Cedar Glen Eagle Roost and Preserve provides the critical habitats wintering bald eagles need to survive. The preserve includes three miles along the Mississippi River shoreline and three islands. Many distinct habitats are found in the area. including limestone bluffs, upland oak-hickory forests, maple-sycamore glens, cottonwood floodplains, glacial sand hills and prairies. This diversity of habitat results in a great variety of plant and animal life.
Warsaw, in western Illinois, along the Mississippi River (near the intersection of the Missouri, Iowa and Illinois borders)
More than 1,200 acres
To protect the eagles from disturbance, the roost is closed from November 1 to March 1 but open to the public the remainder of the year for hiking, bird watching and exploring. If you plan to visit the preserve, please call ahead to Kibbe Station's Resident Manager, Hank Courtois at (217) 256-4519. The site has several miles of well-kept trails, maps of which are available at Kibbe Station.
January and February are peak eagle-viewing months. While the birds can be seen throughout the area, best viewing is below the dam on either side of the river at Keokuk. Generally, wintering eagles are most actively feeding below the dam, from just after sunrise until late morning. Fort Edwards in Warsaw is also a good viewing location.
Turn south off U.S. Route 136 on the Illinois (east) side of the Mississippi River. Take County Highway 32 three miles toward Warsaw, and the Alice L. Kibbe Life Science Station is on the left.
For a printable map, click here.
In the spring the woods are full of ephemeral wild flowers. Some of the areas contain rare and endangered orchids and Hill's Thistle. The woods contain nice stands of mature oak and hickory tress, and there are nice remnant and restored savanna, hill and tallgrass prairies.
The bald eagle is perhaps the most spectacular inhabitant of the preserve, and many other rare birds can be seen there. These include at least fourteen species listed as endangered or threatened in Illinois, including the little blue heron, barn owl and northern harrier. Cedar Glen also provides essential migratory "stopover" habitat for neotropical songbirds and waterfowl.
Many reptile species also are found here, including the painted turtle and prairie ringneck snake. The nearby Mississippi River harbors 78 fish and 26 mussel species in the vicinity of the preserve, including the monkeyface, pink heelsplitter, three-horn wartyback and washboard. Probably one of the most imperiled groups of organisms — mussels — are protected in the Illinois mussel refuge adjacent to our property. Mammals found here include the red and gray fox, mink, badger and five bat species.
The federally endangered bald eagle, long a symbol of freedom, now has become a symbol of nature's struggle to survive. Unfortunately, as our country's shorelines are developed, and as pesticides, pollution and man's encroachment on natural lands have increased, there are few remaining places where eagles can find the winter habitats they need. In 1974, there were only 791 breeding pairs of this magnificent bird in the lower 48 states.
Today, the bald eagle population is slowly reviving, largely because of the ban on DDT. Researchers estimate that there now are 2,600 breeding pairs in the lower 48 states. However, this apparent victory may be short-lived unless a second threat to eagles can be controlled — loss of habitat. To protect the bald eagle over the long run, what is left of its habitat at places like Cedar Glen Preserve must be saved.
Botany professor Dr. Alice L. Kibbe, upon her retirement in 1964, donated property to Western Illinois University which established the Alice L. Kibbe Life Science Station. The Conservancy acquired the roost, adjacent to Kibbe Station, in 1971 when it was threatened by timbering.
The preserve is owned and managed cooperatively by the Conservancy, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Western Illinois University (WIU). Local volunteers assist in providing stewardship for the preserve. During the spring and summer months, WIU conducts biology classes and scientific studies at the preserve.