About Us

Located within Colored Sands Forest Preserve in Northwest Winnebago County, Illinois, Sand Bluff Bird Observatory is one of the largest small-bird banding operations in the country that is open to the public.  Originally  purchased in 1964 as a working farm, it has been converted back into prairie over many years.

Sand Bluff was created to study population trends in migrant birds,  termed neo-trops, 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 data we collect  is vital in helping scientists and  government understand the current status of these birds both nationally,  and internationally.

The station is operated entirely by volunteers who band, serve as guides for visitors and present educational programs for  various groups.  Financial support comes entirely from the donations of individuals and organizations.

Although Sand Bluff is primarily a research facility , visitors are always welcome to come watch our operation and share in the learning process.  Whether it’s a House Wren or a Red-tailed-Hawk, the experience of seeing, in hand, the birds that share our planet will long stay in the memory.

SBBO and the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County are pleased to offer this educational resource to local citizens and visitors to the county.

We hope your visit will increase your appreciation of wildlife.

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