Located just north of Route 88 and west of Route 355 in DuPage County, Herrick Lake and Danada West Forest Preserves contain a 19-acre lake, shrublands, wetlands, open fields, restored prairie, retention ponds, streams and woodlands with vernal ponds.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County began acquiring portions of the Herrick Lake property in 1925, completing the preserve by the 1970s.
Danada West was purchased in the same time period. The eastern half of that preserve serves an equestrian community.

Ornithological Summary

This Important Bird Area contains one of the most diverse assemblages of breeding shrubland and riparian species in the region. Willow Flycatcher and Field Sparrow are unusually abundant as breeders along with an unusual variety of warbler species including American Redstart, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Ovenbird, Hooded Warbler and Blue-winged Warbler. The site has hosted the only pair of confirmed breeding Acadian Flycatcher in DuPage County.

Grassland nesters include Bobolink, Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow, Sedge Wren and Dickcissel. Breeding shrubland species include Yellow-breasted Chat and Orchard Oriole.

Herons nest in a rookery in a dense stand of trees growing in and around a wetland.

In fall, the site attracts migrating sparrows that, in the past, have included state record numbers of Fox Sparrow and near record numbers of White-throated Sparrow.

This site was chosen as an IBA because it met the criteria for wading birds and breeding Willow Flycatcher.

Conservation Issues

Extensive buckthorn removal in some areas of the preserve has left very little understory cover for many breeding species of concern including Ovenbird and Wood Thrush, which have one of their largest strongholds in the county at this preserve. Riparian-like forest habitat important for many species is being replaced with savanna-like habitat. However, the Forest Preserve District is considering planting more shrubs and understory.

Trails are occasionally cleared 6 to 10 feet from the edges, including during the breeding season. The practice has destroyed nests of a few species of concern.

Habitat

Habitats include oak woodlands, streams, wetlands, retention ponds, vernal ponds, grasslands and open fields. One large marsh and a couple of smaller marshes are present in more remote areas of the site.

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