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Birds of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve

Located in the Driftless area of southwest Wisconsin, the Kickapoo Valley Reserve offers 8,600 acres of forest, wetland, open, and grassland ecosystems.  

The large forested areas within the Reserve provide habitat for scarlet tanagers, ovenbirds, wood thrushes, and many other species sensitive to forest fragmentation; sensitive species including Kentucky warblers and acadian flycatchers. Louisiana waterthrushes can be found along the forested corridor of the Kickapoo River and its tributaries. Cerulean warbler, hooded warbler, worm-eating warbler, and red-shouldered hawk species are rare but have been reported on the Reserve.

Some species normally found farther to the north have been observed during the nesting season in the cooler microclimate of the forested areas. These include winter wren, northern parulas, red-breasted nuthatches, and broad-winged hawks. Conifer stands of large hemlocks and white pines embedded within the extensive hardwood forests have also provided breeding habitat for black-throated green warblers and, more rarely, pine warblers, Blackburnian warblers, and blue-headed vireos. 

More open habitats within the Reserve have produced reports of Bell’s vireo, Henslow’s sparrow, and dickcissel. Winter species include golden eagles, occasional reports of northern goshawks, and rare sightings of red crossbills, white-winged crossbills, and bohemian waxwings.  


Connecticut Warber (photo by Dan Jackson) sitting on a branch
Given this varied list of species and habitats, the Reserve has been recognized as a National Natural Landmark through the National Park Service and designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) by the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative, Bird Life International, and the National Audubon Society


The Kickapoo Reserve Management Board acknowledges that the state and federal lands that comprise the Reserve fall within the ancestral homelands of First Nations people including the Hooçak Nation. We recognize the sovereignty of the Hooçak and other First Nations and will work towards a shared future by continuing to create collaborative opportunities to protect and preserve these lands.

Kickapoo Valley Reserve | S3661 State Highway 131 | La Farge, Wisconsin 54639 
Phone: 608-625-2960 | FAX: 608-625-2962

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