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The wrong-way small-billed elaenia, photographed Nov. 28, 2021, in Waukegan. (Courtesy of Geoffrey Williamson)

The sighting of a small-billed elaenia over the Thanksgiving holiday had bird lovers flocking to Waukegan from far and wide to catch a glimpse of this South American flycatcher, thousands of miles off course.

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Sandhill cranes. (ladymacbeth / Pixabay)

The region’s nature lovers eagerly anticipate the annual flyover of the large, raucous birds but for regular observers of the cranes, this year’s migration was cause for anxiety due to low numbers counted at their regular Indiana rest stop.

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The wild turkey is a North American original. (Elljay / Pixabay)

When’s the last time you thought about the turkey not as dinner but as a bird? Here are some fascinating facts about this North American original.

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A piping plover. (Cadop / Pixabay)

One of Monty and Rose’s grand-chicks, which hatched this summer in Ohio, never migrated south. The plover will spend the winter being cared for at the Detroit Zoo.

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The tiny yellow-breasted Kirtland's warbler was only recently de-listed as an endangered species. (Joel Trick / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Chicago scientist Heather Skeen studied the gut bacteria of the migratory Kirtland’s warbler and made a surprising discovery with potentially far-reaching implications.

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An ivory-billed woodpecker specimen is on a display at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. (AP Photo / Haven Daley)

Death’s come knocking a last time for the splendid ivory-billed woodpecker and 22 more birds, fish and other species: The U.S. government on Wednesday declared them extinct.

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If marsh birds like the pied-billed grebe, pictured, return to Powderhorn Lake, conservationists will judge the wetlands restoration a success. (simardfrancois / Pixabay)

A wetlands restoration project is underway at Powderhorn Lake Forest Preserve in the Calumet region, where construction of a human-made water control device will recreate a more natural system of drainage.

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Modern sunbirds also have long tail feathers. (Jason Weckstein / The Field Museum)

Scientists have uncovered the fossil of a bird that lived 120 million years ago, and it definitely had flair, including unusually long tail feathers. These flashy feathers probably didn’t help the bird achieve aerodynamic flight, but they might have helped him find a mate, according to new research.

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A red-rumped parrot, one of the bird species that has seen its bill size increase. (Credit: Ryan Barnaby)

Some warm-blooded animals are experiencing shifts in their body shapes, likely as a response to the pressures of climate change, according to a new review of existing research.

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More than 30 million migrating birds will pass over Illinois in the coming days. (Dariusz Grosa / Pexels)

With close to 100,000 birds expected to pass over Chicago this weekend, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and its partners have issued a “lights out” alert for the city, encouraging building owners and residents to turn off as many lights as possible between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

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A Great Lakes piping plover. (Vince Cavalieri / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

The patriarch of Chicago’s piping plover family was seen taking off from Montrose Beach on Saturday morning and was spotted at his winter home near Galveston, Texas, a mere 53 hours later.

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It's OK to have bird feeders and baths in outdoor spaces, wildlife officials said, but be sure to keep them clean. (Pixabay / GeorgeB2)

Reports of sick and dying birds have tapered off since first coming to light in late spring. Illinois was not affected and wildlife officials reiterated that it's OK to have bird feeders and baths in outdoor spaces — just be sure to keep them clean. 

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Each hole on the new Douglass 18 minigolf course represents a specific bird. (Courtesy of Douglass 18 Partners / Lincoln Park Zoo)

Three years in the making, the Douglass 18, a bird-themed mini-golf course, opens Saturday in Douglass Park. Neighborhood teens researched and designed the holes, drawing inspiration from Chicago’s bird population.

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The Thompson Center’s glass facade wouldn’t pass muster today under a new law requiring bird-friendly design for state buildings. (WTTW News)

Nearly 600 million birds are killed annually in North America due to collisions with buildings. A new Illinois law mandates bird-friendly design for state buildings.

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Meet Imani, which means faith in Swahili. (Courtesy of Judy Cheske)

The newest members of Chicago’s growing piping plover family have names. Meet Siewka (pronounced Shivka), which is the Polish word for “plover,” and Imani, the word for “faith” in Swahili. 

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(Courtesy Judy Cheske / Ann Gunkel)

The big reveal will take place at a beachside ceremony with representatives from the Chicago Piping Plovers Team and members of its name-selection committee. Find out how you can tune in virtually.