Bird watching and wildlife viewing are popular recreational activities in Illinois and Carroll County is no exception! Extensive opportunities to do just that can be found here. A leisurely stroll through our many wildlife reserve areas or a guided tour is an excellent way to experience, enjoy, and explore our precious nature areas.
Carroll County hosts more than 190 species of birds. This region is known to be a perfect breeding area for nearly 100 species, including the bald eagle, double-crested cormorant, American white pelican, great blue heron, cattle egret, great egret, and ring-billed gull.
Although birding is a year-round event, the fall and winter are especially exciting. In the fall, the air and water are filled with dozens of varieties of migrating waterfowl, shorebirds, and warblers.
Up to 2,500 bald eagles winter along the Mississippi River near the locks and dams. Turbulence created below the dams provides open water and a smorgasbord of stunned fish for eagles to feast upon. In addition, the wooded bluffs that overlook the Mississippi River are excellent habitat for roosting eagles, and increasingly for nesting.
Bald eagle watches occur throughout January and February along the Mississippi River, but eagles can be seen in large numbers from mid-December through mid-March in any area of open water. It all depends on the winter’s weather conditions. As warm weather arrives, most bald eagles will begin their journey back north to prepare for the nesting season. However, there are an increasing number of bald eagles that reside in the area year-round.