Get a bird’s-eye-view of the beauty of Lincoln Park and the Chicago skyline.
Located on the top floor of the Nature Museum building, the Micole Birdwalk overlooks the Deb Lahey Nature Trails, North Pond, and the Nature Museum Ravine while providing an uninterrupted view of downtown Chicago’s famous skyline.
Equipped with binocular stations and benches, visitors can get a tree-top view of local wildlife, enjoy the beauty of the park, and even get a glimpse of the Nature Museum’s rooftop gardens and bee hives. Informative panels lining the railing give helpful bird identification tips, sustainable energy practices, bird call examples, and more. Try out your bird observation skills, and more from the Micole Birdwalk.
A Closer Look
Birds by Sky, Land, & Water
The Micole Birdwalk is situated above a few of the various bird habitats located around the museum building. While each habitat is unique in its features, they each have to be able to provide a few essentials for the birds that life there, including shelter and food.
Let’s take a closer look at a few of the birds you might spot, the habitats they call home, and the places they spend their time!
In The Air
All of the native bird species in Illinois can fly, but only a few are true aerial acrobats. Some of these species will hunt, chase, catch, and consume their prey in flight, and some even bathe in flight! Here are a few high-flying species you might spot in the air.
In The Trees
Looking out into the trees and shrubs around the Museum, you’ll likely see birds rustling in the leaves. Some of them might be taking a quick break, ducking away from a predator, or guarding a nest. There are also birds that spend almost all of their time in the trees because it’s where they find their food. Here are a few species you might spot in the trees.
In The Water
Looking out over North Pond, you might see many different birds in the water. Some rest on the water because it deters the vast majority of predators. There are also birds that find most or all of their food in the water. These are just a few birds you might spot on the water.
By The Water
Numerous bird species find their food in water without actually swimming in it! Wading birds walk around the water’s edge hunting for seeds, aquatic invertebrates, and small fish. Others stand motionless in the shallows, stalking fish and amphibians that they snatch with their spear-like beaks. You might spot these bird species near the water.
In The Prairie
From food to housing, the prairie plants growing around the Museum provide all of the necessary resources for many birds. Fruits, seeds, and nectar are plentiful thanks to the wide variety of plants in the area. Comfortable nesting materials, like grasses and fluffy milkweed seeds, are also found in abundance. Some of the more secretive birds use the tall grasses for cover as they hop around at ground level. Others choose the highest vantage point in the area to defend their territory. When temperatures start to fall, the prairie continues to be indispensable to birds by providing thick ground cover and protection from the cold.
Surrounded by trees, the Micole Birdwalk is an incredible location to do some birdwatching. But how do you start birdwatching? And what are some common birds you might spot from that rooftop perch? Check out this episode of Curious By Nature, featuring Geoff Williamson from the Chicago Ornithological Society, to find out!
Did you know that there are working bee hives on the Nature Museum roof? How do our scientists, like insect expert Allen, and volunteers work with them? Find out in this special video!