Winnebago County offers superb opportunities for bird-watching. More than 300 bird species have been recorded in Winnebago County’s woods, rivers, lakes and prairies, many of them easily seen from a car or during an easy stroll.
See the printable Birding Checklist for Winnebago County for a comprehensive listing of all the species that have been documented.
Birdwatching Observation Sites
The 10,300 acres of woodlands, prairies, rivers, and marshes protected and managed by the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District provide convenient, safe and fascinating opportunities for year-round birding adventures.
Colored Sands Forest Preserve
Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve
Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden
Carl and Myrna Nygren Wetland Preserve
Sugar River Forest Preserve
Severson Dells Nature Center
Nature at the Confluence- South Beloit
A few birds don’t migrate but are here to observe all through the cold months of the year. Look closely and you’ll find them. Chickadees and cardinals are here all winter long. There are over thirty different species of birds that can commonly be viewed throughout the colder months when it is easier to spot birds and study them without obstruction. Local birders look forward to the winter season so they can find northern species that that are not here during other times of the year. Great spots for bird watching are along the rivers, especially when part of the water is frozen, but enough is open to provide food and water for the birds. Look for areas of good cover and trees with seeds for the birds. Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden is a good bet because of the many fruit trees that provide necessary survival nutrition for birds. Some of the top winter birding locations are Rock Cut State Park, Severson Dells Forest Preserve, Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve, Oak Ridge Forest Preserve, Nygren Wetland Preserve, and Aldeen Park.