Grab your birding guide, binoculars, and walking shoes!

Photo Credit: Cataract, WI

This area hosts a rich variety of bird species year-round, with highlights including the vibrant Belted Kingfisher and impressive Pileated Woodpecker.


Monroe County showcases a diverse array of avian residents year-round, from yellow-bellied flycatchers, brown thrashers, and gray catbirds to the majestic red-headed woodpecker and the melodious bobolink. Noteworthy sightings include the vibrant Belted Kingfisher and the impressive Pileated Woodpecker. The region’s expansive prairies are a haven for numerous butterflies and grassland bird species, adding to its natural allure.

The Big Creek State Fishery Area

The Big Creek State Fishery Area in Cataract is home to a large variety of birds, including yellow-bellied flycatchers, brown thrashers, gray catbirds, eastern bluebirds, and savannah sparrows. Forested areas are home to yellow-bellied sapsuckers, whippoorwills, and the Nashville and black and white warblers.

La Crosse River Trail Prairie State Natural Area

This property is located along the La Crosse River State Trail east and west of Rockland. It features two stretches of dry to dry-mesic sand prairie in a former railroad right-of-way that totals 56 acres. These long, linear remnants lie on a sandy terrace of the La Crosse River and are indicative of the once vast prairie and savanna complex that covered this part of the state. Prairie meadows are in bloom from early spring to the last hard frost of October, attracting numerous species of butterflies and many species of grassland birds including Black and Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Chimney Swift, Least Flycatcher and Eastern Kingbird, Red-headed Woodpecker, Acadian Flycatcher and Purple Martin.

Directions: From the trailhead in Sparta, bike or hike west to reach this SNA in Monroe and La Crosse Counties, for addtional questons and fee information reach out at

La Crosse River State Fishery Area

This 457-acre property is northeast of the La Crosse River Trail Prairie State Natural area and is dominated by the La Crosse River. The landscape is ideal for Wild Turkeys, badgers, mink, and red foxes. Shrubby areas along the stream attract Brown Thrashers, Yellow and Common Yellowthroat Warblers while the forests harbor a variety of woodpeckers, warblers, and the Hermit Thrush. Blue-winged, Golden-winged, and Chestnut-sided Warblers nest on this property along with Yellow-rumped Warblers. If you like to fish for trout, or just relax along the river, this property is a great place to visit.

Other birds include the Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Wood Pewee, Eastern Kingbird, Northern Flicker, Long-billed Marsh, Sedge Wren, Pileated Woodpecker, Acadian Flycatcher and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

Directions: From Sparta, go 2 miles northeast on Hwy 21 to Angelo, then 2 miles north on Cty I, for addtional questons and fee information reach out at



124 N. Court St.
Sparta, WI 54656
Monroe County, WI

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