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     On March 6, 1919, a small but dedicated group of Evanston birders came together to create the then-named Evanston Bird Club, one of the earliest city bird clubs in the nation. Their achievement has spanned a century.  

     In 2019, the Club celebrated 100 years of accomplishments on behalf of bird conservation. In addition to a birthday party, we presented a special series of programs by former members who were mentored by ENSBC and who went on to become prominent in the world of natural history.

     During the early years, the Club’s community outreach included hundreds of presentations to area schools and scouting troops. In the 1930s and 40s, members spoke out on conservation issues:  the toll that artificial lights take on birds, the trapping of Cardinals, and a bill before Congress allowing live decoys “which would be disastrous to waterfowl.”  In the 1950s, they advocated to preserve Volo Bog, Illinois Beach State Park and the Indiana Dunes.  They lost tough fights to preserve local shorebird hotspots, a gravel pit that became Lovelace Park and the other, the Touhy claypits at Touhy and McCormick.

     Today, our local field trips no longer take the trolley only to Harms Woods, as the early members did, but visit diverse local birding sites, among them the Northwestern University’s Campus, Skokie Lagoons, Perkins Woods, Montrose Dunes, and, for shore birds, Calumet Sewage Ponds with our partner bird club, Chicago Ornithological Society. Our quarterly newsletter, Bird Calls, explores a variety of conservation topics. Our e-blasts keep members abreast of local conservation issues and upcoming events.  Our seven monthly programs from September through April engage the community by exploring an eclectic variety of topics, ranging from our group trips to current research on birds and other animals.


            Continuing the conservation commitment of the founders, today we promote local conservation initiatives and serve as their fiscal agents:  Clark Street Beach Bird Sanctuary, Perkins Woods, and Bird-Friendly Evanston.  ENSBC is an active member of the Bird Conservation Network (BCN), whose mission is the conservation of birds and the habitats they need to survive.  We are members of Illinois Audubon Society, Illinois Environmental Council, and Illinois Ornithological Society (IOS). We support IOS Young Birders and sponsor one of the longest running area Christmas Bird Counts.   

“There is a natural bond of affinity between those who have gone to the fields in
March to hear the tinkle of the Horned Larks on the frozen ground; or in the hope of
seeing a meadowlark in the snowy stubble; or a group of early bluebirds on fence or
wire.  There is a deep understanding among those who have heart the mystical nuptial
flight song of the woodcock at an April dusk, who have been surprised by the babbling
rapture of the ruby=crown’s mating song in the budding woods of early May; who have
listened with moist eyes to the robins singing in the rain, with its nostalgic memories
of childhood; or who have waited in a reverent and breathless silence, while the Wood
thrush chimed his bells in a June twilight.”

The above quotation is from a letter dated February 3, 1940, written by Fred Patee to the Evanston North
Shore Bird Club after the death of his wife, Bertha, the club’s founder and president
for 20 years from 1919-1939.  Quoted in A Birder’s Guide to the Chicago Region
authored by club members Lynne Carpenter and Joel Greenberg.


Ms. Fredrick Pattee         1919-1939

Ms. J. Benton Schaub      1939-1945

Ms. Norval Langworthy   1945-1947

Ms. Paul Stephenson       1949-1951

Ms. Walter Huxford         1951-1952

Ms. Reba Cambell           1952-1954

Mr. Alan Rogers              1954-1955

Ms. Robert Rulison          1955-1957

Ms. Helen McMillen         1957-1959

Ms. Walter Huxford         1959-1960

Mr. Marvin Ericson          1960-1962

Ms. Hadley Abernathy     1962-1964

Ms. Sidney North             1964-1965

Mr. Thomas Thoresen      1965-1967

Mr. Russell Mannette       1967-1969

Mr. Russell V. Watts         1969-1971

Ms. Roger O. Brown         1971-1972

Ms. James R. Ware           1972-1973

Mr. Jeffrey Sanders          1976-1976

Mr. Howard Glass            1976-1977 

Ms. Lynne Carpenter       1977-1979

Mr. David B. Johnson       1979-1981

Mr. Homer H. Eshbaugh  1981-1983

Mr. David B. Johnson       1983-1985

Mr. Joel Greenberg          1985-1992

Mr. Ralph G. Herbst         1992-1996 

Ms. Kristene Richardson  1996-1998

Ms. Mary Singh                1998-2001

Ms. Libby Hill                   2001-2005

Mr. Tim Wallace               2006-2011

Dr. Gary Hantsbarger       2011-2017

Mr. Gerry Ginsburg           2017-2019

Mr. Jim La Rochelle          2019-2022

Ms Marcia Weflen, 2022-