Local News

Homewood Bird Day: Will Homewood be the next Bird City?

Homewood will enjoy its second annual World Migratory Bird Day celebration on May 11 with events and activities for all ages. The event is scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon at the Izaak Walton Preserve.

The community of Homewood is on a mission to add a new feather to its cap by seeking the Bird City designation. The annual World Migratory Bird Day is part of these efforts.

“I learned about the program when I attended a meeting with the Audubon Council of Illinois,” Homewood resident Pat Andersen said. Andersen is a member of the local group Thorncreek Audubon.

The Bird City program recognizes municipalities that demonstrate a commitment to the conservation and protection of bird populations and their habitats. The main goal is to build support for bird-friendly policies and activities.

“The Bird City program is modeled after the National Arboretum Tree City Designation. It was started in 2009 in Wisconsin,” Andersen said. “Since then, a number of other states have instituted their own. Illinois Audubon established their program in 2022. I immediately thought Homewood would be perfect for this.”

Andersen explained that municipalities seeking the designation must meet nine action items to be considered. “Homewood meets 24 of them,” she said. “I am confident we will be certified. There are many different groups within the community whose ongoing programs make this possible.”

Andersen credited the Village of Homewood, Izaak Walton Preserve, Homewood Science Center, The Homewood Tree Committee, Homewood Public Works Department, Homewood-Flossmoor Park District, Thorn Creek Audubon, Boy Scout Troop 342, Homewood Green Thumb Saturdays and Ravisloe Country Club as integral organizations in the effort to get Homewood recognized as a Bird City. The work they were already doing helped Homewood’s application.

Supporting this initiative, Rich Hofeld, Homewood’s mayor, recently proclaimed World Migratory Bird Day, with the village board passing a resolution in favor of the Bird City designation. Because all of the criteria have been met and then some, Andersen said they will be waiting to hear back from Audubon Illinois and expecting good news as they celebrate World Migratory Bird Day. The event helps the village meet one of the program’s requirements.

Themed “Protect Insects, Protect Birds,” organizers invite community members to celebrate and learn more about birds at the Bird Day celebration. The day is packed with children’s arts, crafts and games, including an opportunity to build a bughouse. A local bird and insect photography exhibit will showcase the region’s biodiversity.

On the morning of the May 11 event, bird lovers of all ages can embark on a bird-watching tour with Thorn Creek Audubon. The tour will be followed by an educational session on “Dragonflies & Damselflies of Northern Illinois” by Jim Phillips from Cook County Forest Preserve District. After that, Chicago Bird Alliance’s John Elliott will educate attendees with his talk “Birds Need Bugs,” emphasizing the symbiotic relationship between avian species and their insect diet.

The event promises ongoing family-friendly guided bird walks. Participants are encouraged to bring their binoculars, but spotting scopes and children’s binoculars will also be available.

Andersen said that efforts to help migratory birds can start at home. Established native plants provide food and habitat for birds and attract native insects, which are equally important to native ecosystems. Residents should plant more native species and limit insecticide and herbicide use.

“We should dim lights for birds at night,” Andersen said. “Birds often migrate in the dark, and bright lights may confuse them. They may crash into buildings and get injured, or get attracted to the lights and become exhausted.” Andersen urges community members to turn off any unnecessary lights at night.

Visit the Thorn Creek Audubon Society to learn more about birding and bird conservation in Homewood.

News by email

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Free weekly newsletter

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Most read stories this week