Clark Street Beach Bird Sanctuary

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            In 2012, Northwestern announced that it would be building a Visitor Center adjacent to its southern border with Evanston.  The construction project would doom a wild patch of land where cottonwood, hackberry and box elder trees along with shrubby sand willows had grown up at the boundary after Northwestern finished its lakefill in the 1960s.  This scrubby patch of unattended land became a bird sanctuary, attracted migrating warblers and dragonflies and nesting warbling vireos and Baltimore Orioles and, of course, birdwatchers.


 Under Evanston’s city ordinance, Northwestern would be required to pay Evanston for every tree it removed. The amount totaled $173,850. ENSBC member Libby Hill requested that the money to be invested in a replacement sanctuary. She and Judy Pollock worked with city staff to determine the location. The most logical decision was to take advantage of the remnant area and expand it onto Clark Street Beach, a total of 2 acres. The Evanston landscape firm of Kettlekamp and Kettlekamp was selected to draw up plans.  Hearings were held, the idea was supported, the new sanctuary received a name, and planting took place during September and October, 2015, just three years after the original proposal of the idea.  The ENSBC board voted to adopt the Sanctuary to make sure that maintenance and monitoring would be continual activities in cooperation with the City.



The Clark Street Beach Bird Sanctuary (CSBBS) is located on Sheridan Road and Clark Street just south of the westward curve of Sheridan Road at the NU campus on the east side of the road next to a bike path.  It is just north of the Clark Street beach house.  Parking is available on the street or is free in Northwestern University parking lots after 4 pm weekdays and all day on Saturday and Sunday.  (FOR THE TIME-BEING, NORTHWESTERN PARKING LOTS ARE FREE TO THE PUBLIC AT ALL TIMES.)

The sanctuary is fenced in and volunteers and bird and site  monitors have access inside. Birds are easily viewed from beyond the fence.  CSBBS is a hot spot on ebird.


HOW YOU CAN HELP:  Become a volunteer, become a bird monitor, contribute to support CSBBS


         spread mulch to keep plant roots moist, seed, weed and trim plants, water.  

    This year, due to Covid-19, our workdays will be limited to 10 people.  We will have "mini-workdays,"  that is, in order to get the same amount of work accomplished, with fewer people at each workday, we will be having more, but smaller, groups.  To sign up to be included on the workday calendar, email Volunteer Steward Julie Dorfman,



CSBBS IS AN EBIRD HOTSPOT!   Visit CSBBS any time and report your sightings on ebird.  If you don't know how to use ebird, contact and we will get you online and help you learn how to use it (it's simple.)  


Like us on Facebook: and watch the page for announcements

Watch the kiosk for information on plants, birds, and events.  


Here's how: If you would like to donate to Clark Street Beach Bird Sanctuary to help to expand and maintain the plantings, provide educational materials, here's how:

Donations can be made by check.

Make out the check to Evanston North Shore Bird Club

Write Clark Street Beach Bird Sanctuary clearly on the check subject or memo line.

Send the check to ENSBC, 2715 Woodland Rd. Evanston, IL 60201. The check will be deposited into a special fund in Evanston North Shore Bird club.


Plant a garden that provides food and shelter for the birds  (this link includes suggestions that work in Evanston yards and parks):

Prevent birds from hitting your windows:

Keep your cat indoors:

More information about how you can help birds