The Heron Rookery on Bakers Lake in Barrington Illinois is a natural beauty of the area. Located on the northwest outskirts of the Village of Barrington motorists drive up and down Route 14 every day passing the lake and might wonder what the odd looking contraption is in the middle of the lake and it’s purpose.
I visited the lake and spent some time watching the bird activity from the Bakers Lake Observation point which is just off Hillside Ave. On a warmer day you can sit on the benches or wander along the trails but it was a little nippy as our temperatures are falling and the wind has picked up.
In the middle of the lake is an island is a utility pole construction that was constructed for the sole purpose of providing a safe environment for the herons to live and breed. It is home to a number of protected breeds of heron and provides over 200 nests. The lake is 112 acres but the nature preserve is 209 acres and does provide a sanctuary for many other birds and wildlife. It was dedicated to the endangered herons in 1984 but underwent renovation in 2000. After Christmas every year Cook County Forest preservation who is responsible for maintaining the area adds used Christmas trees to provide the birds with nesting material.
The Heron Rookery is home to Colonial Nesting Birds; Black-Crowned Night Heron, Great Egret, Double Crested Cormorant and Great Blue Heron.There are many other birds supported by the lake especially during the migration season. Late March and Early April will see the arrival of many of the birds. You will need a pretty good scope to see them. I could see a few flying and resting but later on in the spring the lake will become populated with hundreds of birds.
Bakers Lake is large and would be a temptation for boaters and swimmers but neither are allowed. In the distance you can see a home. There are a few properties that have lake frontage on the west side of the lake, no doubt the scenic views are breathtaking.
Bakers Lake is owned by Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Barrington Park District and Village of Barrington.