Borrow a birdwatching kit and find a bufflehead

January 5, 2023

You might not think winter is a good time to look for birds but while colorful warblers have headed south, ducks of all sorts are spending the winter right in our neighborhood.

Northwestern University and the lakeshore are great places to see diving ducks like Buffleheads, pictured above. 

Buffleheads are small chubby ducks with a small dark gray bill. The males are mostly white, but have a black back and head. Look for the large white patch that extends from the eye to the back of the head. Females are light brown on the lower part of their bodies and darker brown above with a single white patch on her cheek. They like to eat water insects, snails, crustaceans and water plants. You’ll often see them in small groups on the water. 

Although many ducks can be seen with the naked eye, having a pair of binoculars will allow you to see these birds much easier. Check out one of the library’s birdwatching kits and head to the lake to try to spot Buffleheads and other ducks that overwinter in our area.

Each kit contains two pairs of Celestron binoculars, laminated resource guides, and a field guide to common birds of Illinois all in a handy backpack.

Evanston residents can pick up the kits from the circulation desk at the Main Library or request one be sent to the Robert Crown Branch Library for pick up. Kits can be checked out for two weeks and renewed as long as there are no holds. 

To place a hold, search for “ Evanston Public Library Bird Watching Kit ” in the catalog or call 847-448-8630 and we’ll place a request for you. 

Happy Birding!


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