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Articles filed under Reiter, Jeff

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  •  Every day through November, observers at Greene Valley Forest Preserve document the migrating hawks, eagles, falcons and vultures.

    October is a good time to maximize your birding Oct 15, 2012 12:00 AM
    Too busy for birding? Lately it has felt that way for our Jeff Reiter. In September he attended only two organized bird walk but plans to make amends in October. There is so much to see this month, including brown creepers, fox sparrows and, yes, even yellow-bellied sapsuckers. He says he'll feel like a sapsucker if he misses any more of the autumn spectacle now upon us.

  •  Sightings of evening grosbeak, a large finch, are rare in the Chicago region. This male was photographed this summer in Grayling, Michigan.

    Vacation, birding go hand in hand Aug 13, 2012 12:00 AM
    Roll your eyes and turn the page if you must, it's time for the annual "what I did on my summer vacation" column by our Jeff Reiter. It's in his DNA: he travels, he watches birds, he takes notes. This time, the Pacific Northwest, in late June and early July. Some pre-trip research suggested it was not the "birdiest" time of the year to visit the region, but visiting some new avian scenery is always fun.

  •  Catbirds spend most of their time in dense thickets, but their weakness for grape jelly can draw them into the open.

    For birders, the beauty’s in the find not the flash Jul 14, 2012 12:00 AM
    True birders know it's not all about color and flash. Some of our favorite birds may appear rather plain, but they possess other qualities that make them appealing. Our Jeff Reiter has always liked the catbird. It's gray. And with a little jelly in his backyard bird feeder, he has had the chance to see this beauty up close.

  •  Bloomingdale birders Graham Deese, left, and his brother, Henrey, have seen nearly 500 species. Their life list will grow this month in Colorado.

    Bloomingdale brothers part of youth birding movement Jun 7, 2012 12:00 AM
    Our Jeff Reiter says it is rare indeed to find two teenagers who are nuts about birds and birding. The Deese brothers - Graham, 17, and Henrey, 14 - fit that description. Given the choice of watching warblers or TV, these kids will take the birds every time.

  •  Two male greater prairie chickens face off and prepare for battle, with tails and neck feathers erect.

    Greater prairie chickens still pecking in Southern Illinois Apr 23, 2012 12:00 AM
    Jeff Reiter says he's always wanted to visit downstate Newton to see the mating dance of the prairie chicken. When he finally got his chance, he wasn't disapppointed. Sitting in a blind for three hours, he witnessed the males strutting their stuff to impress the females. Unfortunately, the greater prairie chickens numbers are dwindling.

  •  Colorful migrants, like this magnolia warbler, are ticketed for early arrival this spring.

    April is the new May for birders Apr 2, 2012 12:00 AM
    Area birders are used to turning their attention to the sky in May to catch the annual spring migrations. But if you wait that long this year, our Jeff Reiter says you might miss the whole show.

  •  Gull-spotting can be intimidating to even dedicated birders, but Jeff Reiter is determined to overcome his fears by checking out the gulls on Chicago’s lakefront, like the adult Thayer’s gull spotted in Diversey Harbor in February. The ducks are common goldeneyes.

    It takes a patient birder to identify gulls Mar 20, 2012 12:00 AM
    Enjoying gulls is either an acquired taste or acquired illness, depending upon whom you ask, our Jeff Reiter says. Dedicated gull watchers occupy an extreme niche inside the birding world that few dare to enter. Those who do are fearless, patient and usually highly intelligent. They seem to thrive on problem solving. Then theres the rest of us.

  • The common redpoll is a rare and coveted backyard visitor. This one dined at a Hinsdale feeder last month.

    Common redpoll is anything but the norm in Northern Illinois Feb 4, 2012 12:00 AM
    Bird names can be misleading, our Jeff Reiter says. Take the red-bellied woodpecker, whose pinkish underparts are one of its least conspicuous field marks. The common redpoll, because of its name, is a species that might be dismissed by new birders. “Common” birds just aren’t very exciting, right? Well, what’s common and what isn’t depends on where you live. Around here, redpolls are a rare winter visitor.

  • Subscribers to IBET emails are among the first to know when a cool bird visits our region, such as this snowy owl at Chicago’s Montrose Beach.

    Online community an invaluable aid to Illinois birdersJan 4, 2012 12:00 AM
    Most of us jump at the opportunity to see a species for the first time, especially if it’s a bird uncommon to our region. The key is knowing the what, when and where. Our Jeff Reiter says an online community known as IBET alerts birders to notable sightings and other useful information.

  • This sage thrasher, seen by hundreds of excited birders, was the first in Lincoln Park since 1940.

