From cardinals to turkeys to Canada geese, discover 102 beautiful regional bird species in Birds of Chicago.
Birds of Chicago highlights 115 preserved native Illinois bird specimens from the Museum’s ornithology collection. Many of these specimens date back to the early 1900s and range in age, size, color, and rarity.
Learn about woodland, grassland, and wetland birds, as well as birds that have adapted to urban environments. Interact with touch screens to see more information, view videos, listen to calls, and learn about conservation initiatives undertaken in the region.
A Closer Look
In the Midst of Migration
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 skills.
Bird identification guide books are a helpful resource for learning to distinguish different bird species. There are also apps to help with bird identification, including:
Want to get started with birdwatching? Click the button below to download our list of nine common birds you’re likely to spot in the Chicagoland area!
The species highlighted in Birds of Chicago are some of the same species you can experience in your own backyard, your local park, or even on the Nature Museum grounds! Want to learn more about them? Check out Curious By Nature below to go on a bird walk around the Nature Museum with Geoff Williamson from the Chicago Ornithological Society.
Intrigued by owls and hawks? Learn more about birds of prey in the Curious By Nature episode below!