From woodpeckers to waterfowl, bald eagles to blackbirds, feathered friends abound in Carroll County and the surrounding region. Abundant woods, wetlands and the Mississippi itself make the area a perfect breeding and hunting ground, and the county is the home of 190 species of birds. Even better, up to 2,500 bald eagles winter along the Mississippi River near the locks and dams. Turbulence created below the dams provides 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 and nesting eagles.
Whether you want a guided birding tour or just a leisurely stroll through one of our many nature preserves, you’ll find a birders paradise here.
Why Carroll County?
Here are just a few reasons bikers should choose to visit Carroll County for a day, a weekend, or even a whole week:
Close to You
Carroll County is within a two-and-a-half hour drive of Chicago, most of Illinois and all of Southern Wisconsin and Eastern Iowa.
You’ll have access to thousands of acres of beautiful parklands and endless miles of dedicated trails, filled with birds and other wildlife.
From laser tag and theater to kayaking and mini-golf, we have all types of entertaining things for you and your family to do.
History and Heritage
Go back in time and visit a blacksmith shop, see furniture from the 1800s, or even watch a working railroad model of Savanna from the Civil War era.
Lodging options from rustic cabins to resorts mean you get more than a place to sleep; where you stay becomes part of the fun!
Great Places to Bird Watch
"Look at that one!" We have many fantastic locations to bird watch on your own or take a guided tour. Carroll County offers a wide variety of places to begin your birding adventure, such as:
Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge
Here you can take a guided tour and view many birds, plants, and other wildlife.
Located along Plum River, this area provides wheelchair accessibility and plenty of viewing areas to watch migrating birds.
Ayers Sand Prairie Nature Preserve
This preserve largely contains sand dunes and blowout communities, and it is also home to many deer, skunks, and various birds.
French Bluff Illinois State Recreational Nature Area
This large forest area is an excellent birding site for interior forest birds, as well as a good site to view spring wildflowers.
Mississippi Palisades State Park
Experience some of the best birding in the state in this 2,400 acre reserve filled with wooded ravines and steep forested bluffs. Numerous overlooks are perfect for watching eagles soar over the Mississippi in the winter or migrating waterfowl in spring and fall. Off the water, you'll find dozens of species, from the pileated woodpecker to 34 species of warbler.