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Colored Sands is a 303.9-acre preserve that contains a dedicated Illinois Nature Preserve, the Sand Bluff Bird Observatory and a restored sand prairie. The Nature Preserve in the southern third protects several unique habitats and harbors several Illinois endangered and threatened plant and animal species. The Sand Bluff Bird Observatory is one of the largest small-bird banding facilities in the country. Hiking trails provide access to the preserve and to the river for fishing.