A Little Time and a Keyboard: Rehabilitating Wildlife at Willowbrook Nature Center in Glen Ellyn, IL

Rehabilitating Wildlife at Willowbrook Nature Center in Glen Ellyn, IL

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Willowbrook Nature Center in Glen Ellyn, IL rehabilitates injured native wildlife.

Willowbrook Nature Center in Glen Ellyn, IL serves both as a wild animal rehabilitation center and an educational center. So, Willowbrook Nature Center is the perfect place to contact and bring an injured animal should you discover one. Today, we visited Willowbrook to learn a little more.

Hands-on discovery area for children at the Willowbrook Nature Center.
Hands-on discovery area for children.
Places like Willowbrook provide families with an opportunity to witness science and conservation in action. The educational center is full of many displays including habitats for an impressive variety of rescued animals. There also are hands-on learning materials for children, displays of bird nests, taxidermy animals and more as well as a play area. Of course, we mainly visited to see the animals!

Blanding's turtle at Willowbrook Nature Center in Illinois
Blanding's turtle taking a nap.
One of the first animals we encountered was the endangered Blanding's turtle. The Blanding's turtle above was taking a bit of a snooze during our visit. Quite a few conservation centers in Illinois are working on saving the Blanding's turtle, so it has been quite interesting to see efforts in action all over the region.

Animal viewing area at Willowbrook Nature Center.
Animal viewing area.
After viewing the Blanding's turtle, we encountered indoor bird enclosures. I was truly delighted by how many birds Willowbrook had for viewing. Some were pretty active while we were there. Fun! An indigo bunting, goldfinch, nuthatch, a pair of cedar waxings, blue jays, a cowbird, song sparrow and many more feathered friends provided for a fun educational excursion. I immediately keyed in on the beautiful plumage of a brilliant red cardinal.

Cardinal at Willowbrook Nature Center.
A beautiful sight!
We spent quite a bit of time peeking inside each enclosure identifying birds. Visitors will find a sign detailing a few characteristics of each species, when the bird came into rescue and how he or she was injured.

Song sparrow at Willowbrook Nature Center.
Sweet little song sparrow.
The exhibit area is also home to amphibians and reptiles. You can even peek inside the nursery where baby animals are kept and the area where food is prepared.

Food preparation area and an example of an x-ray at Willowbrook Nature Center.
Food preparation area and an example of an x-ray.
After visiting the bird and reptile exhibit area, we briefly looked at the nests and other displays.

Examples of nests at Willowbrook Nature Center.
Examples of nests.
Outdoors there is an exhibit trail with rehabilitated raptors, a bobcat, a fox and more. Despite the light snow, we were able to still see some of the rescued animals including a bald eagle!

Majestic bald eagle rehabilitated at Willowbrook Nature Center.
Majestic bald eagle.
Amazing look at a red shouldered hawk!

Regal red shouldered hawk rehabilitated at Willowbrook Nature Center.
Regal red shouldered hawk.
On a warmer day, Willowbrook has some hiking trails as well. Additionally, they have a sensory garden and a butterfly garden. We will surely visit again!

Butterfly garden area at Willowbrook Nature Center.
Butterfly garden area.
Willowbrook opened originally as Willowbrook Wildlife Haven in 1952. Originally owned by individuals, it was deeded to the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County in 1956. Of the animals rescued during 2016, 5,555 were returned to the wild or fostered and released. Amazing work!

If you encounter an injured native animal, you may drop off the injured animal during drop off hours. Depending on type of animal and size, I recommend contacting the nature center to learn how best to bring the animal in or if you will need assistance from someone more experienced. For example, adult raptors can cause injury so you will want to contact the nature center for more direction. You can call the nature center daily 9AM-4:30PM at 630-942-6200. Please check the nature center website for information on off hours care. Thank you to Willowbrook Nature Center for all you do for wildlife!

A visit to the Willowbrook Nature Center is well worth it! We will certainly be back!

**Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

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