Forest Preserve’s Migration Celebration features hikes, live raptors, vendors and more
Dandy, a broad-winged hawk, will be featured during live raptor presentations at the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Migration Celebration on May 14 at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon. Hoo’s Woods Raptor Center also will bring a barred owl and peregrine falcon to the event. Other activities include bird hikes, crafts, family activities, vendors and a keynote presentation by birder and author Joel Greenberg. (Photo courtesy of Gary Shackelford)

Learn the secrets of migrating birds during the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Migration Celebration set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 14, at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon.

Songbirds migrating from South America pass through the Will County area on their way to breeding grounds in the forests of Canada. These tiny travelers use forest preserves as stopover spots to rest and refuel, and that journey is what is being celebrated. The event also will focus on larger migratory birds, including waterfowl and raptors.

Wisconsin-based Hoo’s Woods Raptor Center is scheduled to bring a barred owl, broad-winged hawk and a peregrine falcon to the event for raptor presentations. The event also will include wildlife photography from local artists, bird seed for sale from The Feed Loft, birdhouses and sculptures for sale from PK’s Wood Things and food truck fare for sale from Lil’ Deb’s Mobile Eats.

Keynote speaker Joel Greenberg will present “On Contested Ground: The Changing Nature of the Prairie Forest Ecotone” at 9 a.m. Attendees will learn how the statuses of plants, birds and other wildlife have changed since Europeans first arrived in 1673.

Ongoing activities at the free, all-ages event will include crafts, family activities and information booths for the Will County Audubon Society and The Nature Foundation of Will County.

“Migration Celebration is a time to celebrate spring and all the birds that are making long journeys to their summer breeding grounds,” said Erin Ward, a Forest Preserve program coordinator. “The forest preserves offer resting grounds for migratory birds and give us a unique opportunity to celebrate and appreciate these magnificent creatures.”

Migration celebration schedule

9-9:45 a.m.: Presentation by keynote speaker Joel Greenberg
9-9:45 a.m.: Guided family bird hike
10-10:30 a.m.: Hoo’s Woods live raptor presentation
10:30-11 a.m.: Mini guided bird hike
10:30-11:45 a.m.: Extended guided bird hike
11-11:30 a.m.: Hoo’s Woods live raptor presentation
Noon-12:30 p.m.: Hoo’s Woods live raptor presentation
12:30-1 p.m.: Mini guided bird hike

Registration is not required. For more information, visit the Forest Preserve District’s website, ReconnectWithNature.org.