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!
The 83rd Street Pond has hosted its share of rarities. On an incredible day in 2008, you could watch Wilson’s and Red-necked Phalaropes intermingle with a Curlew Sandpiper, often in a single binocular view.
Songbird migration is good in the fall, but most of us birders turn our attention skyward for hawk-watching season. The former landfill (elevation 190 ft.) known as Greene Valley Hill provides 360° views of the skies – ideal for seeing hawks. Large numbers of Broad-winged, Cooper’s, and Sharp-shinned Hawks move through from September through November.
In late fall, Snow Buntings, Lapland Longspurs, and Horned Larks vie for my attention as I search for Rough-legged Hawks and Golden Eagles. — Jeff Chapman
Shrubland, patches of grassland, several ponds, and oak woodland.
Mostly flat. 10 miles of multi-use gravel trails, 4 miles of grass- and wood-chip-covered trails.
From the hawk watch: migrating raptors, Sandhill Crane, Tundra Swan, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting, and American Pipit. Shorebirds at the 83rd Street Pond: Stilt Sandpiper and Short-billed Dowitcher. Migrating warblers along the DuPage River and woodlands. Spring American Woodcock displays are spectacular. Wintering Northern Shrike (dependable annually) and Rough-legged Hawk. Breeding: Bell’s, Yellow-throated, and White-eyed Vireos, Yellow-breasted Chat, Chestnut-sided and Blue-winged Warblers, Willow Flycatcher, Dickcissel, Grasshopper Sparrow, Orchard Oriole, Summer Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Bobolink, Field and Savannah Sparrows, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, and Yellow-billed Cuckoo.
When to go
Spring and fall for songbirds. June and July for breeders. Late summer for shorebirds. Hawk watch early September through November.
Restrooms available at parking areas. DuPage Birding Club offers many trips in spring to see displaying woodcocks.
County forest. No fees. Open daily one hour after sunrise to one hour after sunset. Greene Valley Hill open 11-6 on weekends, spring through fall.
When you come for the hawk watch, dress for colder conditions than those found at ground level. Spotting scope useful.