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Ethical Birding in the Forest Preserves

a close up of a Blue-gray gnatcatcher at Bunker Hill. Photo by Tom Lally.
Blue-gray gnatcatcher at Bunker Hill. Photo by Tom Lally.

Birding in the Forest Preserves of Cook County is a rewarding experience—spending time in nature, never knowing which of the hundreds of birds found in our area you may see or hear. While a pair of binoculars can enhance your bird watching, anyone taking a walk on a trail (or in their neighborhood!) while patiently looking and listening can call themselves a birder.

It’s an easy hobby to start, but there are some important things to remember to help protect birds, their habitats and nature in general. When getting into birding, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the American Birding Association’s Code of Birding Ethics and these key guidelines for birding in the Forest Preserves:

Birds are an important part of the ecological system in the Forest Preserves, but evidence is mounting that human-caused environmental changes are taking a heavy toll on birds. “Humans can have a negative impact on nature if they mistreat it,” says Jessica Becker, bird enthusiast and a program specialist with our Conservation and Experiential Programming department. By treating nature well, and following ethical birding guidelines, you can help ensure a future where birds thrive in the Forest Preserves.

Visit our Birding Page for more information, resources, events and more. When you head out birding, be sure to take a photo and share what birds you spot with our #BirdThePreserves hashtag on social media.