87 Bird Species Identified at Sam Shine Foundation Preserve

A summary by Matthias Benko

Matthias, a student at Indiana University, did some walking bird surveys at Sycamore’s Sam Shine Foundation Preserve in our Beanblossom Creek Conservation Area. “He didn’t start until May, so 87 species is really good,” said Chis Fox, Sycamore’s Land Stewardship Director. “Considering we missed most of the spring migration which we hope to capture this spring. The Mississippi kites were a great find and I saw them several times as well. The potentially breeding Blue Grosbeak is another good find along with all the sparrow species. Dickcissel and Yellow breasted chats are fun to see in the grasslands and so happy to have Meadowlarks in abundance in the old pastures.”  Below is Matthias’s summary.

Total Visits: 8
Total Hours Birded: 20
Total Species Recorded: 87

Birding the Sam Shine preserve was certainly one of the highlights of my 2021. Upon my first visit in May, I observed two Mississippi Kites, which likely were breeding in the vicinity of the preserve. During my visits in June, July, and August, I recorded breeding species on the property. Eastern Meadowlarks were a grassland species that I was happy to find while doing my surveys, as was Blue Grosbeak. I had observed a pair of them during most of my visits over the summer, and in August, I found what must have been a family group of 6 Blue Grosbeaks in the same spot.

During the migratory season, I saw a plethora of Tennessee Warblers in early fall, followed by an impressive number of sparrows in the late fall. In the early winter, Song and American Tree Sparrows were in the highest numbers, and I also found a lone Gadwall using the pond. A lone American Kestrel was not happy to have a Red-tailed Hawk in its hunting area, and I watched as our smallest falcon species drove one of our largest birds of prey out of sight.

Even without spring migration, I was able to record 87 species on the Shine SLT property this year. The species list is below:

Species List
Wood Duck
Wild Turkey
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Mississippi Kite
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Barred Owl
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
House Wren
Carolina Wren
European Starling
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Northern Mockingbird
Eastern Bluebird
Swainson’s Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Cedar Waxwing
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
American Tree Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
White-crowned Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Eastern Towhee
Yellow-breasted Chat
Eastern Meadowlark
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Common Grackle
Louisiana Waterthrush
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Kentucky Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Northern Cardinal
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting