Marsh Birds

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has surveyed 23 wetlands in 14 preserves for more than 30 species of marsh birds. It has focused especially on endangered, threatened and uncommon birds, such as the yellow-headed blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus), black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) and American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus). District ecologists conduct surveys during June and July using taped recordings of specific breeding birds and record the number of birds based on visual or audio confirmation.

Great Blue Herons And Their Rookeries

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

The great blue heron has long legs, a long neck and a daggerlike bill and stands about 4 feet tall. It has a gray blue body with white around the head. It is often mistaken for a crane, but the great blue heron flies with its neck folded in while cranes fly with their necks stretched out. This heron is commonly seen stalking prey — fish, turtles, frogs, snakes and crayfish — in the shallows of wetlands.

During the breeding season, great blue herons build large stick nests high in the trees, sometimes several nests in one area, which is known as a “rookery.” Great blue heron rookeries are located at various forest preserves in DuPage County, including Danada in Wheaton, Winfield Mounds in Winfield and Churchill Woods in Glen Ellyn.

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