Great Backyard Bird Count – Nygren Wetlands

Birding is important on many levels and on Saturday it provided a great escape from the terrible happenings at NIU on Valentine’s Day. We were signed up to lead visitors around the roads of Nygren Wetlands, a spectacular natural area in the northern part of Winnebago County. The Natural Land Institute was holding a Winter Festival to coincide with the Great Backyard Bird Count, so our “backyard” was over 700 acres of some fine habitat.

Nygren Wetlands

The weather was cold but the sun was out and despite a general lack of birds, it was a fun time. Only a handful of people showed up but to be out at Nygren in the winter provided a unique look of a place normally teeming with wildlife. The water was mostly frozen and the prairie was snow-packed, but the clean snow provided great opportunities to track the various animals passing through – coyotes, foxes, mice, rabbits, deer, and pheasants.

We found the remains of a Ring-necked Pheasant
Ring-necked Pheasant Feather

The top birds we found were two that we never see in our own backyard – a Rough-legged Hawk and a 1st year Bald Eagle.

Rough-legged Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk
Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

4 thoughts on “Great Backyard Bird Count – Nygren Wetlands

  1. I invite birders to visit the Ivory-billed Woodpecker Foundation’s Blog for search updates:

  2. Nice photos-I just saw my first Rough-legged hawks this weekend-both dark and light morph.-pretty cool hawks! One of them stayed in place and hovered just like a kestrel!

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