Beautiful mature forests, rolling hills, and gorgeous wetlands abound throughout Illinois. It’s no surprise that it’s known as ‘The Prairie State.’The northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) was chosen as the State Bird of Illinois by Illinois schoolchildren in 1928. That name was made official by the General Assembly in 1929.
The wide shorelines of this northern state are likewise well-known. There are 155 lakes and 26 km of public beaches in the area. This shoreline is almost entirely on Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes. As a result, it contributes significantly to the diversity of birdlife that calls Illinois home.
Birds of Illinois comprise species that have been reported and accepted by the Illinois Ornithological Records Committee in the United States state of Illinois (IORC). There are 450 species and two species pairs on the official list as of March 2020. There are 88 that are accidental, 38 that are casual, nine that have been imported to North America, and three that are extinct. Five species have been extirpated from their natural habitats, while some have been restored.
Illinois birds of prey
“Birds of prey” or “raptors” are birds that hunt mammals, fish, or other birds. They have strong legs, sharp claws on their toes, and curved beaks that make catching, carrying and eating their food simple.
Hawks, falcons, and owls are all common birds of prey in DuPage forest preserves, and while they’re all hunters, they’re classified into different families.
More birds of prey in the section.
Eagles in Illinois
Most hawks are near twice the size of eagles, with proportionately larger wings and bills. During migration, both bald and golden eagles — North America’s only two use DuPage forest preserves, although bald eagles are now common summer nesters in the Chicagoland area.
Bald eagles consume primarily fish, but also injured ducks, carrion, and small mammals. Small mammals, insects, snakes, and birds are all prey for golden eagles.
Take a closer look at the birds in the section below to learn more about them.
Owls in Illinois
The nocturnal, or nighttime, birds of prey in the county are owls. They are found in woodlands and thickets, as well as near wooded streams, although they are also widespread in backyards. People may see them during the day, but they’re most likely to hear them at night during the breeding season, which runs from late winter to early spring.
The eastern scream, great horned, and barred owls all dwell here all year. Great horned owls can grow up to 2 feet tall, while eastern screech owls are around the height of a pint glass. Their heads have prominent tufts that resemble horns or ears, although they’re just feathers. Barred owls are similar in size to great horned owls, but lack the tufts on their faces.
In the section below, you’ll find owls from Illinois.
Common backyard birds of Illinois
Many birds benefit from native Illinois trees, shrubs, and flowers. Food and safe nesting areas are provided by these plantings. Some of the species most commonly seen at feeders and in ordinary backyard birdhouses in urban and suburban regions are depicted below.
Woodpeckers in Illinois
Hundreds of life types can be found in old dead trees, and Illinois woodpeckers are among those who benefit from these natural condominiums. Many birds and animals, including woodpeckers, use dead trees as nesting cavities. They also supply food through the dozens of different types of insects that are involved in the breakdown process.
In their pursuit for carpenter ants, pileated woodpeckers, for example, drill oval-shaped holes. Others may rummage through the loosened bark for bug eggs and other delights. Consider removing any dead trees that aren’t a danger to property or people. Dead trees are cut down in cities for safety reasons. Those with land in the country, on the other hand, maybe able to leave a piece of the trunk for wildlife habitat.
Best Birdwatching Spots in Illinois
You might be shocked to learn that some of Illinois’ most popular birding spots are right in the heart of the city. One little region on Lake Michigan’s shore, in fact, has more bird species than any other place in the state.
If you appreciate birdwatching, these eight serene locations across the state will provide you with the best opportunities to see some of the state’s most spectacular species. Illinois is home to a diverse range of birds, including eagles, hummingbirds, ducks, and cardinals.
Stretch your legs and go for a walk while you’re at it. For the sights and more, nature lovers like these bird-watching hotspots. Take a look at them:
- Montrose Point
- Illiinois Beach State Park
- Prairie Ridge State Natural Area
- Dixon Waterfowl Refuge
- Carlyle Lake/Eldon Hazlet State Park
Other Illinois birds
With two national forests, five state forests, and 43 parks where our wonderful feathered friends can feed and frolic, the Prairie State is a great area for birding. In Illinois, you can view a variety of birds, and that will be our emphasis today. We’ll tell you about what these birds look like, where you can find them, how to attract them, and more! Let’s discuss some other Illinois birds!