Lake County, Illinois Convention and Visitors Bureau -Bird Watching in Lake County
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Bird Watching in Lake County

Lake County's natural spaces create a perfect place for bird watching...

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.

Blog: Springtime Bird Watching

Top 10 Birding Sites
Here is a list of our Top 10 Birdwatching sites throughout Lake County. Includes Ryerson Woods, Fort Sheridan, Independence Grove & more.

Seasonal Birdwatching Guide
This seasonal birdwatching guide gives you a detailed description of the birds you will see at each location.

Return to Lake County Outdoor Guide


Almond Marsh Forest Preserve
(Grayslake)
The highlight of this site is the significant marsh and sedge meadow complex. Approximately 110 acre...

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Bowen Park
(Waukegan)
Bowen Park has been transformed into a public park with the widest possible range of recreation faci...

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Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods
(Riverwoods)
Located among pristine woodlands in the Ryerson historic home in Riverwoods, Il., Brushwood Center a...

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Captain Daniel Wright Woods
(Mettawa)
This peaceful oasis among the bustling suburbs offers 4 miles of scenic trails: a short loop for hik...

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Chain O'Lakes State Park
(Spring Grove)
Located in the heart of Illinois' largest concentration of natural lakes, Chain O'Lakes Stat...

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Chain O'Lakes State Park Riding Stable
(Spring Grove)
The Chain O'Lakes State Park riding stable offers seasonal riding opportunities with the "Come Ride ...

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Chicago Botanic Garden
(Glencoe)
The Chicago Botanic Garden, with its world-renowned plant collections and displays, is one of the co...

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Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway
(Wadsworth)
The Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway protects land along more than 85 percent of the river in La...

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Edward L. Ryerson Conservation Area & Welcome Center
(Riverwoods)
Ryerson Woods is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This area is one of the best ex...

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Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve
(Ft. Sheridan)
NOTE: Due to ongoing restoration as part of the Great Lakes Fish and Ecosystem Restoration program, ...

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Illinois Beach State Park
(Zion)
Illinois Beach State Park is located along the shores of Lake Michigan from Waukegan to the Wisconsi...

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Independence Grove Forest Preserve
(Libertyville)
This scenic 1,135-acre preserve offers a wide range of outdoor recreation and education opportunitie...

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Lake County Audubon Society
(Libertyville)
The Mission of the Lake County Audubon Society is Education, Conservation and Restoration of natural...

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Lakewood Forest Preserve
(Wauconda)
Lakewood is Lake County's largest forest preserve. This preserve features dedicated equestrian trail...

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Old School Forest Preserve
(Libertyville)
Looking for winter fun, Old School Forest Preserve is the place to be. Bring out the sled, cross-cou...

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Park District of Highland Park
(Highland Park)
The Park District of Highland Park, founded in 1909, operates and manages over 650 acres of land in ...

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Volo Bog State Natural Area
(Ingleside)
If you're looking for a truly unique outdoor adventure, head for Volo Bog State Natural Area in ...

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Spooks