Indigo bunting oasis!

If you were an Indigo Bunting where we you go in Summer? Unless your first answer was Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve in Chicago then you clearly don’t know the minds of Indigo Buntings. This diverse and sometimes rugged landscape includes dense woods of oak and pine, a generous number of ponds and cattail marshes, a prairie, a small waterfall, and an overlook of the Des Plaines River.
Honestly, prior to my arrival at Waterfall Glen I had no idea that my quick hike would result in my seeing somewhere in the 40-50 (at least) range of Indigo Buntings – most of them bright blue males. Don’t get me wrong I’m NOT complaining, it actually knocked my socks off. The whole park literally reverberated (10 point word?) with Indigo Buntings ALL over the place. At one point I could see 5 males singing from the tree tops at the same time – crazy. I also saw females and males building nests. It struck me as a little late, but the Chicago area may be a little later than NJ. I also saw other regulars of the forest and grasslands such as Flicker, Black bird, Gnatcatchers, Waxwings, Robins, Towhee etc.

The strangest part of the hike was seeing a Chickadee grab a MASSIVE caterpillar and munch it! This was the first time that I have seen a chickadee hunting and eating caterpillars and at first I was too stunned to take a picture. After a few seconds of watching with my mouth wide open I snapped a few pics but unfortunately the Chickadee had finished its meal – DAMN!

I would highly recommend checking out Water Glenn but do yourself a favor make SURE that you spray LOTS of bug spray. I was literally eaten alive by mosquitoes!

American Robin - Yummy!

Male Indigo Bunting - Posing

Male Indigo Bunting - Posing

Female Indigo Bunting building a nest. The nest was located in a tiny little bush at the edge of foot path - only about 2 feet off the ground.

Immature male Indigo bunting building a nest. When do these males get their full coloring? Is this a fledged male helping with a second brood - Any ideas?


Amy said...

Wow, that sounds like a great place! We've been looking for something to do this weekend, and the possibility of seeing tons of Indigo Buntings sounds like an excellent outing. Which part of the park did you visit?

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Those photos are PERFECT!!!

And speaking from the bug-free comfort of my living room, I think it was entirely worth your braving the mosquitoes.


Owlman said...

Hi Amy,

I followed the main trail from the trailhead parking lot. It was about 2.5 miles and then it crosses over a main road. I followed that down another mile or so and then headed back. Please make sure to look out for all the mulberry trees - I saw a large number of birds in these. Definitely worth a visit. I failed to mention that the grassland also provided some great looks at Common Yellowthroats!


Thanks a lot. I still have major MAJOR bite marks all over me. In hindsight it was well worth it though.

Thanks for popping in!

Amy said...

w00t! Went to Waterfall Glen, saw Indigo Buntings, had fun & blogged it! Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Your last picture is actually a female with quite a bit of blue plumage building a nest. This probably means she is older than the female pictured above her. Females can vary in the amount of blue they have on their wing coverts and tail.