2021 IDBF Trip Planning

2021 Indiana Dunes Birding Festival Trip Planning

Spring of 2021 promises the arrival of amazing migrating birds and phenomenal birding during the 7th Annual Indiana Dunes Birding Festival. The festival is headquartered at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center in Porter, Indiana and will take place May 13- 16, 2021.

After a tough 2020 where many in-person events were halted, including the 2020 birding festival, the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival steering committee has retooled and is planning a 2021 festival with new event concepts and safety protocols in mind.

In partnership with the Indiana Dunes National Park, we are building a truly innovative hybrid festival event which will allow for both in-person and virtual activities over the course of the festival. We’ll be bringing back many of our ever-popular field trips and speakers while also adding new places and faces to the schedule too! Our trip leaders and speakers will be joining us from here in the dunes area as well as from around the country and beyond.

This one-of-a-kind festival can now be enjoyed in a way that best suits you and we hope that you will join us!

Registrants will have the option to choose between two packages:

  • Virtual registration includes access to unique live streamed birding trips as well as all programs streamed virtually over the four-day festival. 
  • Hybrid registrations includes all virtual programing and content PLUS in-person field trips and programs including access to outdoor social events and the Youth and Family Birding Day at Indiana Dunes State Park. Participants are required to comply with mask and social distancing guidelines set by the CDC as well as any state and local regulations in place at the time of the event.

All participants will receive a special registration grab bag either in person or via mail, depending on your registration.

Visit our registration page for the updated breakdown and timeline for registration.  

Field Trips
IDBF field trips will feel a little different this year. No vans or buses will be used in 2021.  All field trips will caravan to the birding site in separate vehicles, or meet on site for select trips. A page with map links to each birding destination will be provided to participants.

Virtual birding trips are stand-alone virtual tours that are not a broadcast of an existing group birding trip or pre-recorded content.

All CDC guidelines for social distancing and masking are expected to continue for the 2021 Indiana Dunes Birding Festival. 

Birds & Brews
The 2021 Birds & Brews and annual bird calling competition is slated for the outdoor marketplace tent on Friday, May 13.  The evening will remain outdoors with a cash bar and served pizza. The bird calling competition will be streamed live.  Details TBA.

Keynote Program
Our Saturday keynote program is available to add-on to any registration. The 2021 Keynote with Scott Weidensaul is expected to be virtual for all registrants. In lieu of our traditional dinner and program, all participants will receive a complimentary copy of Scott's new book, A World on the Wing.  Copies will be available for pick up at the festival, or mailed to virtual participants before the festival. Additionally, the silent auction will remain online, like last year.  Funds raised at the silent auction support bird conservation, education, and research through the Indiana Audubon Mumford & Keller Grants and Scholarship Program.

Dune Birds in Art
Dune Birds in Art has been cancelled for 2021. We look forward to being able to bring it back in 2022.  

Festival Host Hotels and Camping
Both festival host hotels have made pledges committing to enhanced cleaning procedures to maximize the safety of all festival participants.  Both Indiana Dunes National Park and Indiana Dunes State Park offer camping options.  Note: Indiana Dunes State Park is currently FULL for the festival.  

Festival Swag
Most of the items available at this year's event will also be available to purchase online. Consider visiting the online store to pre-order your favorite festival shirt or print to avoid spending time in line at the festival and to get your favorite items before they’re gone!

Other Guidelines
The Indiana Audubon is working hand in hand with both the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and National Park Service to plan a safe 2021 birding experience, no matter your preference. Additionally, as site hosts, the Indiana Dunes Tourism is assisting us in conforming this great festival with current Department of Health and state gathering restrictions.  The Indiana Dunes National Park has implemented federal mask requirements on NPS property, which can be read Here

At Indiana Dunes National Park, face masks are now required in all park buildings and facilities, including the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center, the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education and the pavilion at the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk. Masks are also required on NPS-managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including on narrow or busy trails, overlooks, and in historic homes.

As with all things with this pandemic, the knowledge we have is updated from time to time so our schedule and options remain fluid as we adjust to the constant changes with the pandemic. We remain hopeful for a great experience in 2021. We look forward to seeing you, no matter how you attend!