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South Loop Yard A 'Magnet' For Migratory Birds Heading North

 Paul Wasserman has lots of cool birds in his South Loop yard.
Paul Wasserman
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CHICAGO — Paul Wasserman describes his South Loop yard as a "magnet for migratory birds."

Wasserman's U-shaped townhome complex shares a half-block-long grassy common area ringed by trees, which are primarily honey locusts. In May and June, when hundreds of thousands of birds migrate through Chicago, Wasserman's yard provides ample space for hundreds of species.

This year, for the first time he's seen Eastern bluebirds, plus lots of Baltimore and orchard orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, hummingbirds, red-bellied woodpeckers and many kinds of warblers.

"We see a significant sampling of what is passing through and get good looks sitting on our second-floor kitchen deck with binoculars and camera at hand," said Wasserman, a retired software developer who lives with his wife, Sue. "We can sit on the deck doing other things and still enjoy the best of migration."

Wasserman, a Lane Tech and University of Illinois graduate who has lived in the South Loop since 1998, has been an avid birder and photographer for decades. He has a few feeders, including one filled with sunflower seeds. Wasserman and his neighbors also stick oranges onto metal fence posts. The fruits are prime attractants for orioles and grosbeaks.

"It is also nice to see that some of our neighbors who weren’t necessarily interested in the birds before have gained an interest," Wasserman said.

Check out some of the amazing bird photos Wasserman captured in the slideshow above.