McHenry County's Big Sit birding event celebrates its 10th year

The Big Sit is an international bird watching event when folks around the world tally the different birds they identify throughout a day. This is the 10th year The Big Sit will be held at Ringwood's Glacial Park on Sunday, Oct. 8.

The concept is simplicity itself: find a good place for bird watching and count all the bird species you see or hear. Adults and children are invited to join in the fun for as little or long as they like anytime between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The Big Sit will take place at the marsh overlook at the north end of the Lost Valley Visitor Center. Take Harts Road west off Route 31 between Ringwood and Richmond, and follow the signs to the Lost Valley Visitor Center parking lot.

People are invited to bring a lawn chair and their binoculars, drinking water, hot drink and snacks. This is an outside event so come dressed for the weather. The Lost Valley Visitor Center will be open so folks will be able to warm up if it is cold in the early morning. Bathrooms are available in the center.

Experienced birders will share views through spotting scopes, and there will be binoculars to borrow for those who do not bring their own.

In 2022, 63 different species of birds were counted at this site, the most ever in the history of The Big Sit in McHenry County. Organizers will share info about the birds that attendees are most likely to see and hear near their homes.

Sponsored by McHenry County Audubon, McHenry County Conservation District, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

For information, visit

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages an unparalleled network of public lands and waters called the National Wildlife Refuge System. With more than 560 refuges spanning the country, this system protects iconic species and provides some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on Earth.

Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge is the system's 561st refuge, established on Nov. 6, 2012. Through partnerships, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service leads the way in developing community-driven conservation solutions that reap ecological and economic benefits for fish, wildlife and people. Within the Refuge System, we work with landowners, Friends groups and local communities.

The mission of Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge is to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural resources, rural character and scenic beauty of the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge and to connect people to these resources.

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