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Area // Rockton, Roscoe and South Beloit

Sand Bluff Bird Observatory

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Located within Colored Sands Forest Preserve in Northwest Winnebago Count, Sand Bluff Bird Observatory is one of the largest small-bird banding operations in the country that is open to the public. Sand Bluff was created to study population trends in migrant birds, although we also trap resident species as well. In a typical year 4-6,000 warblers, vireos, orioles, sparrows, thrushes and finches are banded.

The station is operated entirely by volunteers who band, serve as guides for visitors and present educational programs for various groups. Visitors are always welcome to come watch our operation and share in the learning process.

Click this link, checklist, for a downloadable list of birds seen in Winnebago County, available in the General Downloads section of this website.

  • Admission: Free, donations appreciated
  • Directions: Exit I-90 north of Rockford exits at Rockton Rd. Go west toward the town of Rockton; turn right (north) on IL 251 to Prairie Hill Rd.; turn left (west) on Prairie Hill to Bluff Rd.; turn left (south) on Bluff Rd. to Yale Bridge Rd.; turn right (west) on Yale Bridge to Hauley Rd.; right (north) on Hauley 0.5 mile to Haas Rd.; left (west) on Haas to end. From the south and east: go west on US 20 Bypass to Meridian Rd; north on Meridian until it ends at Shirland Rd.; west on Shirland Rd. to Boswell Rd.; north on Boswell to Yale Bridge Rd.; west on Yale Bridge to Hauley Rd.; north on Hauley to Hass Rd.; west on Hass to its end at Colored Sands Forest Preserve.
  • Hours: March-May, September-November
    Friday 4:00pm-7:00pm
    Saturday 8:00am-4:00pm
    Sundays 8:00am-10:00am
Attraction Amenities
  • Handicap Accessibility:
  • Parking - Free:
  • Picnic Area:
  • Public Restroom:
  • Alcohol Prohibited:
  • Food NOT Available:
Rates & Reservations
  • Admission Free:
  • Hiking Trail:
  • Lake or River Access: