Indiana Dunes Bird Watching
Have you ever seen a Gold-winged Warbler or a Black-legged Kittiwake? If not, the Indiana Dunes is the perfect place to see them or any one of more than 350 different bird species that either inhabit or migrate through the Indiana Dunes.
The wide variety of habitats - beaches, marshes, forests, wetlands and dunes - make the Indiana Dunes one of the best areas in the Midwest for birding. Although the migrations of spring and fall bring an abundance of birds to the region, every season offers great bird watching opportunities.
The Indiana Dunes State Park offers many birding programs, including an 8-week beginning birding class. International Migratory Bird Day features special programs all weekend. Visitors can get more information and find out about recent bird sightings at the Nature Center.
There are many terrific places for birding in the Indiana Dunes State Park. The bird observation tower, the beach, the marshwood boundary and several of the hiking trails are optimum places to view birds. In the summer, you might see a bald eagle soaring above the shoreline. In the winter, spotting a Snowy Owl is an incredible experience.
The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore also offers excellent birding opportunities. With its wooded edges, savannas, marshes and swamp, Cowles Bog is a great site for viewing an American Woodcock, Sora or Virginia Rail. Visitors to West Beach might spot a Hairy Woodpecker. Long Lake has scores of waterfowl and the Heron Rookery is the place to see Great Blue Herons in the spring and summer.
Spring hawk flights over the high dunes are an amazing sight. At the peak of migration in March and April, as many as 300 birds can be seen in a single day. Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk is a popular location for viewing the migratory birds that follow the shoreline.
Whether you're a beginning birder or an experienced one, the Indiana Dunes will impress you with all of its birding possibilities!
Header image courtesy of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.