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Unusual Birds Found During Annual Christmas Day Lakefront Bird Count

CHICAGO (WBBM Newsradio) -- A couple of unusual birds made an appearance in the annual Christmas Day lakefront bird count in Chicago: one bird that comes from the North - and another that's usually a lot farther south this time of the year.

At the buildings on Navy Pier, birders saw an oven bird taking shelter and finding bugs. The birds used a warm area for awhile, maybe because they had been harmed in some way. And now it's too late in the season to leave. WBBM's Steve Miller reports.

"So if they were to leave it would be an act of suicide," said Joel Greenberg, coordinator of the lakefront bird count. "And they call it an oven bird because the nest that it makes on the ground looks somewhat like an oven. It also has a very distinctive vocalization, which is "teacher-teacher-teacher."

Greenberg said the lakefront count also found two snowy owls, one at 31st Street and one at Montrose. Some years, snowy owls come down this way in greater numbers.

"This year, there seems to be more than most years," he said. "Just to be visited by birds that spend their lives where there are musk ox or polar bears - the fact that these guys come south, we're seeing organisms that spend most of their lives in a world foreign to ours."

Another bird that was spotted was a catbird that should normally be farther south.

Photo credit: Tim Wallace, taken at Montrose Harbor, Chicago.

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