The snow and ice storm just after Thanksgiving delivered a chilly American bittern
to Diane Swaim's yard in Aurora.
Waterbirds like the American bittern
and pied-billed grebe may skip their southbound migrations and winter in Maine instead.
During breeding season, a large assortment of species nest on the area, including waterfowl--such as mallard and wood duck, and several state-listed species, including least bittern (threatened), pied-billed grebe (threatened), American bittern
(special concern), northern harrier (threatened), and sedge wren (threatened).
belted kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon) L., green heron (Butorides virescens virescens) L., great blue heron (Ardea herodias herodias) L., American bittern
Because secretive marsh birds are difficult to detect without the use of broadcast calls (Conway and Gibbs 2011), standardized broadcast surveys should be used to estimate numbers of breeding birds such as Virginia Rail, probable nesters such as American Bittern
, and species rarely detected during the breeding season, such as Sora.
The two plots of land, both about 2-1/2 acres, will be restricted from change, preserving the rural look of the area and providing protection to two endangered species on the property: the Blanding's turtle and the American bittern
, a wading bird in the heron family.
Among the more rare sightings: a flame-headed, yellow-bodied western tananger; a secretive Virginia rail, denizen of marshes; and an American bittern
, a heron much less easy to spot than the ubiquitous great blue.
The vision I still have going back to the 1930s is of what looked like bedraggled miniature badger pushing a supine American bittern
along on the surface of a local pond until it could be reached by a boyhood buddy.
From hiking trails, observation decks and driving routes, visitors can see many species of waterfowl, Great Blue Herons, Anhingas, wading birds, Prothonotary Warbler, Bobolink and American Bittern
Taxon Total Percent Pied-billed Grebe 2,023 2.4 American White Pelican 1 <0.1 Cormorants 5,004 6.0 Anhinga 43 0.1 American Bittern
13 <0.1 Least Bittern 5 <0.1 Great Blue Heron 889 1.1 Great Egret 8,328 10.0 Snowy Egret 15,093 18.1 Little Blue Heron 11,167 13.4 Tricolored Heron 661 0.8 Reddish Egret 1 <0.1 Green Heron 89 0.1 Black-crowned Night-Heron 525 0.6 Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 1,406 1.7 White Ibis 8,850 10.6 Dark Ibis 4,492 5.9 Roseate Spoonbill 162 0.2 Wood Stork 175 0.2 Geese 8 <0.1 Ducks 6,514 7.8 Sora 92 0.1 Common Moorhen 4 <0.1 American Coot 10,007 12.0 Shorebirds ** 2,361 2.8 Gulls 2,927 3.5 Terns 1,802 2.2 Belted Kingfisher 243 0.3 * Total number observed was 83,335 birds.
Four of these species, the American Bittern
, Least Bittern, Black-crowned Night-Heron, and Black Tern, are listed among Indiana's endangered species (Buskirk 1993).
Other notable finds: American bittern
, black-crowned night heron, northern pintail, ruddy duck, black tern, whip-poor-will, yellow-bellied flycatcher, bobolink and vesper sparrow.