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Sand Bluff Bird Observatory

Colored Sands Forest Preserve
10602 Haas Road, Durand, IL

The Forest Preserves of Winnebago County serve as resources for many formal and informal environmental educational experiences. Much of FPWC’s educational programming is provided by non-profit organizations that run educational programs and events at facilities in forest preserves. Volunteers contribute substantial amounts of time and money toward environmental education at District facilities. Prospective volunteers are urged to contact the organization of their interest for further information.

Colored Sands Forest Preserve provides a unique setting for people interested in bird study. For over 30 years, a Master Bird Bander, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has conducted an ongoing investigation into bird migration. Sand Bluff Bird Observatory is one of the largest small-bird banding operations in the country that is open to the public. SBBO is, and always has been, run entirely by volunteers who band birds, serve as guides for visitors, and present educational programs. Although Sand Bluff Bird Observatory is a research facility, education is also a high priority. SBBO encourages groups and individuals to visit to observe bird banders at work on Saturday and Sunday during spring and fall migrations. Call 815-629-2671 to confirm dates that the station is open.

Each May, Birdfest, is a celebration of wild birds and is an ideal time to visit Sand Bluff. Guided tours, crafts, live bird exhibits, lectures, refreshments and opportunities to watch bird banders in action. Birdfest is a wonderful opportunity for children and adults to get up close and personal with birds and to explore the forest preserve.
Special events allowing visitors to interact with owls and hawks are available by reservation. Individual and group visits to Sand Bluff are welcome. For more information or to schedule a group tour call 1-815-621-0607.