This page is designed to be a local guide to birding in Chili, primarily compiled from in field observations. I could have easily skimmed through Sibley’s bird guide of North America to find every species that may reside in Chili, but that would be, well, boring. Instead, I am going to compile all the species that I have seen so far in and around our wetlands. Roughly 80% of our bird species rely on wetlands for sustenance and shelter, an ecological value that we should take in to consideration the next time someone wants to fill in an acre or two! Without wetlands, we could not have the music, the color, the breathtaking airborne acrobatics that we associate with the warmers months, and sometimes take for granted. Chili is rich with different bird species…lets keep it that way!

Note: These are not my own photographs.

Belted Kingfisher

These are quite common on the Black Creek and other open waterways that sustain fish populations. When I canoe down the Black Creek, I am almost always guaranteed a sighting, usually towards the eastern reaches of the creek. They dart out of the woods without warning, sail down a stretch of the creek before turning into the woods again. They are uncommon but widespread, known for hovering above and diving into water to catch small fish.

Pileated Woodpecker

Reminiscent of a pterodactyl due to its "wow, that's a huge bird!" stature and a cackling voice echoing from the Jurassic. Incredibly graceful in the air, swoops haphazardly between trees, alights on trees to chisel out gaping oval shaped holes in trees. If you see a pile of wood shavings beneath a tree, look up. There are a pair living in the Reed Road Preserve, and I hear them as I paddle down the Black Creek near the Genesee outlet. You usually hear them before you see them.

Scarlet Tanager

I observed one of these incredible birds near the Reed Road Bird Preserve two summers ago. They are common in deciduous forests, and are usually solitary.

Wood Duck

One of the most beautiful birds you can observe in Chili's wetlands. Wood duck are uncommon, but I they typically are found in sheltered ponds, rivers, swamps, and standing water protected by trees. I have only seen this species once, in the western edge of the Brookdale preserve, behind the current mitigation project site on Ballantyne Rd. They are quite shy, and they fly away making a high "jweep" call, resembling a crying baby.


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