Friday the 14th

Each day consists of tour options and afternoon sessions at our various festival locations as well as live stream. Events and presentations labeled “FREE” are included with the price of general registration. PUBLIC events do not require registration.  Additional fees apply for select tours, workshops, and the Friday and Saturday night events. Please remember, all times are Central Daylight Time (Chicago time).

FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2021

2021 IDBF Trip Planning
2021 Program Guide
2021 Field Trip Directions

Sunrise Birding at Michigan City Harbor

$5 / 5:00 – 10:00am / Leader: Richard Garrett and Bill Sharkey

Dawn birding is amazing in the dunes. Richard and Bill will guide you for sunrise surprises on the beaches along the eastern Indiana Dunes National Park lakefront. From there we’ll explore the dawn chorus in the best migrant hotspots nearby. Space is limited on this new carpool tour. Meet: Washington Park Beach.

Bird Banding 101 from the Indiana Dunes

FREE / 7:00 – 10:00am / Dunes State Park Wilson Shelter + LIVE STREAM

Join experienced bird bander Amy Wilms for a peek into the secret migration moving along Lake Michigan. Participants will have a chance to tour the mist-netting banding site and see bird banding up close and in person (and maybe even help release birds). Techniques of bird banding will also be discussed. Report directly to the state park Wilson Shelter or watch via the Field Live Stream.

Dunes Big Morning Live with John and Karen Lindsey

FREE / 7:00 – 10:00am / LIVE STREAM

See the Indiana Dunes in her spring migration wonder all morning with Birding in Indiana social media stars, John and Karen Lindsey. They will visit some of the best birding sites in the Indiana Dunes live and provide for a virtual birding experience that is truly unique to the Dunes!  Simply select the Dunes Big Morning Live Breakout Room to watch live.

Birds and Blooms of the Heron Rookery Live with Scott and Lindsay Namestnik

FREE / 7:00 – 10:00am / LIVE STREAM

Join birder and botanist, Scott Namestnik for some live birding from the Indiana Dunes National Park this morning.  The morning bird chorus along the Little Calumet River will be highlighted, as well as the great diversity of spring wildflowers in bloom now.  Simply select the Heron Rookery Live Breakout Room to join us.

Costa Rica’s Rancho Naturalista Live with Lifer Nature Tours

FREE / 7:00 – 9:00am / LIVE STREAM

When talking about premier birding lodges, Rancho Naturalista will almost always come up in conversation. Check out why on this special live broadcast virtual birding from Costa Rica.  Rancho is an excellent place to watch hummingbirds with a distant view of the Turrialba volcano.  Expect hummingbirds, chachalacas, tanagers, aracaris and more.  Simply select the Rainforest Birds Live Breakout Room to watch live.

Birding by Bus with Marc and Eliana 

$5 / 6:00 – 10:00am / Leader: Marc Kramer and Eliana Ardila Ardila

Marc & Eliana’s epic road quest to explore birds and nature is over, but you can still join them for a morning of birding by bus in the best migrant hotspots in the Indiana Dunes. We’ll be targeting neo-tropic migrant vireos, warblers, thrushes, and flycatchers this morning, while hoping to find many of the late May specialties in the dunes. Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Dunes Big Morning!

$20 / 6:00am – 12:00pm / Leader: Steve Huggins

Here is your chance to enjoy the fast-paced birding of a Big Day, but all before lunch! Speed around on a fast and furious morning to rack up a morning goal of 100 species. Our guides will choose the best route for a variety of migrating birds each day. A box lunch is offered at the conclusion of the trip. This morning adventure is great for festival returnees and those looking to rack up a big list of dunes migrants and breeding birds. Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Michiana Marsh Meander

$5/ 6:30 – 10:30am / Leader: Cookie Ferguson

Two great wetlands in two great states this morning. Cookie Ferguson will guide folks to both Beverly Shores and Galien River County Park for a look at two special wetlands that play host to herons, rails, and bitterns. Galien River County Park is also host to a great birding canopy tower. A similar tour last year saw Least Bitterns at both sites in one tour! Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Lake County Migrant Traps

$5/ 6:30 – 10:30am / Leader: Matt Kalwasinski

The trip will begin at the popular “migrant trap” known as Forsythe Park (Wolf Lake) in Hammond to search for neotropical migrants along with any waterfowl in the waters of the lake. Depending on water conditions, the trip will visit nearby 129th Street Wetland searching for shorebirds. Otherwise, the trip will seek out more neotropical migrants at another “migrant trap”. Afterwards, participants will be invited to check out a nearby Monk Parakeet nest site. Meet: At the parking lot within Forsythe Park off of 119th Street.

