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Local Birding

Banner Marsh State Fish & Wildlife Area

Directions From the Interstate 474-Highway 24 interchange in Bartonville, go about 14 miles south on Highway 24. A series of entrances are on the south side of the road.


Illinois DNR site map

eBird Birding Hotspot Map: Bell's Landing

eBird Birding Hotspot Map: Main Access

Google Map to Banner Marsh


Description Formerly farmed and strip mined, the site is being restored to freshwater marsh. The site’s 200 lakes provide habitat for migrating and local waterfowl, as well as numerous species of fish and other wildlife.

Illinois DNR Banner Marsh web page
Suggested Route/Stops East Point Access -- Northern-most entrance. Boat ramp and restrooms. Several marshy areas and a closed road that provides hiking access to the levees and the river. Foot trails that run east off the closed road provide close access to cattail marsh areas.

Main Access -- Main access area entrance. Boat ramp and restrooms. Large deepwater lake.

Wetlands Access -- Undeveloped wetland area entrance.

Bell's Landing/Pump House Lake -- Southern-most entrance. Waterfowl refuge area and other shallow impoundments. Wet meadows and prairie restoration areas make this area the most diverse birding spot.

Commonly Seen Birds Spring/Fall -- Good variety of ducks and coots by the thousands. Occasional shorebirds, waders including Cattle Egrets and Little Blue Herons(in fall), and sora rails. Sparrows and other birds of open fields. Ospreys and Northern Harriers.

Summer -- Cormorants, Sora, American Bittern and other waders. Grassland species including nesting Bobolinks and Loggerhead Shrikes some years.

Winter -- Bald Eagles. Duck variety remains high until the water freezes. Short-eared Owls have wintered in the fields near Pump House Lake in recent years.

Specialties Eurasian tree sparrows increasingly common.
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