Knox County

Green Oaks Field Station

The premier location for breeding landbirds in Knox County, and an excellent birding location in general, is the Green Oaks Field Station.  The Field Station is owned and managed by Knox College as an area for research, conservation, education and recreation, and is generally open only to members of the Knox community (students, alumni, staff and faculty) and their accompanied guests.  Birders who would like to visit the site can contact Jim Mountjoy (jmountjoy@knox.edu) who would be happy to escort interested parties to Green Oaks, time permitting.

Green Oaks is over 700 acres in extent, most of which is forested (some of it mature growth with many centuries-old Eastern White Oaks).  There are also restored prairies, a strip mine lake, and several smaller ponds.  The entrance to the site is a gate on the east side of County Road 1800E, about 4.5 miles south of the town of Victoria.

The best areas for breeding birds are usually the mature forests and deep ravines, which are accessed by several trails.  The South Creek Trail and Locust Trail connect to form a loop of approximately two miles.  Along this route Acadian Flycatchers, Ovenbirds and Kentucky Warblers are usually easily found in season.  Pileated Woodpeckers and Red-shouldered Hawks are also regular, if somewhat less reliable.  Louisiana Waterthrushes and Northern Parulas are regular breeders, in small numbers.  Worm-eating and Cerulean Warblers have also bred here, although they may not be present every year.

The Little John Nature Trail is another area that may produce Louisiana Waterthrushes or Red-shouldered Hawks.  The edges of woodland and roadsides may be concentrate migrant songbirds in season.  The restored prairies have supported breeding Henslow’s Sparrows in some seasons.  Rarities observed at Green Oaks include Golden Eagle, Yellow Rail, Barn Owl and Bewick’s Wren.

Several other good birding areas are located in the area, including Snake Den Road to the south, the Oak Run/Spoon Lake area to the west, and the open country and strip mine lakes of the countryside north of Victoria.


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