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Now's The Time To Spot Nesting Birds In Chicago (But Don't Get Too Close)

By Justin Breen | April 13, 2017 5:14am | Updated on April 14, 2017 10:16am

WICKER PARK — What says spring in Chicago more than a robin's nest full of blue eggs?

But robins aren't the only birds nesting and raising their young in the city right now. There are hundreds of thousands of birds that will hatch within city limits in the coming weeks.

Nesting birds use each Chicago neighborhood in unique ways, finding green space in Wicker Park, Humboldt Park, Douglas Park and other city parks, but also laying eggs on city skyscrapers, in buildings, near CTA tracks and abandoned properties. Even Navy Pier will have a nesting goose or two this time of year.

Here's where you might see nesting birds throughout Chicago (although you shouldn't disturb them as nesting birds can be quite ornery, for obvious reasons). The information is provided by "Birds of the Windy City," a comprehensive report released by former Mayor Richard Daley in 2009.

Woodlands and savannas: "You may find a very noisy hole in a tree, the nest of one of our five local woodpecker species. Bright blue indigo buntings, mournful sounding peewees and sky-dancing woodcocks are some other birds that nest in Chicago’s open woodlands. The Cooper’s hawk nests here as well."

City neighborhoods: "Common birds that nest in parks and yards include cardinals in dense shrubbery, house wrens in bird houses and mourning doves in trees."

Skyscrapers: "Two species that traditionally nest on cliffs: the peregrine falcon and one of its favorite foods, the pigeon. House sparrows and starlings also like to nest in man-made nooks and crannies."

Wetlands: "Ducks, shorebirds, rails, grebes and egrets nest and raise young in the wetlands."