Birding

person birding at Bartel Grassland

New and experienced birders can enjoy this fun and versatile year-round activity while exploring the Forest Preserves.

On this page:


Birding Resources

Birding Checklist

Whether you are an avid birder or just starting out, track all of your bird sightings by downloading the printable Forest Preserves of Cook County Birding Checklist!

Printed copies of the checklist are available Forest Preserves Nature Centers.


Partnering for Birds Report

Developed in partnership with Chicago Audubon Society, Partnering for Birds (2018) is a guide to birds of conservation concern, their habitats and best management practices to insure their success in the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Support for Partnering for Birds was generously provided by the Bobolink Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


#BirdThePreserves logo

#BirdThePreserves

The #BirdThePreserves initiative launched in 2016 to promote the Forest Preserves as a world-class destination for birding—and to expose new audiences to this popular activity.

Help promote birding in the Forest Preserves by using the #BirdThePreserves hash tag whenever you post birding photos and observations on social media.

The Forest Preserves continues to hold dozens of #BirdThePreserves events each year.

Support for Bird the Preserves was generously provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through Chicago Wilderness.


Bird of the Month

Check out our Bird of the Month posts from the first year of the #BirdThePreserves campaign:


two bluebirds on a nesting box at horizon farm
Photo by Gary Henle.

How You Can Help Birds

Birds face threats from habitat destruction, building collisions, climate change and more. But there are steps individuals can take to support our local birds.


Birding Events

#BirdThePreserves logo
Wed, May 18 • 8 am

Bird Walk

Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center • Chicago, IL 60620
Indigo bunting at McClaughrey Springs Woods.
Wed, May 18 • 8:30 am

Bird Walk

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center • Lemont, IL 60439
Indigo bunting at McClaughrey Springs Woods.
Thu, May 19 • 8:30 am

Bird Walk

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center • Lemont, IL 60439
Indigo bunting at McClaughrey Springs Woods.
Fri, May 20 • 8:30 am

Bird Walk

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center • Lemont, IL 60439
A hooded warbler at Swallow Cliff Woods. Photo by Jim Phillips.
Sat, May 21 • 8:30 am

Bird Walk

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center • Lemont, IL 60439
A hooded warbler at Swallow Cliff Woods. Photo by Jim Phillips.
Sun, May 22 • 8:30 am

Bird Walk

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center • Lemont, IL 60439
#BirdThePreserves logo
Wed, May 25 • 8 am

Bird Walk

Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center • Chicago, IL 60620
#BirdThePreserves logo
Thu, May 26 • 6 pm

Be a Better Birder: Identifying Bird Songs

Zoom Presentation
open woodland at Eggers Grove
Tue, May 31 • 8 am

Bird Walk

Eggers Grove • Chicago, IL 60617
#BirdThePreserves logo
Wed, Jun 1 • 8 am

Bird Walk

Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center • Chicago, IL 60620
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center in summer.
Sat, Jun 4 • 9 am

Bird Banding

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center • Lemont, IL 60439
#BirdThePreserves logo
Wed, Jun 8 • 8 am

Bird Walk

Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center • Chicago, IL 60620
River Trail Nature Center Building in Northbrook
Sat, Jun 11 • 6 am

Early Risers

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Sun, Jun 12 • 8 am

Nesting Bird Walk

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
#BirdThePreserves logo
Wed, Jun 15 • 8 am

Bird Walk

Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center • Chicago, IL 60620
Thu, Jun 16 • 8 am

Bird Walk

Eggers Grove • Chicago, IL 60617
#BirdThePreserves logo
Wed, Jun 22 • 8 am

Bird Walk

Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center • Chicago, IL 60620
Thu, Jun 23 • 6 pm

Be a Better Birder: Birding Ethics

Zoom Presentation
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sun, Jun 26 • 7 am

Early Birders

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
#BirdThePreserves logo
Wed, Jun 29 • 8 am

Bird Walk

Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center • Chicago, IL 60620