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Parks

Bird Haven

Hours of Operation:  Sunrise to Sundown

 

Bird Haven is located on the south side of East Fork Lake near Miller's Grove. Robert Ridgway was a naturalist, scientist, artist, and author. Of more than 500 publications, his "Birds of Middle and North America" is the most extensive and his "Color Standards and Color Nomenclature" is the most renowned. 

He was associated with the Smithsonian Institution for 62 years from age 17 in 1867 when he was appointed zoologist for the Survey of the 40th Parallel until his death at age 79. He was an authority in the field of ornithology. 

He purchased 18 acres in Olney, Illinois, in 1906. In the 1920's this tract is said to have been second only to a large tract in Japan in the number of species of plants it contained. The Ridgway's built a three-room cottage at Bird Haven, where they spent several summers. They sat on the porch to visit with their friends and to listen to the songs of the birds around them. The porch has been reproduced and stands on the cottage site. Dr. Ridgway's grave is marked by a granite boulder. The bronze plaque, with sculpture of birds, read "Robert Ridgway, 1850-1929". Records show that this sanctuary was visited by persons from 48 states and 14 foreign countries, before most of it was destroyed when East Fork Lake was built.