Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Illinois
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Bird Notes
Nature Bulletin No. 67   May 25, 1946
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
Clayton F. Smith, President
Roberts Mann, Superintendent of Conservation

The golden bloom of a dandelion is succeeded by a white ball of fluff -- actually composed of many little parachutes, each a gossamer tuft anchored by a small oblong seed stuck in a pincushion-like knob on the top of the flower stem. I came upon an indigo bunting, perched upon a fallen limb, only 12 feet away, rapidly pecking at one of these "powder puffs". I froze. As I watched, he ate every seed.

The other day a flicker tried for an hour to get her young one, fully as big as she, to fly from the ground to the lowest rail of a fence only a few feet away. Over and over she would get it headed in the right direction and then fly up onto the rail. Each time the young one would wobble a bit and turn away. Finally she lost patience, fluttered her wings angrily in front of it, and sounded like a long string of flicker cusswords. The youngster squatted and then went floundering off, a little at a time, in the wrong direction. Same cat probably got it.

A robin built a nest on the window ledge on the south side of the second floor of forest preserve headquarters in River Forest, a window in the engineers' drafting room. She brought straw, string and scraps of newspaper which she formed into a cup-shaped nest, plastering the walls with dabs of mud she brought in her beak. She shaped it by squatting in the center, spreading her wings and turning her body. She lined the inside with coarse grass.

The nest was begun on April 11 and completed on the 15th. She laid the first egg on the 17, and the fourth and last on April 22. Then she sat on them. Two hatched April 30 and another the following day but the fourth egg is still there. On May 6 one of the young robins died and the mother removed it. The remaining two left the nest on May 14 and were seen in nearby trees for several days.

The draftsmen kept the window ledge supplied with cherries, strawberries, sausage, salmon, candy and spaghetti. The old bird ate some of everything and fed bits of everything but the spaghetti to the ever-hungry young ones.

"No starch", says she.

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