Large Group Visits and Field Trips

Are you part of a club, school teacher, or other organization who is looking for a unique experience?  Sand Bluff Bird Observatory is the place for you!

The banding station is operated entirely by volunteers who band, serve as guides for visitors and present educational programs for various groups. Although Sand Bluff is primarily a research facility, visitors are always welcome to come watch our operation and share in the learning process.

While we are primarily open on the weekends, please fill out the form below to get in contact with our group reservation volunteer.  We would love to find a time that your group can come enjoy the banding.  Whether it’s a House Wren or a Red-tailed-Hawk, the experience of seeing, in hand, the birds that share our planet will long stay in the memory.

For large groups (10+), there is a suggested donation of $5 a person.  This allows us to continue to operate our station and provide these one of a kind educational opportunities for groups like you.

Come see us soon!

When to visit: Morning is best. Really! Birds are most active in the morning and on cloudy days. Fewer birds are caught at mid-day.

Rain or shine: Yes! Overcast days can be very good banding days. The bird observatory is open all weekend, except during constant, heavy rains.

What to wear: Hats, closed shoes, long pants and shirts with long sleeves are recommended – even in hot weather.

Insects: Mosquitos and ticks are often present and very active so use of insect repellent is recommended.

Access to the nets: Only with a certified SBBO staff member are visitors allowed to walk along the nets during banding periods.

Pets: Leashed pets are permitted in the forest preserve, but pets are not permitted in the building or near the nets.

For active visitors: A scenic loop includes a hike through an oak savanna to the sand bluff overlooking the Sugar River.

For less active visitors: A path runs along one of the net runs. The banding facility and the restrooms are handicapped accessible and close to parking.

Nearby facilities: Campsites are two miles away at Sugar River Forest Preserve. Canoeists can put in on the Sugar River in Wisconsin for a trip to Colored Sands or Sugar River Forest Preserves.

Photography: By all means photograph the birds during banding! Just no flash photograph.


Sand Bluff welcomes visitors of all ages to watch our bird banding research. If you are a small group (you and your kids or a couple friends) who want to visit during our normal banding hours on Friday through Sunday, just drop on by. Always call the station before hand (especially if the weather is questionable) to make sure we are at the station banding. If you are looking to schedule a larger group (10+) for a visit, please fill out the form below to get in contact with our group reservation’s volunteer.


  • What is the name of the group or school who is visiting us?
  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
    What day would you like to come out to the station? We cannot guarantee that this day will work with our volunteers, but this gives a great starting point.
  • :
    What is the time you would arrive at Sand Bluff? Remember, early in the day is the best time to see plenty of birds.
  • Please enter a number from 0 to 100.
    About how many people will be visiting the station? For large groups, we have a suggested donation of $5 per person.
  • Please describe the group to be visiting, if you would like to do anything in particular on the visit, special requests, or questions you have for us.
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