Chicago is positioned in one of the main bird migratory routes in North America, called the Mississippi Flyway. Natural areas along this route such as Chicago’s Lakefront, green spaces, and regional forest preserves, provide important rest stops for birds along their journey. Just as hundreds of species fly through the region, there are numerous species that live here year-round. Bird watching is a great activity to connect people and nature. It can be done at home or in a local natural area. And it’s an activity that kids and adults alike can participate in and develop their skill as much as they want.
At the Nature Museum, the Birds of Chicago exhibit features 115 bird species found in the Chicago region. All the specimens are from the museum’s ornithology collection.
If you would like to learn more about bird watching, there are local and national organizations that specialize in birding and offer a community of naturalists and scientists to learn from.
- Chicago Ornithological Society
- Chicago Audubon Society
- Illinois Ornithological Society
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- National Audubon Society
- Bird Watcher’s Digest – Illinois Bird Watching
- Birds of the Windy City
Bird identification guide books are a helpful resource for learning to distinguish different bird species. There are also apps to help with bird identification.
9 Common Birds in the Chicago Region
Want to learn more about how scientists use observations from birders and other naturalists? Click here to learn about some of the journals in our collection!