Friday the 18th

Registration to the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival includes an option to sign up for one field trip each morning and inclusion to all workshops, presentations, and social events.  Some premium tours and workshops may have an additional fee due upon registration.  FREE events are free with paid basic registration, with exception of the Dunes Birds in Art Exhibition, the Migration Marketplace, and Youth and Family Birding Day which require no registration to attend.  Please remember, all times are Central Daylight Time (Chicago time).

Download the full festival 2018 guidebook for offline viewing or order your hard copy today!

Orange indicates field trip via car pool or van tour.  Blue indicates indoor presentation, workshop or activity.

Dune Birds in Art Exhibition
FREE / Friday 7:00am-4:30pm / Dunes Visitor Center
Dune Birds in Art is a special 2D and 3D art presentation sponsored by the Indiana Audubon Society, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and Indiana Dunes Tourism.  The juried exhibition features local and regional artists and showcases the Indiana Dunes area’s native avifauna in a myriad of art styles.  The exhibition is available daily in the Visitor Center exhibit room.

Dunes Longshore Flight Count
FREE / Friday 6:00am – 10:00am / Dunes State Park Longshore Tower
It’s the ¼ million bird seasonal survey, one of the largest of its kind on the Great Lakes.  Join us each morning from atop the Indiana Dunes State Park birding platform (by the Beach West Lot) for the morning migration of thousands of birds per day.  In conducive south winds, an assortment of migrants could be flying past.  Blue Jays, waxwings, warblers, orioles, and tanagers should be peaking now.  This has been a one stop shop for annual rarities to fly by too.

Lake Michigan Pelagic Tour I
Fee $59 / Friday 6:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Don Gorney
Join Salmon Hunter Charters and our birding guide for an adventure on Lake Michigan.  Participants will car pool to Michigan City Harbor for a 3 hour ride out into Lake Michigan to explore late migrating waterfowl, such as Red-breasted Mergansers and Common Loons, as well as any migrating land birds that may find themselves out over the water or migrating along the dune beaches.  This tour is weather dependent and in the case of cancellation, refunds will be offered and participants can join any other car pool tour being offered that morning.  

Lake Michigan Pelagic Tour II
Fee $59 / Friday 6:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Kevin Cornell
Join Salmon Hunter Charters  and our birding guide for an adventure on Lake Michigan.  Participants will car pool to Michigan City Harbor for a 3 hour ride out into Lake Michigan to explore late migrating waterfowl, such as Red-breasted Mergansers and Common Loons, as well as any migrating land birds that may find themselves out over the water or migrating along the dune beaches.  This tour is weather dependent and in the case of cancellation, refunds will be offered and participants can join any other car pool tour being offered that morning.  

Dunes Big Morning! 
Fee $25 / Friday 6:00am – 12:00pm / Leader: Tropical Birding Tours
Here is your chance to enjoy the fast-paced birding of a big day, but all before lunch time!  Speed around with the guides from Tropical Birding on a fast and furious morning to rack up a morning goal of 100 species.  Our van guides will choose the best route for a variety of migrating birds each day.  A box lunch is offered at the conclusion of the tour.  This morning adventure is great for festival returnees and those looking to rack up a big list.

Michiana Marsh Meander (aka the least bittern tour!)
Fee $25/ Friday 6:00am – 10:00am / Leader: Kip Miller
Two great wetlands in two great states this morning.  Kip Miller will guide folks to both Beverly Shores and the Galien River County Park for a look at two special wetlands that play host to herons, rails, and bitterns.  A similar tour last year saw Least Bitterns at both sites in one tour!  The tour will be led by van and a box lunch is offered at the conclusion of the tour.  

Northern Lake County Tour
Fee $25/ Friday 6:30am – 10:30am / Leader: Matt Kalwasinski
This tour will seek out a variety of bird species in Northern Lake County. The trip will first head to the migrant traps of Northwest Indiana seeking out warblers and other passerine species. We'll also visit the nearby 129th Street Wetland area of Wolf Lake looking for shorebirds and waterfowl. Recently, this site has hosted a Snowy Egret throughout the spring and summer. The group may also try for nearby Monk Parakeets. This tour is led by van and includes a box lunch at conclusion of the tour.  

Wolf Lake Area Birding Tour
FREE/ Friday 6:30am – 10:30am / Leader: Stephanie Beilke
Wolf Lake and the adjacent Forsythe Park area a birding oasis on the edge of Chicago.  While we'll be birding in Indiana, the actual lake straddles the state line.  A multitude of birds, including many rarities have showed up here.  It's also a good spot to find Black-crowned Night Herons.  Expect toll road fees during this tour.  

Dunes Birding with Greg Miller!
Fee $25/ Friday 7:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Greg Miller and Amy Hodson
One of the premier birding sites during the festival!  The Dunes SP is simply great migrant birding in the dunes.  An assortment of warblers, vireos, thrushes, flycatchers, and more can be found here.  This special tour will explore this great place with renowned big year birder Greg Miller, aka Brad from the Big Year movie!  The tour will visit via van and offer a box lunch at the completion of the tour.

Dunes Warbler Tour
FREE / Friday 7:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Tyler Stewart
36 regular occurring warblers can be found during a day of birding the dunes.  We'll be seeking to fill our warbler card with as many as possible on this warbler specialty tour, visiting the best spots for warblers during this car pool tour with big year birder Tyler Stewart.

Moraine Nature Preserve Tour
FREE/ Friday 7:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Matt Beatty
The Moraine Nature Preserve is an 800 acre rolling forested landscape located just south of the dunes in what is called the Valparaiso Moraine.  This forested preserve, marked with ravines and shallow wetlands, is a great spring birding destination.  

