group of friends bird watching at Brush Hill Nature Preserve

Enjoy Bird Watching at Brush Hill Nature Preserve

Nestled on the top of the hill in eastern Carbondale is a scenic destination known as Brush Hill Nature Preserve. Spanning nearly twenty acres, this hilly preserve includes a mile-long trail that passes through an array of landscapes. Enjoy upland forests, lowland forests, a seasonal pond, and even a coal pit excavated by the area’s early settlers. You will also spot a variety of animal life along the way! If you enjoy bird watching, Brush Hill is a great place to catch a glimpse of our native species. Here are just a few you can expect to see:

Downy Woodpecker

Downy woodpeckers are active birds that have straight, chiseled bills that look too small for their size. They display checkered black and white feathers, and the males feature red patches on the backs of their heads. During the spring and summer months, these birds make a lot of noise drumming on trees, and they also entertain bird watchers with their whinnying calls.

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar waxwings are native to both Central and North America, and they are identified by their brown heads, soft gray wings, and gray tails with bright yellow tips. These social birds travel in flocks year-round, and they can often be heard at night. Listen for their high-pitched trilled “bzeee” song that only lasts for half a second.

Common Grackle

Common grackles are lanky birds that have long legs and long tails. From a distance, they appear all black, but when seen up close, their glossy purple heads contrast with their bronze iridescent bodies. These birds are often spotted in large flocks, and when searching for food, they peck instead of scratch. Their typical call is a guttural “readle-eak” that is accompanied by clear whistles.


Brush Hill Nature Preserve is just one of the bird watching destinations near The Pointe at SIU. If you are searching for a place to call home, please contact us to arrange a tour. We’d love to show you our amenities firsthand.

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