Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary

This open space site was formerly owned by Chicago Elmhurst Stone and the Schuetz family.  The 244 acres are partially protected by an Illinois Department of Natural Resources easement and were purchased as two separate parcels in 2000 and 2001 with grants from the Open Lands Trust program at a cost of $4,128,709. 

Your adventure begins at Jelke as you exit the parking lot located off Boncosky Road in Sleepy Hollow onto one of the gravel trails.  Notice the stone council ring to your right.  A pavilion is visible and can be easily accessed from the parking area. (Map It)

Public trails were designed for shared use so that persons on foot, bike, or horseback will be able to travel side by side. As you travel along the designated paths you may encounter wildlife or see many different birds flying above, perched in a tree, or swimming in the ponds. Some of the water features were designed as part of the water quality improvement grant. These water features capture the rainwater and hold it until it can slowly infiltrate through the gravel beds and native plant roots into the ground. This type of absorption cleans the water as it percolates through. Groundwater is the source of the drinking water that comes out of our taps at home.

Fishing is allowed in the two deepest ponds with shallower ponds marked "No Fishing". The shallow ponds are not deep enough for fish to survive but do provide a habitat for frogs and turtles.  

Over one hundred acres have been seeded with native plants in both the dry and wet areas with wet areas receiving plant plugs. These native prairie and wetland plants enrich the bird and wildlife habitat. 

Parts of the sanctuary remained untouched by the restoration and are populated with trees and shrubs. The most notable of these is an enormous cottonwood tree.

This sanctuary is home to a variety of birds and provides a needed resting place for others that are migrating. The Kane County Audubon Society spotted the following birds in the Sanctuary in 2010: Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, Killdeer,  Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitcher, Mourning Dove, Downey Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Kingbird, Swallows, Black-capped Chickadee, House Wren, Robins, Cedar Waxwing, Common Yellowthroat, Song Sparrows, Northern Cardinal, Indigo buntings, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbird, American Goldfinch, and House Sparrows.

The 50 acres directly off Sleepy Hollow Road are a restored wetland complex finished in 2000.  Dundee Township completed this restoration without the use of public funds through a lease arrangement with a private contractor who received wetland mitigation credits in exchange for the restoration and trail construction. The quality of the restoration met Army Corps standards for this type of project.  The lease has ended and the site is now under Township Management. 

A bridge over the creek connects the wetland to a brand new trail system created in 2009 during the restoration of the gravel pit area.  Using grants from IDNR and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the Township was able to completely restore the mined-out areas in the old pit and improve the water quality and flow here at the Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary.

This wildlife Sanctuary was purchased with public funds provided by Dundee Township Taxpayers and restored with additional tax-supported funds. Jelke Creek is open to the public from sunrise to sunset. Dogs are allowed on the property but must be on a leash at all times. 

Nollman addition to Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary
These 23 acres are located across Boncosky Road contiguous to the existing Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary and east of Sleepy Hollow Road.  This parcel contains a mature oak/hickory woodland, five acres of wetlands, a field suitable for restoration as well as a small portion of the  Jelke floodplain, creek, and headwaters.  The Township acquired this parcel using a 50% matching grant awarded through IDNR’s OLT program.  The submitted and approved grant development plan includes the restoration of native species and hiking trails.  This addition ensures excellent habitat for birds, amphibians, and mammals here and in the Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary.

Frequenty Visited Departments