Cook County - Cook County Forest Preserves

Chicago Botanic Garden

McDonald Woods – The woodland is a good place to view both spring and fall migrants. Anywhere along the wood chipped nature trail will offer opportunities to see many neotropical migrants in the canopy and in the dense herbaceous vegetation in this restored oak woodland. In particular, the long wooden boardwalk across a shrubby wet

[Continue reading…]

Lake County

Crawford Road

Crawford Road is one of the most reliable spots in Lake County to find breeding Vesper Sparrows. The breeding Vespers are best accessed from Millburn Rd. Drive north on Crawford until the you begin to notice agricultural fields with sporadic trees. This is where most of the birds are singing. This is an unfinished road.

[Continue reading…]

Cook County

126th Street Marsh

The 126th Street Marsh is a mitigation wetland created in 2004 along Indian Creek north of Hyde Lake Wetland in southeast Chicago. A wide variety of waterbirds clearly benefit from the various habitat improvements, which include graded banks and native plantings along Indian Creek.

The entrance to the 126th Street Marsh is located on the

[Continue reading…]

Cook County - Cook County Forest Preserves

Orland Grasslands

The Orland Grasslands is an area that is being restored to original habitat. It is bordered on the east by Lagrange Rd.,on the west by 104th ave, on the north by 16700, and on the south by 17900 st.Invasive species have been or are in the process of being eliminated by volunteers on a year

[Continue reading…]

Lee County - Ogle County

Nachusa Grassland

Nachusa Grassland is a huge area of high-quality sand-hill prairie with many desirable breeding and wintering species. Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow’s Sparrow, Savanna Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Sedge Wren, Bobolink, Horned Lark are all easily found breeding species. Look and listen for Lark Sparrows along the sandy two-track that goes west from the visitor center. Other sandy-scrub

[Continue reading…]

Cook County

Birding the Lincoln Park Zoo area

The zoo grounds and surrounding park are an excellent place to bird during migrations. Chicago’s Lincoln Park, taken as a whole, is arguably the most popular birding destination in Illinois, and probably in the Midwest.

The zoo area has some challenges, such as parking and fences. If you can find a spot, the best place

[Continue reading…]

Mason County

Sand Ridge State Forest

Sand Ridge is a large expanse (over 7,000 acres) of mixed oak woods, savanna and planted pines. The habitats offer exceptional birding year-round.

Breeding species include Pileated Woodpecker, Broad-winged Hawk, Barred Owl, Whip-poor-will, Wood Thrush, Orchard Oriole, White-eyed Vireo, Northern Mockingbird, Blue Grosbeak. Pine warbler has bred in the pines near the parking lot west

[Continue reading…]

Putnam County

Clear Creek / Taylor Roads

This 8-mile driving loop can be excellent for forest and open-country species. Begin on Clear Creek Rd. (Co. Rd. 275/300N) east of Highway 26. The road follows Clear Creek and goes through some excellent forest habitat. In the first patch of woods breeding species include Summer and Scarlet Tanagers, Pileated Woodpecker, Yellow-throated Vireo, Tufted Titmouse

[Continue reading…]

Lake County

Lakewood Forest Preserve/Bangs Lake

Lakewood Forest Preserve is a fairly large preserve and has a wide variety of habitats as well. Extensive grassland areas, which require walking off trail, are home to breeding Eastern Bluebird, Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow’s Sparrow, Sedge Wren, Savannah Sparrow, and Orchard Oriole. During migration a Lark Sparrow is also possible, and Least Bitterns can sometimes

[Continue reading…]

Lake County

Chain O Lakes State Park

COLSP is truly a birding haven. It’s best time is spring migration, but it is also a great spot for uncommon breeding birds, and in the winter is one of the best places to see Rough-legged Hawks in Lake County. It sports a wide range of habitats including riparian edge, open lake, mudflats, oak woodlands,

[Continue reading…]