Birding Winnebago County

Sugar River Alder Forest Preserve

Location Information

This 537 acre forest preserve includes a high quality sand prairie. Sand prairie is an unusual habitat in this area. Much of the preserve is designated as an Illinois Nature Preserve. Many unusual and interesting plants and plant communities can be found in the preserve.
Sugar River Alder Forest Preserve
10255 Haas Road
Shirland, Illinois
(815) 877-6100

Species & Habitat

Signature bird & wildlife: The sand prairie is host to breeding Lark and Grasshopper Sparrows. Henslow's Sparrows also nest in the unburned sections of the grassland and sand prairie. Whip-poor-wills and American Woodcocks can be heard calling on spring evenings. Yellow-breasted Chats, Orchard Orioles and White-eyed Vireos nest in the shrubby prairie edges.
Habitats: Woodlands, Sand Prairies, River, and Wetlands.

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: From the parking area on Haas Road the walk is about a mile to reach the high quality sand prairie. Be sure to carry adequate water, sunscreen, insect repellent, etc. Some 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: Mowed Hiking Trails


Directions: 10255 Haas Road, Shirland, IL 61079
12 miles northwest of Rockton. Rockton Road to Forest Preserve Road. West on Forest Preserve Road 1 mile to Hauley Road. North on Hauley Road to Haas Road.

Driving Directions