicago’s Christmas lakefront bird count documented a few unusual sightings.

A double-crested cormorant was spotted near Navy Pier, sitting on the ice next to a patch of open water.

“Which is a bird that’s abundant in summer in the Chicago area, but it’s very rare in winter. Almost all of them go much further south in winter,” said Josh Engel, a research assistant at the Field Museum.

Engel has been taking part in the Christmas lakefront bird count since 1995 – when he was 13.

He says the cormorant sighting was exciting.

“They’re fish-eaters so they need to have some open water where they can swim and dive under the water to catch fish,” he said. “Double-crested cormorants have in recent years became a little less unusual in winter, probably because we’ve had warmer winters. But we were surprised to see one yesterday, when it’s been such a cold, cold winter.”

Engel says the birders also saw four snowy owls – three of them way out on ice in the lake – most likely, he says, where they’d been hunting ducks.