Guided walking tour June 22


MOUNT MORRIS – The Byron Forest Preserve District will have a special guided Bobolink Walking Tour at their Bald Hill Prairie Preserve on Saturday, June 22 starting at 8 a.m. at the preserve’s parking lot located at 5502 North Silver Creek Road, Mount Morris.

Join naturalists Susan Kleiman and Mark Herman to view several rare nesting grassland birds that will include Bobolinks, Eastern Meadowlarks, Dickcissels, Henslow’s Sparrows, Grasshopper Sparrows and others. 

The Bald Hill Prairie Preserve was purchased by the Byron Forest Preserve District in November 2017 thanks to a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation because the preserve’s rolling landscape was prime habitat for a wide variety of increasingly rare ground nesting grassland birds that include Bobolinks, Short-eared Owls and Northern Harriers. 

Walk participants are guaranteed to see many Bobolinks. Known for their unique bubbling song, the handsome male summer plumage is black and white and look like they are wearing backward tuxedos. These grassland birds nest in large natural prairies, uncut pastures and overgrown fields. Bobolinks come to our area to breed during the summer and spend the winter in the southern interior of South America. These birds have one of the longest migrations in our hemisphere and will travel the equivalent of four to five times around the Earth during their lifetime.

 Advance registration is required by Thursday, June 20 by calling the Byron Forest Preserve District at 815 234-8535, Ext. 200. Bring your binoculars and cameras and dress for the weather. This preserve has several hills and requires moderate hiking. The program is for ages 10 and up. This is a free program.