    A birder’s news, notes and observations from a very 'big year'Dec 10, 2011 12:00 AM
    Jeff Reiter's shares his notes and observations on the year in birding. From a major motion picture about the avian hobby to exciting sightings, he shares the ups and downs of birdwatching.

  •  Want to see a wild turkey this month? St. James Farm and Cantigny Park are good places to look.

    October journal reveals the daily joys of birding Nov 14, 2011 12:00 AM
    “The Big Year,” a feature film about birding, wasn’t the only thing birdy about October. For chirping out loud, the Cardinals even won the World Series. For our Jeff Reiter, the month was defined by a string of short but satisfying bird encounters that reminded me it’s the seasonality — and the little surprises — that make birding so rewarding.

  • Jack Black, left, portrays underdog Greg Miller in a yearlong bird spotting competition in the movie “The Big Year,” opening Oct. 14. Miller served as a consultant on the movie (and makes a cameo in his red Ohio State cap) and says he thinks the movie will draw people into the hobby.

    Birding goes Hollywood in ‘The Big Year' Oct 3, 2011 12:00 AM
    “The Big Year” is an upcoming movie based on a true story that our Jeff Reiter says is sure to capture the attention of birders and nonbirders alike. Is America ready for this, a mainstream Hollywood movie about an over-the-top, 365-day birding competition? We'll soon find out.

  •  Young birders may be rarer than a mockingbird in Illinois, Jeff Reiter says, but they’re certainly enthusiastic.

    Birders can help kids take an interest in hobby Sep 19, 2011 12:00 AM
    Our Jeff Reiter believes kids and birds are a good fit. It’s fun to see kids get excited about sights and sounds most of us take for granted, he says. The key is to keep them interested by offering more opportunities for birding and steady encouragement as they explore the hobby.

  • Common nighthawks are masters of disguise when sitting still but easily recognized in flight. Only the male has a white throat.

    Watch for spectacle of migrating nighthawksAug 12, 2011 12:00 AM
    Our Jeff Reiter loves telling new birders about the nighthawk because often it's an unfamiliar bird, yet it's easily observed. Now through early September is the peak viewing time. Go outside around dusk and with patience you are almost certain to see a common nighthawk. With luck, you might see a large flock.

  •  American white pelicans cruise over the field during a minor-league baseball game.

    Birders find baseball fields ideal spots Jul 12, 2011 12:00 AM
    Jeff Reiter's baseball trip through Missouri and Iowa provides a perfect opportunity to sneak in a little birding. And, no, we don't mean just watching Albert Pujols and the Cardinals.

  •  Today’s birders are spoiled by the abundance of high-quality field guides, Jeff Reiter says. He recommends you consider owning at least two: one with illustrations and one with photos.

    You might need another field guide Jun 13, 2011 12:00 AM
    Birders Don and Lillian Stokes have published a new national field guide filled with photos of birds, including many in flight. The guide is a useful reference, especially when paired with an illustrated guide, Jeff Reiter says.

  •  This great-horned owl, an improbable daytime sighting, easily won “bird of the day” honors during a recent hike at Cantigny Park in Wheaton.

    Cantigny bird-watching expedition a hoot May 31, 2011 12:00 AM
    St. Charles Cub Scouts who went on a bird-watching expedition at Cantigny Park got a pleasant and highly unusual surprise.

  • Feeders, birdbaths and bird-friendly plantings will increase specie varieties on your property.

    Reiter: Find interesting birds in your own yard Apr 11, 2011 12:00 AM
    Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of birding — at home and away from home. Yard birding and field birding. Like most birders, I enjoy them both. Today's column is about the backyard, where many of us spend the majority of our bird-watching minutes and hours. On busy days, just a glance at the feeders is better than no birding at all.

  • Florida scrub-jay is the Sunshine State's only endemic species. The decline in scrub habitat threatens its survival.

    DuPage man adds Florida bird to life list Mar 28, 2011 12:00 AM
    A day after the big blizzard in February, I did the sensible thing and flew to Miami. It was a preplanned trip to visit my parents in Key Largo. There would be some golf, a Super Bowl party and, of course, plenty of amazing birds.

  • A yellow-rumped warbler in winter is always a nice find. This one appeared at Cantigny Park Dec. 18.

    Reiter: Winter birding offers own rewards Jan 5, 2011 12:00 AM
    It wasn’t a Christmas Count bird — a few days late for that. It wasn’t a “lifer” either. But it was a bird I’d been waiting to see for a long time. Almost 11 years, in fact. My last column, you might recall, featured a fine photo of a Northern shrike. I included it on a shortlist of birds that I’d only observed once and longed to see again. Turns out my wish came true a lot sooner than expected.

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