We All Should Vote Yes for the Forest Preserves of Cook County

For Cook County residents, here's an incredibly easy way to help fight climate change and support biodiversity. A slightly different version was published in the   Oak Park Wednesday Journal on October 18, 2022. At the beginning of the 20th century, a group of farsighted people had the novel idea to create the Cook County Forest Preserves system, the first of its kind in the country. It was a daunting task to plan, persuade people, and get laws through the legislature. Only then did the real work begin of purchasing and managing vast acreage, developing public programs, and conserving biodiversity while catering to humans. None of this was easy. Starting with an initial purchase of 500 acres in 1916, today the FPDCC comprises 70,000 acres of natural and recreational areas stretching from Lake-Cook Road south to Steger Road. Consequently, Cook County, home to over 5 million people, can also boast that it’s the most biodiverse county in the state.  In this time of global warming, en

American Goldfinches, Right on Schedule

When the purple coneflowers bloom, the goldfinches show up. They're cool that way.

The last couple of days I've been wondering when they'd appear. This morning when I finished my writing stint, I went out on the back porch to drink a cup of coffee and indulge in what I call thinking and my beloved family calls "there's mom, staring at the plants again"--and there they were, a male and female sitting on the coneflowers, eating the seeds. They also like sunflowers, milkweed, native thistles, and bee balm. They'll come to a feeder to eat nyger and sunflower seeds. A bird at a feeder is good, but a bird on a flower is excellent. It means the garden is bioregion-appropriate.

The males turn bright yellow during mating season. The females are a dull yellow year round and the males revert in October. They are fairly common and live in the Chicago area all year, but somehow I don't notice them until they make their flashy presence known in late June.

The Cornell Ornithology Lab Website All About Birds, where I got the photo, is a great place to learn more.

Comments

ginny said…
I love goldfinches but haven't seen them in my garden. I have purple coneflowers, a nyger seed feeder, and a feeder full of black oil sunflower seed. I also have bee balm. Maybe one day they'll show up - meanwhile I enjoy the house finches, nuthatches, cardinals, titmice, chickadees, wrens, doves, and others. I agree - a bird on a plant is much better than one at the feeder!
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the goldfinch thoughts.
How big a pot does it take to grow coneflowers or bee balm?
Mom