Winnebago County has some of the best birding (and natural history) opportunities in northern Illinois. We try to frequent as many of the top locations as possible but there are so many, it is often hard to do. Severson Dells Forest Preserve is one of the best and provides numerous educational opportunities, especially for younger naturalists.
Two fine programs coming up in April are as follows:
Birding Through Time: A History of Bird Study in the Chicago Region, Tues., April 21, 6:30 pm
Program sponsored by Severson Dells Nature Center and Sinnissippi Audubon Society. Free program. When the first Europeans arrived in this area in the 1670s, they discovered a place with a great diversity of landscapes teaming with an abundance of life. The earliest descriptions pre-date scientific ornithology but they do provide a hint of what was here. It wasn’t until the 1840s, however, with the arrival of Dr. Philo Hoy in Racine, WI did a scientifically inclined observer begin recording local birds. With photos and through the words of those who were witnesses, this program takes us on a field trip through time as we look at the changing birdlife and, equally important, the changing attitudes people held towards birds and nature.
Joel Greenberg has been interested in birds and natural history as long as he can remember. He has published numerous articles and three books: A Birder’s Guide to the Chicago Region (w/ L. Carpenter, 1999), A Natural History of the Chicago Region (2002), and Of Prairie, Woods, and Water: Two Centuries of Chicago Nature Writing (2008).
Flights of Fancy, Saturday, April 25, 7:00 am-2:00 pm
For beginner and intermediate. Leader: Keith Blackmore
Enjoy a birding outing during the onset of spring songbird migration and learn more about where birds have been and where they are going. Opportunities will be provided to sharpen the skills useful in field recognition of our feathered friends. What behaviors do birds exhibit which help to identify them? What calls are especially helpful? How can one quickly locate birds in a bird book? We’ll spend about 4 1/2 hours outdoors and 2 1/2 hours indoors. Bring a sack lunch, binoculars, and bird book.
Limit 16. Fee: $10 [NOTICE: if you mention Birdfreak.com it is 1/2 price!!]
Easy trail walking. Payment of fee saves your spot.
Contact Severson Dells
Address: Severson Dells Nature Center, 8786 Montague Rd., Rockford, IL, USA, 61102
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 8:00am-4:30pm; Sunday 1:00-4:30pm