A Birdwatcher's Wonderland
More than 190 species of birds have been sighted in the prairie, wetland, shrubland, and oak savanna habitats in Orland Grassland's 960 rolling acres. Each ecosystem provides a habitat for many threatened and endangered birds of the Chicago Wilderness Region. In April 2017, this site was officially designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon.
Discover the birds that dwell on the prairie, including the Grasshopper Sparrow, Bobolink, Sedge Wren, Dickcissel, Eastern Meadowlark, Northern Harrier, Henslow's Sparrow, and Short-eared Owl.
Or observe birds such as the Black-billed Cuckoo, Brown Thrashers, Willow Flycatchers, Field Sparrows, Yellow-breasted Chats, and Eastern Kingbirds in shrubland and savanna habitats.
In the wetlands, you may come across the American Bittern, Pied-billed Grebe, Wilson's Snipe, Wilson's Phalathrope, Marsh Wren, Virginia Rail, Sora, Great Egret, and Caspian Tern.
The woodlands are home to the American Woodcock, Yellow-bill Cuckoo, and Northern Flicker.
In migration seasons you may catch sight of the Solitary Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Smith's Longspur, and Rusty Blackbird.
Grassland Volunteers have compiled a bird checklist, listing 141 species, which is available here.
Orland Grassland finishes first overall
in FPCC 'Bird the Preserves' competition
Led by Mike McNamee, the grassland's birder extraordinaire, Orland Grassland was honored for taking first place overall in the Forest Preserves of Cook County's 2016 "Bird the Preserves" competition.
The OG team, known as the Orland Meadowlarks, came in first in the race to see which preserve could attract the greatest number of new birders to its bird walks in 2016, and second in the contest to determine which preserve's birders could identify the most avian species.
The Orland Meadowlarks were narrowly edged out of first place in the species count by the Busse Buffleheads, representing Ned Brown Preserve in northwest Cook County. The Buffleheads identified 199 species to the Meadowlarks' 194.
Trailing in third place was the team from the Spring Creek Forest Preserve which identified 179 species.
The Orland Meadowlarks also received "outstanding achievement" recognition for spotting 19 different waterfowl species (third place), seven species of wading birds (tied for first place), 15 raptor species (tied for second place), 17 species of shore birds (first place), and 17 species from the sparrow family (first place).
Bird the Preserves" was part of the FPCC's 100th Year celebration.