Birdwatcher extraordinaire breaks record

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By David Pierini

Staff Photographer

Birder Aaron Gyllenhaal has broken a 23-year-old record for spotting the most species of birds in Cook County for a single year.

The Oak Park and River Forest High School junior, featured in last week's edition of Wednesday Journal [Eye to the sky, News, Oct. 9], broke the record by spotting a Surf Scoter, a variety of duck, flying south over Lake Michigan at Gillson Park in far northeast Cook County, Tuesday morning.

He then set the new record — 276 species — by spying a Black Scoter at the same park, said his father, Eric Gyllenhall.

Aaron Gyllenhaal made breaking the record his goal at the beginning of the year, building a spread sheet and indexing species of birds in order of how likely he would see them in Cook County.

Once the record was his, Gyllenhaal said he looked forward to a more relaxed approach to his birding field trips.


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