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Warm October Morning

October 10, 2020

Today I went to Jackson Park again. Every Saturday at 8 a.m. an expert bird guide leads a “bird walk” there. I encourage anyone to go when they can! Everyone wears masks to be safe.

We had a good morning, with about 10 birders and many more birds. We had good sightings of a belted kingfisher and some wood ducks. We also saw some nice white-throated sparrows and a ruby-crowned kinglet. The ruby-crowned kinglet is a little gray bird that initially seems unremarkable. But it has a bright red crown that it occasionally flashes. What is usually drab can erupt into a cool display of color.

Our group spent some time in the Japanese Garden on Wooded Island, which has a long history dating back to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. The Japanese Garden was put there as a gift by the Japanese government; the garden was a part of the many international installations for the fair. Much grander than it is today, the garden heavily influenced the famous Chicago architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The garden remained for many years until it was burned down right after WWII, when anti-Japanese sentiment was high. Its caretaker before the war was also held in an internment camp for most of the war. However, the garden eventually was rebuilt with the help of people like Yoko Ono and Chicago’s sister city Osaka, Japan. Yoko Ono’s first permanent art installation in the US, called Skylanding, is right outside the garden. Today the Osaka Garden is a great place for migratory birds.

The weather was great today and the birds were still out even as we head into mid-October. Hopefully I can still continue to see them as the weather gets colder! We will not have many more this warm in Chicago.


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