Bird Watching

Tiffany Garavaglia

ILLINOISouth is home to spectacular birdwatching. Enjoy great views and take in the sights of bald eagles and other species common to the area. Take a look at the top 3 spots to go bird watching in ILLINOISouth.


Eagle at Carlyle Lake

Bald Eagle at, Carlyle Lake

1. Carlyle, Illinois

Carlyle Lake is a great place if you want to see bald eagles. Great places to watch are Eldon Hazlet State Park or one of the several viewing towers around Carlyle designed specifically to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures. Other species include 5 different species of geese, 24 species of ducks, four species of grebes, 31 species of shorebirds, and 17 species of gulls have been recorded at Carlyle Lake.


Prairie Chicken, Prairie Ridge State Natural Area

Prairie Chicken, Prairie Ridge State Natural Area

2. Newton, Illinois

The Prairie Ridge State Natural Area in Newton is a must-see for bird watching enthusiast. This is the best place in the state to see the state-endangered greater prairie chicken. This park is made up of 1,700 acres of woodlands, grasslands, meadows, wetlands and agricultural fields and attracts rare breeds such as loggerhead shrike, northern harrier, short-eared owl and Henslow’s sparrow.


Red Winged Blackbird - Bremer Sanctuary

Red-Winged Blackbird, Bremer Sanctuary 

3. Hillsboro, Illinois

Bremer Sanctuary is a protected area, education center and a showplace for natural resources in Montgomery County, Illinois. Visitors can walk the trail and see many species of wildflowers, shrubs, and vines add to the plant diversity. There are 60 acres of grasses to provide a great nesting sport for the state-endangered Henslow’s sparrow. Many species of songbirds also reside at the sanctuary, and it is an important resting and feeding area for many neotropical migrants during spring and fall migrations.


For a full list of all bird watching locations in our 23 counties, please click here.

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