Dunes Warbler Tour

$5 / 6:30-10:30am / Leader: David Rupp with IndiGo Birding Nature Tours

36 regularly occurring warblers can be found during a day of birding the dunes. David Rupp, with IndiGo Birding Nature Tours will seek to fill out our warbler punch card this morning with as many as possible on this specialty tour, visiting the best spots for warblers during this carpool caravan. Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Pinhook Bog

$5/ 7:00– 11:00am / Leader: Matt Igleski  

Pinhook Bog is one of few “true” bogs in the southern Great Lakes. Among the tamarack, blueberries, and insectivorous plants there is also unique birding. This site has both upland forests as well as the lowland floating bog mat that we will explore. The site is normally closed to the public, so you’ll want to pre-register for this carpool tour that often produces Connecticut Warblers. Meet: Pinhook Bog parking lot.

Birding the Dunes with Lifer Nature Tours

$5 / 7:00 – 11:00am / Leader: Lifer Nature Tours

As the official tour company of the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival, our Lifer Nature Tours expert guides will highlight some of the best birding in the dunes area and seek out some of the best birds to be found during the festival. This is not a trip to miss.  Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Hannah and Erik Go Birding

$5/ 7:00 – 11:00am / Leaders: Hannah and Erik Go Birding

Hannah and Erik are a husband/wife bird nerd podcast team that loves to explore, adventure, meet new people, and watch birds. Join them for a fun morning in the dunes area seeking out the peak of spring migration in the dunes in four hours of birding via carpool. All locations will be within the Indiana Dunes State and National Park. Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Meadowbrook Nature Preserve

$5 / 7:00 – 11:00am / Leader: Sarah Barnes

Shirley Heinze’s flagship property also hosts the official offices of this large northwest Indiana land trust.  Sarah Barnes, the SHLT Program Manager, will explore the diversity of habitats and spring migrants just south of the dunes.  Spring warblers, vireos, and thrushes are always dependable here.  Meet: Meadowbrook Nature Preserve.

Indiana Dunes State Park

$5 / 7:30 – 11:00am / Leader: Michael Topp

One of the premier birding sites during the festival! The Dunes State Park is simply great migrant birding. An assortment of warblers, vireos, thrushes, flycatchers, and more can be found here. The Wilson Boardwalk area also plays host to Prothonotary Warblers and the back-dune savannas hosts many Red-headed Woodpeckers. The terrain should remain flat. Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Cowles Bog

$5 / 7:30 – 11:30am / Leader: John Kendall

Cowles Bog is a birding treasure trove and an 8,000-year-old fen. This National Park Service site is home to the birthplace of ecology and is also a varied habitat for a diverse set of migrating birds. The swamp edges can host many migrating warblers, including large Northern Waterthrush numbers. Sandhill Cranes and rails nest throughout the property. Rarities tend to be found at this premier birding destination in the dunes. Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Dunes Heron Rookery

$5/ 8:00 – 11:30am / Leader: Randy Pals

Named for the Great Blue Herons that formerly nested at this inland National Park property, the Heron Rookery is well-known for its outstanding display of spring wildflowers. It is also an excellent place to find uncommon migrating songbirds such as Golden-winged Warbler and Yellow-throated Warbler, but also deep woods specialties such as Pileated Woodpecker and Barred Owl. Expect an array of warblers and thrushes. The trail may be muddy. Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Beverly Shores

$5 / 8:00 – 11:30am / Leader: Annie Aguirre

Visit the woodlands and wetlands that make up the Beverly Shores area in pursuit of nesting and migrant species. Highlight birds may include both Pine and Prairie Warbler, Summer Tanagers, rails, and Sandhill Cranes down near the wetlands. Other woodland, marsh, wetland, and waterfowl species can be expected. Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Reynold’s Creek Wetlands and Prairie

$5 / 8:00 – 11:30am / Leader: Mark Welter

Reynold’s Creek is a newly created gamebird habitat area just miles from Lake Michigan. The recent restoration of warm season grasses has brought an explosion of grassland birds, including Bobolinks, Dickcissels, and Henslow’s Sparrows. Potholes are also being dug for wetland species such as shorebirds and waterfowl. Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Intro to Birding Photography Close-up!

