Wednesday, July 1, 2015

NEVER saw this at House In The Wood!

This is the first time that I have seen Pilated Woodpeckers at House In The Wood. I was giving a tour at the marsh boardwalk and heard their VERY distinctive "maniacal laugh". There they were--a pair of Pilated Woodpeckers flying from tree to tree. I am so excited--maybe they will mate here and stay around for everyone to see. This is a BIG bird--about 18 inches long and hard to miss with its bring red head. This is the woodpecker that the cartoon character Woody Woodpecker is modeled after.  

Here is more from Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Listen to the sound and you will understand why I called it maniacal laughter.

Val's Picture from Missouri

House In The Wood is operated by 

Monday, March 16, 2015

First Signs of Spring

I was away from House In the Wood for five days at a Science Teachers Conference and Spring is busting out all over camp.

...I saw and heard the Sandhill Crane. I saw it circling the marsh as though looking for a special place to land. Their call is a very distinctive trilling honk.
...I saw and heard the MALE Red Winged Blackbird. I saw about 10 of them in the marsh all trying to outdo each other with their noise and wide-spread wings. Those with the best territory "get the girl" when the females arrive a few weeks from now.
...the fisherman are very busy on the ice as the fish bite BEST as the ice is forming and the ice is melting. Or so they tell me!

Watch the next few posts as I share just SOME of the things I picked up at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference in Chicago last week!

House In The Wood is operated by Northwestern Settlement, Chicago, Illinois

Monday, February 16, 2015

LOOK UP! Kool sky event.

Venus, the thin crescent Moon, and a little Mars form a tight bunch in the west-southwest during and after dusk as shown below. On February 20, they fit in a circle just 2 degrees across at the times of dusk with the Moon below. On February 21, they fit in a circle just 4 degrees across with the moon above at the time of dusk just like the picture below.

House In The Wood is operated by Northwestern Settlement, Chicago, IL

Friday, February 13, 2015

Great Backyard Bird Count

Great Backyard Bird Count
February 13—16, 2015
The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a fun, free, family-friendly activity to engage experienced birders in citizen science, and the perfect opportunity to introduce new people to birdwatching. Participating in the count is as simple as counting birds for as few as 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, and then reporting the results online at

Bluejay at Val's Feeder-they REALLY like peanuts!
Project Feeder Watch
Here is another citizen science site where you can count and record your bird sightings. Project Feeder Watch at
Scholar and Teacher watching a bird.

House In the Wood is operated by Northwestern Settlement, Chicago, IL

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Winter Reveal! Look Who Was Living Here!

When the leaves drop I am always AMAZED at who was living so close to me and I didn't EVEN know it. Take a look...
A Bald-Faced Hornet nest in the parking lot.
Robin Nest Made of Mud, Grass and Sticks
Red Winged Black Bird Nest in Marsh

Bird Nest Made of Small Sticks in Marsh-Bird Unknown

 Muskrat Home on Edge of Marsh
A Squirrel's nest known as a DRAY.
A Squirrel's nest has leaves rather than sticks or grasses.

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AND a KOOL thing to do...