Guide to Lake County's Birds

Lake County's Birds

When do birds arrive in our area?

Sparrow: The first to arrive, usually in late March, are song sparrows (pictured) and white-throated sparrows passing through on their journey farther north. Where? Sparrows can be seen countywide. Look for nesting sparrows at Middlefork Savanna & Rollins Savanna.

Neo-Tropical Migrants: Spring is a great time to look for members of this group: Warblers, vireos, hummingbirds (pictured), wrens, thrushes & more. Where? Des Plaines River, Grant Woods, MacArthur Woods, Ryerson Woods & Wright Woods.

Blackbirds: Male red-winged blackbirds (pictured) are the true harbingers of spring. Other members of this group such as grackles and cowbirds, follow in spring. Where? Red-winged blackbirds are found near marshy areas. Look on the edge of wooded areas for cowbirds. Look for Yellow-headed blackbirds at Middlefork Savanna &Rollins Savanna.

Woodpeckers: Year-round: Northern flickers and Downy, Red-bellied and Red-headed woodpeckers; Spring: Pileated (rare to see); Spring & Fall: Yellow-bellied sapsuckers. Where? Look in wooded preserves at Fort Sheridan, MacArthur Woods, Middlefork Savanna, Rollins Savanna & Ryerson Woods. (PHOTO: Red-bellied Woodpecker)

Bluebirds: May be seen year-round, although March through November yields the most sightings. Where? Bluebirds are found on the edge of wooded areas: Almond Marsh, Buffalo Creek, Grassy Lake, Independence Grove, Old School, Ryerson Woods & Singing Hills.

Cranes, Herons, Egrets: Can be seen in wetlands countywide March through November. Where? Look in preserves with wetlands: Almond Marsh, Cuba Marsh, Des Plaines River, Fourth Lake, Fox River, Lakewood, Middlefork Savanna, Nippersink, Rollins Savanna, Sedge Meadow & Singing Hills. (PHOTO: Blue Heron)

Owls: Year-round residents: Barred, Eastern screech and Great-horned owls. Winter visitors: Long-eared, Saw-whet, Short-eared and Snowy owls. Where? Great-horned and Eastern screech owls seek wooded preserves. Barred owls are found in floodplains: MacArthur Woods & Ryerson Woods. Snowy owls can be seen along Lake Michigan at Fort Sheridan & Spring Bluff. Long-eared owls (pictured) and Saw-whet owls prefer evergreens in Lyons Woods & Pine Dunes. 

Credit: Lake County Forest Preserves