$5 / 8:30 – 11:30am / Leader: Rafi Wilkinson

Local photography expert Rafi Wilkinson will provide a discussion of basic camera settings followed by a photo session with the live birds at the Humane Indiana Wildlife’s wildlife rehab center. Participants will caravan to Humane Indiana Wildlife for some photography time with these amazing ambassadors. Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve

$5 / 8:30 – 11:30am / Leader: Matt Harmon

This one-of-a-kind, mixed-development features over 150 acres of forest, wetland, and prairie restorations. The open meadows and prairies have become home to high numbers of breeding Tree Swallows and bluebirds. This hidden gem is just a few short miles from Chesterton. Great opportunity for close-up looks for beginning birders and photographers. Meet: Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve.

National Park Ranger Birding

$5 / 9:00 – 11:30am / Leader: National Park Service Rangers

Are you new to birding or looking for a more relaxed birding opportunity? Take part in these daily morning bird walks with the rangers from the Indiana Dunes National Park. Each morning this tour will meet at the Visitor Center and walk the often-productive nearby grounds and bike trail towards the Indiana Dunes State Park in search of migrating birds. No carpooling required. Binoculars are also available for borrowing if needed. Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

The Migration Marketplace

PUBLIC/ 11:00 – 4:00pm / Indiana Dunes Visitor Center

Held Friday through Sunday in the big tent outside the festival headquarters, the Migration Marketplace is your one-stop-shop for birding related gear, artwork, and more. You’ll find optics vendors, artwork, bird-feeding specialists, and state and regional conservation organizations all on hand to answer your questions or provide you with the latest in birding equipment. Special vendor programs will take place inside the tent all three days. See the Marketplace schedule for the full list of programs.

Dunes-Calumet Audubon Native Plant Sale

PUBLIC/ 11:00 – 4:00pm / Indiana Dunes Visitor Center

What better way to help the birds than with native planting! Audubon chapters will host this special native plant sale Friday through Sunday at the festival grounds. Some of the plants that will be on hand include royal catchfly, milkweed, wild columbine, and black-eyed Susan. Also, be sure to visit the native plant sale booth for mini workshops. Audubon will have plant experts to help you find the best native plants for your garden.

Festival Headliner: Hannah and Erik Go Birding

Birds Don’t Know They Are Special

FREE/ 11:30 – 12:30pm / Dunes Visitor Center + LIVE STREAM

Birds play a huge part in the economy, ecology, and people’s lives. But—do you think they realize it? Hannah and Erik host a birding podcast and through their travels around the world they have come to realize how large a part birds do play. From supporting tourism in small communities to planting ecosystems, our lives wouldn’t be the same without birds. And despite these facts, birds don’t seem to appreciate or acknowledge that we are even watching them.

Duneland Herpetology: Peculiar Species in a Peculiar Landscape

FREE/ 1:00 – 2:00pm / LIVE STREAM/ Presenter: Nate Engbrecht

From lizards without legs to the Great Lakes’ smallest salamander, this presentation will feature Indiana DNR Herpetologist Nate Engbrecht as he discusses some of the more bizarre and intriguing amphibians and reptiles inhabiting the Indiana Dunes National Park.

Bats of Indiana and the Great Lakes

FREE/ 1:00 – 2:00pm / LIVE STREAM/ Presenter: Jeremy Sheets

Many species of bats are known to be found in the dunes. Just as thousands of birds can be found migrating out to or from the lake, the careful observer may notice the migratory bats that utilize the southern shore of Lake Michigan. Join Jeremy for a glimpse at the other winged wonders!

The Raptors of Humane Indiana Live!

FREE/ 2:00 – 2:30pm / Dunes Visitor Center + LIVE STREAM/ Presenter: Humane Indiana Wildlife

Join the Humane Indiana Wildlife staff for a socially distant look at live birds of prey moving through the dunes right now. This fun and educational program will discuss the hawks, falcons, and owls that can be seen in the field this week or throughout the year in the Great Lakes region.

