Birding Winnebago County

Pecatonica River Forest Preserve

Location Information

This site features outstanding displays of spring wildflowers, including Virginia Bluebells, Wild Phlox and Blue-eyed Marys. Foot trails, including a self-guided interpretive trail, and observation deck overlooking the oxbow pond provide good access through the preserve.
Pecatonica River Forest Preserve
7260 Judd Road & 14260 Brick School Road.
Pecatonica, Illinois
(815) 877-6100

Species & Habitat

Signature bird & wildlife: Typical species of the river-bottom forests such as Barred Owl, Red-shouldered Hawk, Wood Duck, Prothonotary Warbler and Great Blue Heron nest here. Spring migration can be very lively with a host of thrushes, vireos, warblers, sparrows and flycatchers moving through, particularly along the trail that goes around the oxbow pond. Both Black-crowned and Yellow-crowned Night-herons might be found here. This is one of the best places in the area to find Red-headed and Pileated Woodpeckers. River Otters, Mink and Gray Tree Frogs are here.
Rare bird & wildlife: Known to see Bitterns.
Habitats: Woodlands, Oxbow swamps and also home to Pecatonica Bottoms Nature Preserve.

Site Access Information

Admission Charges: None
Hours of operation: 7:00 A.M. to one half hour after sunset
Seasonality of site: Preserve properties open to public for year round use - some roads or gates not accessable or open in winter months for vehicle travel.
Site Restrictions: Trails can be muddy and other site restrictions may apply, as per the Forest Preserves General Use Ordinance and Regulations (see District Web Site)

Site Assessment Information

Amenities: parking areas, restrooms, viewing platform/observation blind, handicap accessible
Other: Picnic Shelter and Playground, trails are not handicap accessible.


Activities: camping
Other: Canoeing,Fishing, and mowed hiking trails


Directions: 7260 Judd Road & 14260 Brick School Road, Pecatonica, IL 61063
12 miles northwest of Rockford. Highway 70 (Trask Bridge Road) northwest to Judd Road, south on Judd Road 1½ miles. Or take Highway 20 west to Pecatonica Road, north through Pecatonica to Brick School Road, east to Judd Road.

Driving Directions