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

exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sun, Dec 11 • 1:30 pm

Meet Our Birds

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
close up of a great horned owlet in the woods
Fri, Dec 16 • 7 pm

Evening Owl Prowl

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062
close up of a great horned owlet in the woods
Sun, Dec 18 • 5:30 am

Dawn Owl Prowl

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sun, Dec 18 • 1 pm

Homemade Bird Feeders

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
close up of a great horned owlet in the woods
Sun, Dec 18 • 1:30 pm

Whoooo Are the Owls in Your Neighborhood?

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062
Thu, Dec 22 • 6 pm

Be a Better Birder: Birding Ethics

Zoom Presentation
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Wed, Dec 28 • 1:30 pm

Winter Secrets Hike

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
The visitors center at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
Sat, Jan 7 • 10 am

Pinecone Suet Feeders

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center • Willow Springs, IL 60480
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sun, Jan 8 • 1:30 pm

Meet Our Birds

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Sat, Jan 14 • 8:30 am

Bird and Bagel Walk

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
exterior of the Sand Ridge Nature Center building
Sat, Jan 14 • 9 am

Winter Birding

Sand Ridge Nature Center • South Holland, IL 60473
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Fri, Jan 20 • 1 pm

Bird Painting Workshop Step-by-Step: Black-capped Chickadee

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center in summer.
Sat, Jan 21 • 10 am

Feeder Watch Weekend

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center • Lemont, IL 60439
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center in summer.
Sun, Jan 22 • 10 am

Feeder Watch Weekend

Sagawau Environmental Learning Center • Lemont, IL 60439
Thu, Jan 26 • 6 pm

Be a Better Birder: Getting Started

Zoom Presentation
close up of a great horned owlet in the woods
Sat, Jan 28 • 6 pm

Night Owls Walk

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center • Willow Springs, IL 60480
red-bellied woodpecker at a feeder at Trailside Museum
Sun, Jan 29 • 1 pm

Headbangers

Crabtree Nature Center • Barrington Hills, IL 60010
close up of a great horned owlet in the woods
Sat, Feb 4 • 1:30 pm

Owls of Trailside

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
Trailside Museum building in River Forest
Sat, Feb 11 • 9 am

Winter Bird Walk

Trailside Museum of Natural History • River Forest, IL 60305
close up of a great horned owlet in the woods
Sun, Feb 12 • 1:30 pm

Superb Owl Party

River Trail Nature Center • Northbrook, IL 60062