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Peoria Audubon





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Birding Tour of the Illinois River



Peoria Audubon Society


124th Annual National Audubon

Christmas Bird Counts


Saturday, December 16 - Peoria CBC

Saturday, December 23 - Chautauqua CBC

Saturday, December 30 - Chillicothe CBC


Peoria Audubon Society participates in three local Christmas Bird Counts. 


What is a Christmas Bird Count?

Teams of volunteer birders go out "into the field" in a defined area within the 15-mile diameter count circle and take a census of birds.  [Peoria count circle is shown below.  A separate count circle is defined for Chautauqua in Fulton County and for Chillicothe.]  This means that each bird the team sees is identified and counted.  With large flocks, a scientific estimate is made on the number in the flock.  The time and distance traveled (both on foot and in a vehicle) is logged.  Each team is responsible to report on the species they find within their areas. 


At the national level, the count data from the counts - 2621 count circles worldwide last year - are uploaded and entered into a database for establishing statistical and historical trend analysis.  Researchers and private citizens can access the national data.  


Peoria CBC Count Circle (15 miles wide); (Click for Larger)


How do I go on a count?

Contact one (or more) of the following count organizers to go out and count birds.  In each of the identified regions within a count circle, a team leader will contact the team members to get organized and discuss any logistics or answer any questions. 


  • Peoria Count, Dec. 16: Contact Mike Miller 309.273.7312

  • Chautauqua Count, Dec. 23: Contact Rick Fox 309.369.5330

  • Chillicothe Count, Dec. 30: Contact Tracy Fox 309.369.5331


What if I am a novice and not good at identifying a species?

Novice birders are teamed up with people more seasoned at identifying and counting the expected species.  It is a great opportunity for a beginning birder to go out and learn more about the diversity of birds around us.  The pace is leisurely and, although the data is scientifically valid, it is important to take your time and have fun!  Each team determines where and when to take breaks - which takes on an increased importance when the temperatures are low.  Peoria Audubon encourages beginning birders to join in the count.  Each team leader takes pride in making the experience enjoyable for the novices. 


How long have bird counts been conducted?

The Christmas Bird Count, sponsored by the National Audubon Society, is one of the nation's longest-running examples of citizen science.  Started in 1900, the number of local bird counts have have expanded to include  2621 locations in the Western Hemisphere in 2022 (each identified as a 15-mile diameter count circle).  The Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count is the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world!


Keep watching our Calendar of Events for the latest updated information on meetings, field trips and special events. 


Peoria Audubon meetings always feature timely topics and everyone is welcome.  And, the meetings are always FREE!



Public is Always Welcome

Meetings are free and open to the public


Monthly meetings of Peoria Audubon Society are held at 

Forest Park Nature Center in Peoria Heights.

Peoria Audubon Society   

Local Natural Areas Open to Public for Birding

The Peoria Audubon Society is inviting members and visitors on to its conservation properties. The Oak Bluff Savanna Nature Preserve and the Brimfield Railroad Prairie Nature Preserve are now birding hotspots open for public birding.


The Oak Bluff Savanna Nature Preserve is a 22-acre high quality oak woodlands, savanna and hill prairie in Marshall County. It is located about 4 miles southwest of Henry, Illinois; 2 miles west of Route 29 on County Road 1150N. Dozens of warbler species may be found in the preserve during spring and fall migration. Resident birds such as Eastern Bluebird, Indigo Bunting and Baltimore Orioles can be found nesting on the site. Bird Surveys have shown over 150 species of birds utilize this natural area.


Oak Bluff Savanna Nature Preserve


The Brimfield Railroad Prairie Nature Preserve is a 6-acre restored native prairie in Peoria County. It is a ˝ mile long strip near Brimfield that was once railroad right of way, located at 18320 W Forney Road, Brimfield. The Jubilee Prairie Dawgs, a volunteer group dedicated to native prairie restoration, have partnered with Peoria Audubon Society to help maintain this prairie. It contains over 100 native prairie plant species, which are a critical part of the food web for many species of birds, butterflies and bees.


Black Swallowtail on Thistle at Brimfield RR Prairie Nature Preserve


Both of these high quality habitats are listed as protected lands by the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission to assist with the protection of high quality natural areas and habitats of endangered and threatened species.  Peoria Audubon Society is committed to long term conservation of these areas and is excited to share them with the public.


Peoria Audubon Society encourages visitors to record their bird sightings on these properties at eBird.org. Both nature preserves are listed as public birding hotspots. The nature preserves are open for hiking, viewing and enjoying the natural areas. No camping, no fires, no hunting or fishing, no collecting, and no restroom facilities are available.

Visitors are asked to follow “Leave no Trace” principles when visiting Peoria Audubon properties, or any natural area.


Download Press Release (pdf)

Keep watching the Calendar of Events  for details on Peoria Audubon and other local activities.  The public are always welcome!  We would like to see you there!

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