International Migratory Bird Day lands Saturday in Glen Ellyn

  • Bird walks are part of the fun at the International Migratory Bird Day Celebration at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn.

    Bird walks are part of the fun at the International Migratory Bird Day Celebration at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn. Courtesy of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

Updated 5/8/2018 3:11 PM

Birds from Central and South America are passing through DuPage County on their way to nesting grounds to the north.

On Saturday, visitors to Willowbrook Wildlife Center will have the opportunity to see some of the long-distance travelers when the Glen Ellyn facility hosts its annual International Migratory Bird Day. The free event is scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon May 12 at the center, 525 S. Park Blvd.

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Willowbrook naturalist Leigh Korreck said the center has been hosting the bird-watching event for more than a decade.

"We want to give everybody a chance to get out and see this natural phenomenon," Korreck said. "It's really one of the most wondrous things that we get to observe in nature."

A variety of activities for kids and adults will be available during the event.

Bird walks are scheduled for 8 to 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. to noon. New birders are welcome to participate and get tips during the naturalist-led hikes.

A bird-banding demonstration from 9 to 11 a.m. will show how marking birds with an identifying band helps scientists worldwide.

"It has been very useful in seeing what birds are showing up where," Korreck said. "It's one of the earliest ways that we understood migratory pathways."

Meanwhile, Willowbrook is going to have a Big Sit bird count from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the butterfly garden. Beginners and experts alike will sit in a 17-foot circle during the activity and see how many bird species they spot.


"The Big Sit is another way to watch birds," Korreck said. "You get a bunch of birders together and we watch for birds. And we make a running list through the whole day."

She said people are free to join the circle and leave it whenever they want. A district staff member or a volunteer will be in the circle at all times inviting people to participate.

Finally, a variety of crafts and activities for all ages will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to noon inside the visitor center. Eventgoers can make a bird with a paper plate or origami, or participate in a "bird hunt."

Korreck says she hopes residents attending International Migratory Bird Day for the first time leave with an understanding of how many birds are around us.


"As long as you keep an open eye for them, you're going to see things you never thought possible," she said.

Visitors should bring binoculars to International Migratory Bird Day, if possible; a limited number will be available for loan.

For information, call Willowbrook at (630) 942-6200 or visit

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