Birding with Friends 

Join birding expert Russ Reed for a guided bird-spotting adventure through the Watershed's three native habitats. Open to all ages, Watershed birding walks guide novice through veteran birders to catch glimpses of gorgeous bird species, where to look for them, and when they're most likely to be spotted. Photographers, Birding With Friends is a great way to get an edge for your next incredible capture! For more information on this year's scheduled birding events, check the Watershed's event calendar

Birding with Friends is a diverse program that consists of three primary activities: Great Backyard Bird Count, Christmas Bird Count, and Bird Walks during Spring Migration in April, May, and June - Thurday and Saturday from 7 AM - 9 AM. Birders can help us track and understand local bird populations by reporting observations to eBird. 

Browse the gallery below for a sneak peek at the species you may see while Birding With Friends.  All photos taken at the Watershed Nature Center! 


Jack McCall: Natures Legacy

It's impossible to describe the Watershed's birding program without mentioning our late, beloved friend and founding member, Jack McCall. John “Jack” McCall came to the Edwardsville area in 1965 to teach in the Psychology Department at the newly opened campus of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.  Jack’s love of nature (and especially birds) had been formed at a young age in rural North Carolina.  After moving to Edwardsville, Jack began exploring the Metro East’s natural areas. It wasn’t long before he joined the local Audubon Society and the Sierra Club.  He became a “birder” and went on outings whenever time permitted.

After retiring from SIUE in 1989, Jack had more hours to pursue his love of nature. At this time, the vision of the Watershed was forming under the leadership of John and Kay Kendall.  Edwardsville’s old sewage lagoon had great possibilities as a “passive park”, and Jack joined many others in helping achieve the Kendalls’ vision of a nature preserve in Edwardsville.  During his retirement years Jack focused his attention on the bird life at Watershed:

  • improving the habitat
  • building and putting up nesting boxes
  • educating people about birds
  • writing articles for the newsletter
  • leading bird walks
  • posting the monthly and yearly list of birds seen/heard
  • keeping extensive records on bird sightings for over twenty years

He was out at Watershed at least once a week for years checking on the bird life. He passed away on April 9, 2015 and enjoyed a final trek on the trails one month before his death. He is survived by wife Ginger, their children, and grand kids - who all love and support the Watershed Nature Center. 

Jack delights in one of his many birding walks.

Jack delights in one of his many birding walks.