Rolling hills, restored wetlands and established woodlands comprise much of Lake County, Illinois, making it a magnificent destination for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. With more than 30,000 acres of forest preserves, Lake County has a myriad of options for novice and advanced birders alike. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded within Lake County, so you never know what your bird watching adventures will bring!
Many of the area's preserves and natural areas are touted as excellent birding destinations, recognized for their exemplary habitat, due in large part to Lake County's commitment to wildlife preservation. From Red Tailed Hawks and Barn Owls to song birds and Sand Hill Cranes, both nesting and migrating bird species take advantage of the large variety of habitat located throughout Lake County, including a green corridor which runs north to south along the Des Plaines River Trail. The variety of habitats throughout the county includes Volo Bog State Natural Area, home to Illinois' only quaking bog and is a favorite destination for migrating cranes. Head to Fort Sheridan in Lake Forest for a fresh water coastal habitat along the shores of Lake Michigan and enjoy scenic views while watching for beautifully colored song birds.
Lake County is a quintessential birding destination in Illinois where seasonal rarities often show up. The vast amount of land brings incredible numbers of birds to the county every year, and we welcome and support birders who enjoy our feathered friends. Almond Marsh in Grayslake is home to a great blue heron rookery, and rare sedges hide small rodents that the Cooper's Hawk and Peregrine Falcon can't resist.
Need a guide? No problem! Join a resident bird watching expert in the area from the Lake County Audubon Society for a group trip or discussion. If you plan on visiting the Chicagoland area, consider bird watching in Lake County.
Continue here to view a map of our Top 10 Bird Watching locations.