Baker’s Lake Bird Count

Canoeing to the island.

Canoeing to the island. Photo by Diane Bodkin

Jim Bodkin from Citizens for Conservation (CFC); Robert Sliwinski, Senior Wildlife Biologist from Christopher Burke Engineering, and Tom Benjamin, also from Citizens for Conservation paddle a canoe around Barrington’s Baker’s Lake Island Rookery  to complete the annual nesting count of herons, egrets, and cormorants.

Black-crowned Night Herons

Black-crowned Night Herons. Photo by Jim Bodkin

Four Black-crowned Night Heron nests were observed.  These timid herons find safe homes in cut out areas of the Christmas trees. Before 1990 the Black-crowned Night Herons population ranged between150-200.  Sliwinski reports the populations of all birds are down from that of 2013. There are about 300 nests this year. Cormorants have taken over many of the nesting areas.

Nesting platforms

Nesting platforms. Photo by Diane Bodkin

The utility poles and platforms were a joint project erected in 2000, engineered by Robert Sliwinski of Christopher Burke Engineering. Other partners in the half million dollar project were: Illinois Nature Preserves, Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Will County Forest Preserve District, Landscape Resources Inc, Brookfield Zoo, Wisconsin District of Natural Resources, Commonwealth Edison, Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, and the Village of Barrington. Sliwinski states the utility poles are strong, but several platforms with cross bars and cantilever arms for nests will need significant repairs. In Sliwinski’s formal report his recommendations include repairing the support arms, moving the special prototype nesting platforms up to the highest level to encourage the Great Blue Herons, and adding more platforms. He also suggested continuing the Christmas tree program along the shoreline to encourage the nesting egrets and creating more nesting spot cut outs in the Christmas trees to encourage more Black-crowned Night Herons.