A Rare Peek at Rails of the Midwest

FREE/ 2:30 – 3:30pm/ LIVE STREAM/ Presenter: Stephanie Beilke

Rails are a taxonomic family of birds with a tendency to be highly secretive, often dwelling in dense

vegetation. We’ll take a closer look amid the reeds to uncover what there is to know about seven rail species that breed in and migrate through the Great Lakes. Come learn about who would win the award for noisiest rail and the most secretive marsh bird of them all. In addition, we’ll explore what Audubon Great Lakes and partners have learned about how rails and other marsh birds respond to restoration happening right here in the Chicago region.

The Birds (& Animals) From Down Under

FREE/ 2:30 – 3:30pm/ LIVE STREAM/ Presenter: Rick & Debbie Read

In 3 weeks of birding in Australia Rick and Debbie Read saw many new bird families like bowerbirds, honeyeaters, frogmouths and fairywrens, as well as new mammals like platypus and marsupials. How many animals looks like kangaroos, but aren’t? Have you seen a 125-lb bird with a dinosaur-looking head? Should you fear a mammal with a 3-ft wingspan? They’ll show you pictures, sounds and videos from “the land of parrots” that will surprise and amaze you.

Indiana Dunes State Park Afternoon Warblers

$10/ 2:00 – 5:00pm / Leader: Matt Igleski

One of the premier birding sites during the festival! The Dunes State Park is simply great migrant birding. An assortment of warblers, vireos, thrushes, flycatchers, and more can be found here. The Wilson Boardwalk area also plays host to Prothonotary Warblers and the back-dune savannas host many Red-headed Woodpeckers. The terrain covered should remain flat during this afternoon carpool tour. Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Heron Rookery in the Afternoon

$10/ 2:00 – 5:00pm / Leader: Mark Welter

Named for the Great Blue Herons that formerly nested at this inland National Park property, the Heron Rookery is well-known for its outstanding display of spring wildflowers. It is also an excellent place to find uncommon migrating songbirds such as Golden-winged Warbler and Yellow-throated Warbler, but also deep woods specialties such as Pileated Woodpecker and Barred Owl. Expect an array of warblers and thrushes. The trail may be muddy. Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Beverly Shores Great Marsh

$10/ 2:00 – 5:00pm / Leader: Libby Keyes

Explore the wetlands that make up the Beverly Shores area in pursuit of nesting and migrant species. Targets this afternoon will be the secretive rails, bitterns, and cranes that can lurk in the Great Marsh of the dunes. Other wetland species may include Prothonotary Warbler, Alder Flycatcher, and Olive-sided Flycatchers.   Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Pinhook Bog in the Afternoon

$10/ 2:00– 5:00pm / Leader: Amy Kearns

Pinhook Bog is one of few “true” bogs in the southern Great Lakes. Among the tamarack, blueberries, and insectivorous plants there is also unique birding. This site has both upland forests as well as the lowland floating bog mat that we will explore. The site is normally closed to the public, so you’ll want to pre-register for this carpool tour that often produces Connecticut Warblers. Meet: Pinhook Bog parking lot.

A Bloopy Bird Art Workshop

$20/ 3:00 – 5:00pm / Brincka Cross Gardens/ Presenter: Joe Feliciano

Join our festival birds and brews artist for a hands-on art workshop. Joe will take a light-hearted cartoonist look to approaching bird drawings. Snacks and refreshments will be available. Participants report directly to the Brincka Cross Gardens for this special workshop, which requires advance registration.

Birds and Brews & 5th Annual Bird Calling Competition!

$10 / 6:00 – 9:00pm / Indiana Dunes Visitor Center + LIVE STREAM

It’s our official birders social event! Join other participants for an evening of great food, drinks, trivia, prizes, and more. Try our special bird fest beer and cider or meet a new birder from around the Great Lakes region. Tonight, we will also feature the annual bird calling competition after 7pm. Bring your best call for hundreds of dollars in prizes! Registration includes a pizza, salad, and breadsticks from Val's Famous Pizza & Grinders. Note: this year’s event takes place in the outdoor tent, with capacity limits to ensure safety.

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