The Prospect Heights Natural Resources Commission announced the sighting of an endangered osprey bird at the Prospect Heights slough during a local bird walk co-sponsored with the Prospect Heights Park District Saturday, Sept. 9.
The osprey -- also called sea hawk, river hawk, and fish hawk -- is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey.
Prospect Heights is quickly becoming a destination for birders due to the restoration efforts of the Natural Resources Commission at the Prospect Heights Slough.
"The Resources Commission has transformed the degraded wetland over the last three-and-a-half years into a vital wetland on its way back and, with it, a wide array of birds not previously recorded at the slough," Bird Conservation Network past President Mary Lou Mellon stated in a news release.
"The increase in native vegetation and the nearly complete removal of invasive species has turned the slough into a joy to see during all seasons," she said. "Wildlife, and particularly bird life, continue to thrive and delight. Every time we go out we find something new and pleasurable to enjoy."
The Natural Resources Commission partners with the Prospect Heights Park District to sponsor annual spring and fall bird walks at the slough led by Mary Lou Mellon and Lee Ramsey of the Bird Conservation Network.
"On this last week's walk, a circling, kiting (hovering) and diving osprey put on a great show for us," Mellon said.
"On previous walks, we found nesting swallows, diving kingfishers, numerous great blue herons, great egrets, sandpipers and several beautiful wood ducks who live on the slough."
"This place is like Disneyland," said wildlife photographer and local resident David Ludwin.
Several residents still recall the numerous visits by a bald eagle that spent time at the northern part of the slough fishing late last year.
"Osprey are on the state endangered list, as are the black-crowned night herons," said PHNRC Chairwoman Agnes Wojnarski. "There are a few efforts to reestablish them as a breeding species in Illinois, so it is encouraging to see one foraging here at the slough."
For details on local prairies, as well as on the commission and its upcoming events, including volunteer activity days, visit www.phnrc.com.