Birding Winnebago County

Four Lakes Forest Preserve

Location Information

Recently the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County has acquired additional acreage including three small ponds on the west side and substantial marshy and wetland areas to the East and North of the original ponds. Drier parts of the property have been planted to grassland.
Four Lakes Forest Preserve
10207 Fish Hatchery Road
Pecatonica, Illinois
(815) 877-6100

Species & Habitat

Signature bird & wildlife: Purple Martins have established a small nesting colony in martin houses on a tiny island in the south-eastern pond. Many Bank, Rough-winged, Tree, Barn and Cliff Swallows hunt insects over the ponds. American Woodcocks display and call in spring from the marshy areas to the East and North of the main ponds. Sandhill Cranes use the marshes and grasslands of the preserve as well as nearby farmland and they may nest here. Any of the paths at the edges of the woods can be productive for finding warblers, thrushes, flycatchers and other migrants. The weedy edges of the grasslands can be full of sparrows in the fall. Belted Kingfishers, Green Herons and Blue-winged Teal, Mallards and Canada Geese use the ponds for feeding.
Rare bird & wildlife: Sorrel Rail, Black Crowned Night Heron, Wood Duck, Red Winged Black Bird, Song Sparrow, and Common Yellow Throat.
Habitats: Four Man Made Lakes, Surrounding Wetlands, and Restored Prairie Areas.

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: Please help clean up discarded fishing line if you find it. Use caution around nesting Canada Geese. They can be aggressive in defense of their goslings or nests. 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, handicap accessible
Other: Picnic shelter with a grill and various picnic tables are available at the Fish Hatchery Road entrance. Mowed hiking trails.


Other: Trask Bridge Road entrance has restrooms and provides access to a 25 acre dog training area in addition to hiking trails.


Directions: 10207 Fish Hatchery Road, Pecatonica, IL 61063
7.7 miles from Rockford city limits. Highway 70/Kilburn Ave/Trask Bridge Road – 7.7 miles to Eddie Road (next intersection after Wempletown). South 3/4 mile to Fish Hatchery Road. West 1 mile to the preserve entrance.

Driving Directions