Bird-Watching Above Chicago

150 N Riverside Plaza

150 North Riverside.

They seem to have no migration habits. In the cold, the heat, the sun, wind, and snow, they’re out there, braving the elements. Certainly, they’re more easily spotted in daylight, but you can find them at night, if you know where to look. Some are visible for miles; others are lost in the canyons of the big city. Thousands of us walk, run, ride, and drive past them every day, not noticing their presence. But if you look towards the sky, away from your phones, away from the traffic, you’re sure to see them.

The Crane. The Official State Bird of Progress. Whether it’s a tower you aspire to create, or roadway, even a walkway, you’ll need them. They’ll flock to your site by truck, some even by barge. But make no mistake: If you want to build it, you’ll need them to come.

They work quietly, above the fray, above the noise emanating from the streets and lots below. Lifting, twisting, placing, like giant storks delivering precious babies into the waiting arms of construction crews eager to finish another story. Yet each having a story all their own.

Optima II

A tower crane takes root and begins sprouting at Optima II, 220 East Illinois.

Make no mistake, their visits here are cyclical. In good times, as we’re seeing in recent months, they pop up all over town, leaving some to wonder if the city, even this mighty city, is capable of supporting such numbers. Yet when hard times fall on us, we think we’ll never see them in such quantity again.

How long can Chicago sustain the current feeding frenzy these cranes are enjoying? This flock may only hang around — and over — Chicago as long as the housing market continues to scream “BUILD” at local developers. Get out your binoculars and zoom lenses, and let’s enjoy them while they’re here.

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