Hotspots Near You

  • 273. Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Illinois

    Visitors to Cantigny Park can enjoy two museums, beautiful gardens, and a 27-hole golf course. It’s a busy place, especially on summer weekends. But the birds don’t seem to mind, including the Wild Turkeys that patrol the grounds.

  • 230. Skokie Lagoons, Winnetka, Illinois

    During the 1930s, the Skokie Swamp, north of Chicago, was converted into a series of wooded pools called the Skokie Lagoons. Extending from Dundee Rd. on the north to Winnetka Ave. on the south, the property encompasses 894 acres and is owned and managed by the Cook County Forest Preserve District.

  • 189. Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton, Illinois

    Although Pere Marquette State Park is best known for winter eagle watching, its woodlands and other habitats offer opportunities to find birds any time of the year. I most love bundling up for a cold-weather hike, when bare trees make it easy to spot Red-headed Woodpeckers and ubiquitous Northern Cardinals. Sunny winter days are also the ideal time to sit along the harbor, where American White Pelicans feast and a Great Blue Heron once came close to sharing a bench with me.

  • 148. Northerly Island, Chicago, Illinois

    When Chicago’s former mayor Richard M. Daley sent crews to bulldoze large Xs across the runways of Meigs Field in the middle of the night in March 2003, aviators might not have been thrilled, but I and other birders sure were. Mayor Daley wanted this prime piece of lakefront open space in the heart of bustling Chicago to become a park, and so it was.

  • 74. Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary, Chicago, Illinois

    Site of a Cold War-era military barracks, the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary is Chicago’s modern-day birding mecca. I enjoy birding it because, for a relatively small area, it’s always full of activity.

  • 71. Greene Valley Forest Preserve, Naperville, Illinois

    Not only is Greene Valley near my home, but it’s near to my heart as well. When I began volunteering with the DuPage Forest Preserve District several years ago, my wife and I would seek out the breeding birds here. Once we discovered a brood of Lark Sparrows, a species undocumented as a breeder in Chicagoland for more than 80 years!

  • 26. Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois

    The Arb, as it is known among birders, is the place to find Northern Saw-whet Owls in northern Illinois in the winter. It also contains premier habitat in the state for White-winged and Red Crossbills during invasion years. And it’s consistently the best place to find Red-breasted Nuthatches. Woodpeckers, including Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and Eastern Bluebirds are fairly common during the winter.

  • 15. North Pond Nature Sanctuary, Chicago, Illinois

    My wife Alicia and I find North Pond exhilarating, particularly in spring and fall. Spring highlights include numerous warblers — Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, Blue-winged, Black-and-white, Yellow, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Palm… May I go on? We see Peregrine Falcons year-round and Cooper’s Hawk, Northern Goshawk, and American Kestrel in fall and winter.