Schoeneger and Evans Prairies and Birds

Can you believe the vast beautiful prairie before you was once farmland? When settlers moved into this area in the 1800s, they turned the fertile soils of prairies like this one into farms and homesteads. A hundred or so years later, those families sold or donated the land back to the state. The DNR with the help of volunteers like Mike Fort and the Friends of Lapham Peak have worked to restore this land to its native prairie state through invasive eradication, an ongoing battle, and regular prairie burns. 

While walking on the Paul Sandgren Bike Trail, listen for different bird calls. You count 15 different species. In the spring before the leaves come out, it’s easier to see the birds in the trees. Males are brightly colored to attract the females. View the pictures, hear the calls and read the descriptions of these birds below. 

Click on images for link to for bird calls

Baltimore Oriole - The Baltimore Oriole male has a black head and back, deep orange underparts.
Yellow Warbler - The male Yellow Warbler is yellow breasted with rusty streaks on its breast. It winters in southern and central Mexico usually arrives at Lapham Peak in May. Look for it in shrubbery lower to the ground. Its song sounds like sweet sweet little more sweet.
Red-winged Blackbird - Red-winged blackbirds are found around ponds on the Ice Age Trail. Their black bodies with red wings make them very identifiable along with their distinctive song kong-ka-ree.
Grey Catbird - Gray Catbirds have a distinct black cap. They like to sing in bushes and trees. Their song varies from squeaky noisy chatter to a cats’s meow.
American Goldfinch - American Goldfinches love thistle seeds so look for them up top of the purple thistle flower. Their bright yellow breast and black cap and wings make them easy to identify. When they fly, they move up and down like they are flying over hills and valleys.
Eastern Towhee - An Eastern towhee has a black head and throat, orange stripe on its sides and a white breast. Its song is drink-your-tea or tea or towhee.
Common Yellowthroat Warbler - Near the pond brushy area you may see a male Common Yellowthroat Warbler with its bright yellow throat, distinctive black mask. The song is witchety witchety witchety.
Field Sparrow - Field Sparrows have a pink bill and legs and a rusty cap. Their song is a whistle.
Chipping Sparrow - The Chipping Sparrow has a black bill and very white eye stripe and rusted cap. It song has rapid chips.
Clay-colored Sparrow - A Clay Colored Sparrow is very difficult to spot but has distinct low-pitched buzzes.