Illinois Bird Watching and Feeding Information

Illinois is a great place to watch and feed birds. Birdbaths, misters and drippers are especially effective in attracting birds, including non seed-eating species. Species that might be expected at feeders include: American Goldfinch, Carolina Wren, Black-capped Chickadee, Blue Jay, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Cardinal and Mourning Dove. Each of these species is shown in the Nifty Fifty mini-guide.

The Nifty Fifty

The Nifty Fifty is a mini-guide to the birds of Illinois. It includes descriptions, images, video and songs of 50 of the most often observed birds of Illinois. View the guide by clicking here or on the Nifty Fifty link on the left.

If the guide does not load, try downloading the free Flash player.


northern cardinal

Northern Cardinal - Illinois State Bird

Bird feeding

Developing bird-friendly habitat in your yard is the best way to attract a greater variety of species and to support local and migrating species. Native plants provide food and cover, are more insect and disease resistant than non-native species, and may require less water. A list of bird-friendly native plants for Illinois are available by following the link on the left.


Eastern Bluebirds begin nesting in Illinois in early spring and continue well into the summer. One and sometimes two or even three broods are produced.

The Eastern Bluebird has a pleasant, musical song and a similar easy-to-identify flight call. They are most often found in open woodlands, parks, fields, along golf courses and cemeteries. The can be found in suburban areas with adequate open space.


eastern bluebird

Eastern Bluebirds

Bluebirds can be attracted to peanut butter mixes, suet and fruit. Raisins soaked in hot water to soften them are well received. The bluebird's special favorite is mealworms.

In Illinois, nesting commences as early as March and continues well into the summer. One and sometimes two or even three broods are produced.

Visit the bluebird section for detailed information on feeding bluebirds or building your own bluebird house. 


The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only species that regularly visits Illinois. It nests in the state each year, before migrating south. It flies across the Gulf of Mexico twice each year.

Visit the hummingbird section for details on attracting hummingbirds as well as images of all regularly occurring North American hummingbirds.


ruby-throated hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Purple Martins

Purple Martins arrive in Illinois in early spring, returning from their wintering grounds in South America. Check the Purple Martin section for information on martins in Illinois.

Detailed Purple Martin information is available in the Purple Martin section.


purple martin

Purple Martin, male 



Illinois provides birders with a variety of exciting birding locations.

The birding section of this site has tips on birding locations and bird identification. The state-based birding information section provides additional birding related information.

Illinois Resource Information

Evanston North Shore Bird Club

Champaign County Audubon Society
PO Box 882
Urbana, IL 61803-0882

Chicago Audubon Society
5801-C N. Pulaski
Chicago, IL 60646
Fax 773-539-6830

Decatur Audubon Society
PO Box 4571
Decatur, IL 62525

John Wesley Powell Audubon Society
313 N. Main Street
Bloomington, IL 61701

Lake County Audubon Society
PO Box 332
Libertyville, IL 60048

Northwest Illinois Audubon Society
PO Box 771
Freeport, IL 61032

Peoria Audubon Society
1283 N. Crabtree Ct.
East Peoria, IL 61611

Prairie Woods Audubon Society
P.O. Box 1065
Arlington Heights, IL 60006

Sinnissippi Audubon Society
PO Box 7544
Rockford, IL 61126

Thorn Creek Audubon Society
PO Box 895
Park Forest, IL 60466

Additional resources

If you have suggestions for additional resources for watching or feeding birds in Alabama, please submit them using this form. The resource does not need to be a particular location.

Show my name:
Location Information:

Amaze your friends

This species has one of the smallest and hardest to reach breeding ranges of any warbler that nests in the U.S.!

Selecting a field guide

Read about the top field guides.

Choosing a pair of binoculars

Selecting the best pair of binoculars for your specific needs.