Articles filed under Reiter, Jeff

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  • Early intervention can help protect birds with declining populations Jan 12, 2015 1:01 AM
    Last September, during a solo bird walk on his lunch hour, our Jeff Reiter spotted a wood thrush. It was the first one he’d seen in six years of birding at Cantigny Park in Wheaton and he felt incredibly lucky. There was a time when no luck was needed to see or at least hear a wood thrush, he says. But habitat loss has taken a toll. The total wood thrush population has fallen by more than half in the past 50 years, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Indeed, two recent reports confirm rough times for our feathered friends.

  • 2014’s top moments in suburban birding Dec 17, 2014 12:01 PM
    As 2014 draws to a close, there may still be a few bird sightings of note, but our Jeff Reiter is ready to look back on the birdwatching highlights of the year.

  • Early Peterson field guides still useful, inspiring to birders Nov 14, 2014 1:01 AM
    Roger Tory Peterson's original guide to eastern birds nurtured bird watching as a hobby and gave rise to today's field guides and instructional books, our Jeff Reiter says. "Like many birders, I still turn occasionally to the Peterson guide to eastern birds, including my replica version of the 1934 original," Reiter said. "But what I value most about Peterson today is his storytelling."

  • Carolina wrens appearing with increasing frequency in area yards Oct 20, 2014 8:06 PM
    Our Jeff Reiter says this has been a strange year in his backyard when it come to birds, but one highlight has been the appearance of the Carolina wren.

  • Why birding is the best hobby Sep 30, 2014 5:30 AM
    Not a bird watcher, you say? Well, our Jeff Reiter is out to convince you that birding is the hobby for you. Bird sightings happen anywhere and everywhere, whether you're looking out your kitchen window or are motivated to travel to an exotic locale to add species to your life list, he says. If he's right, Reiter just may persuade you to pick up a pair of binoculars.

  • Even ‘common’ birds are worth watching Aug 25, 2014 8:43 AM
    Our Jeff Reiter says bird watchers take great joy in finding unusual birds. But, he says, there's a lot to be learned from the more common members of the bird world, too.

  • Hackmatack refuge gives birders a chance to explore new territory Jul 28, 2014 11:01 AM
    If you like birding, you’ve probably heard something about Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, the newly established preserve that straddles the Illinois-Wisconsin border. Hackmatack is a wonderful opportunity for suburban birders to explore the first and only national wildlife refuge within 100 miles of Chicago.

  • Whistling ducks make rare appearance in Illinois Jun 5, 2014 12:33 PM
    Our Jeff Reiter says birders from across the region rushed to the backyard of a Yorkville couple this spring when nine black-bellied whistling ducks showed up. The ducks are extremely rare in Illinois, Jeff says.

  • Birders help protect species from ‘dark cloud’ of extinction May 16, 2014 12:19 PM
    The coming 100th anniversary of the death of the last passenger pigeon has our Jeff Reiter thinking about the number of endangered bird species and the changes he's seen in the number and types of birds he observes. "As we go about our birding lives, playing our listing games and chasing lifers, these realities hover in the background like a dark cloud," Reiter says. "It’s pretty obvious to avid birders that certain birds are in short supply around here."

  • Birders like Elsen’s Hill for spotting migrating warblers Apr 1, 2014 12:04 PM
    Spring migration is a wonderous time for birders as species that live in other parts can be spotted passing through our area between their summer and winter homes. One family to watch for is the wood-warblers, our Jeff Reiter says.

  • Companion makes Florida birding trip memorable Mar 10, 2014 12:52 PM
    Our Jeff Reiter spent a day birding in inland Florida near Lake Okeechobee. Sure, he saw some 60 types of birds, including a few for his life list - enough excitement to make the day memorable for any birder. But the day will always be special for the birding partner who accompanied Reiter on his day trip.

  • Big Days add excitement to the birding game Feb 19, 2014 6:01 AM
    Birding is a numbers game for those who wish to play it, says Words on Birds columnist Jeff Reiter. And Big Days, he says, are when birding and insanity come together.

  • Birders and anglers have more in common than either might think Jan 7, 2014 12:23 PM
    Our Jeff Reiter frequently spends a lot of time thinking about birds. But lately he's been giving some thought to fish, too, and the many similarities between birders and anglers.

  • Words on Birds: A look back at a phenomenal year Dec 17, 2013 8:17 AM
    Jeff Reiter looks back on the year in birding -- and baseball -- and shares some of his amazing discoveries.

  • Road trip adds nonnative species to life list Oct 14, 2013 8:53 AM
    Like many birders, our Jeff Reiter gets rankled by non-native species - especially birds that behave badly. Still, he couldn't resist a trip to see the Eurasian tree sparrow once he learned it could be found quite reliably in a nature preserve just south of Bloomington, Ill.

  • Field guide author helping to draw youth to birding Sep 8, 2013 6:00 AM
    From the perspective of our Jeff Reiter, the birding hobby appears healthy and growing. The bird walks and meetings he attends are usually well-populated, and membership in the DuPage Birding Club continues to rise. However, the USDA Forest Service reports that while birding continues to grow, the pace of growth has eased.

  • No love for the ill-mannered cowbird Aug 2, 2013 12:40 PM
    One of the most interesting birds around is also among the most disliked. I speak of the villainous brown-headed cowbird. Understandably, birders are critical of the cowbird, a brood parasite that deposits its eggs in other birds’ nests. This makes child-rearing difficult or worse for the host species.

  • Advice for birders: Go see Mississippi kite in Rockford Jul 9, 2013 10:51 AM
    Mississippi kites don't belong in Rockford, but for the sixth year running several of the birds are nesting in a neighborhood park in Rockford. Our Jeff Reiter says it's worth the trip to add the bird to your life list.

  • Though common, showy goldfinch sightings still thrill Jun 3, 2013 12:00 PM
    Our Jeff Reiter recently met a visitor from another country who was dazzled by the common American goldfinch. With their showy gold and black plumage, goldfinches can be found all over the country even by the most novice birders.

  • Sweet surprises keep birding fun and interesting May 28, 2013 12:00 PM
    In his first column, back in 2004, Jeff Reiter had the "Gumption" to say that birding is like a box of chocolates. It wasn't the most original thing to say, perhaps, but it still applies. April proved it, for Reiter and for lots of other eager watchers who worked around the rain and flooding. Nothing keeps birders inside during spring migration.

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