Birding Winnebago County

Colored Sands Forest Preserve

Location Information

The preserve protects several rare plants and animals. A two mile trail loop goes through a variety of the habitats in the preserve.
Colored Sands Forest Preserve
10602 Haas Road
Durand, Illinois
(815) 877-6100

Species & Habitat

Signature bird & wildlife: This preserve has nesting Henslow's, Lark and Grasshopper Sparrows. On spring evenings in suitable weather, Whip-poor-wills can be heard singing and American Woodcocks heard displaying from the parking lot. Barred Owls are year-round residents. In fall, the preserve is a good place to look for migrating hawks. The Sand Buff Bird Observatory operates a bird banding station on weekends through the spring and fall. Visitors can observe the birds being banded. Each year on Mother's Day weekend the Bird Observatory hosts BirdFest, an educational open house. Visit their website at: for more information.
Rare bird & wildlife: Black-billed Cuckoo and Clay-colored Sparrow
Habitats: Woodlands and Prairie

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: Mosquitoes can be numerous. Please do not tamper with the bird banding nets. Birds captured in the nets must be removed by experienced handlers to avoid serious injury to the birds. 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, visitors center, gift shop/book store, handicap accessible
Other: Picnic tables are available. Visitor Center hours of operation vary please call 815-629-2671 for more inforamtion or visit the website


Other: Just behind the Bird Observatory building a short trail gives access to the Sugar River for fishing and a canoe launch site.
Historical/cultural attributes at or near site: The Sand Bluff Bird Observatory is one of the largest small-bird banding facilities in the country located at Colored Sands Forest Preserve.


Directions: 10602 Haas Road, Durand, IL 61024
Colored Sands is on Haas Road, west of Boswell Road, north of Yale Bridge Road, east of the Sugar River.

Driving Directions