Dunes Warbler Tour
FREE / Friday 7:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Tyler Stewart
36 regular occurring warblers can be found during a day of birding the dunes.  We'll be seeking to fill our warbler card with as many as possible on this warbler specialty tour, visiting the best spots for warblers during this car pool tour with big year birder Tyler Stewart.

Cowles Bog Tour
FREE / Friday 7:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Fred Wooley
Cowles Bog is a treasure trove of 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.  Kirtland’s Warbler was found here in recent years. 

Seidner Dune & Swale Tour
FREE / Friday 7:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Sarah Barnes
The globally rare dune-and-swale topography and floodplain marsh along the Grand Calumet River can host a variety of birds within this Shirley Heinze Land Trust property.    Habitats to bird include black oak savanna, interdunal wetlands, and the nearby riparian corridor.  For wildflower lovers, expect to see wild lupine and puccoon in full flower.  Egrets, herons, and cormorants are often sighted along the river during the spring and summer.  The Friday tour is car pool  If you'd like to visit via a van tour, check the Thursday listing.

Dunes Heron Rookery 
FREE / Friday 8:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Randy Pals
Named for the Great Blue Herons that formerly nested at this inland 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 Winter Wren and Yellow-throated Warbler, but also deep woods specialties such as Pileated Woodpecker and Barred Owl along the Little Calumet River.  Expect an array of warblers and thrushes as well.  The trail is level but may be muddy in spots.

Indiana Dunes State Park Tour
FREE / Friday 8:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Michael Topp
One of the premier birding sites during the festival!  The Dunes SP is simply great migrant birding in the dunes.  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 fairly flat. 

DuPont Natural Area Tour
FREE/ Friday 8:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Paul Labus
The DuPont Natural Area is owned by the DuPont Corporation and managed by The Nature Conservancy.  It represents a fragment dune and swale habitat to the Great Lakes and is considered globally rare.  An assortment of both plants and animals have been found at this normally closed birding hotspot. Last year King Rails were found on the site. This tour is led by carpool to Lake County.

Beverly Shores Great Marsh Tour
FREE / Friday 8:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Lynea Hinchman
Visit the woodlands and wetlands that make up the Beverly Shores complex in pursuit of both nesting and migrant species. Your guide, Lynea Hinchman, has birded on six continents, and has birded the Dunes for more than 30 years.  Highlight birds may include both Pine and Prairie Warbler, Summer Tanagers, with Sandhill Cranes down near the wetlands.  Other woodland, marsh, wetland, and waterfowl species can be expected. 

Gibson Woods Nature Preserve Tour
$25 / Friday 8:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Loyce Fandrei
Gibson Woods preserves the special dune and swale habitat in northern Lake County, just a few miles from Lake Michigan.  The associated nature preserve and nature center have played host to a large diversity of birds, as well as serving as a shelter for migrating warblers given it's location near some of the more industrialized areas of the region.  This van tour will include a box lunch upon return. (update: this tour changed from car pool to van tour).

Reynold's Creek Prairie and Wetland Tour
FREE / Friday 8:00am – 11:00am / Leader: John Lindsey
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.  We'll carpool a short distance to this new birding site.

Fly Like a Bird Tour
Fee $65/ Friday 9:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Eagle Aircraft
Join the pilots with Eagle Aircraft for a unique perspective on the bird life in the dunes this morning.  You'll carpool a short distance to the Eagle Aircraft hangar for an hour flight over the Indiana Dunes, and many of the best birding sites along the shores of Lake Michigan.  Who knows, you might even ID a bird or two along the way!  These trips have limited space and will fill quickly. 

Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve Tour
FREE / Friday 9:00am – 12:00pm / Leader: Erica Luchik
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.  

Intro to Birding Photography Tour
FREE / Friday 9:00am – 12:00pm / Leader: Rafi Wilkinson
Local photography expert, Rafi Wilkinson, will provide a discussion of basic camera settings followed by a photo session with a few Indiana Dunes bird specialties. Ending with a photo critique and Photoshop tips for improving images post production. Participants will car pool to the state park for some hopeful photography time near the park’s Wilson Shelter.

Migration Marketplace 
FREE/ Friday 10:00am – 4:00pm / Indiana Dunes Visitor Center
Held Friday and Saturday 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, 2D and 3D 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.  Check it out!

Festival Headliner: Jeff Canada
Experience Migration with the Warbler Guide!
FREE/ Friday 11:30am – 12:30pm / Indiana Dunes Visitor Center
Warblers are some of the most highly sought-after birds each year at the festival. This hands-on headliner presentation will explore the many uses and features of the new Warbler Guide App. We will focus on the app but will also include information about the Warbler Guide book, website and foldout guide. At home and in the field, The Warbler Guide (Tom Stephenson & Scott Whittle) is an excellent tool to help you with those difficult Warbler ID’s and for helping beginning birders to learn how to ID Warblers in the field. As our gift, everyone attending the festival this year will receive a copy of the Warbler Guide foldout in their welcome bag.

An Introduction to Spring Warbler ID Workshop
Fee $20/ Friday 1:00pm – 4:00pm / Dunes SP Nature Center/ Presenter: Michael Topp
With 36 regular species, each with it's own amazing color pattern and complex song, warblers are a highly sought after group of birds, but also a difficult family to learn. State expert Michael Topp will highlight the intricacies of warbler ID and help you begin to identify the warblers coming through the dunes right now during this three hour workshop.

Raptors Live!
FREE / Friday 1pm-2pm / Dunes Visitor Center/ Presenter: Lake Milton Raptor Center
Join the Lake Milton Raptor Center for this close-up look at some of the live birds of prey moving through the dunes right now.  This fun and educational program will look at the many hawks, falcons, and even eagles that can be seen in the field this week or throughout the year in the Great Lakes region.  Each day’s program will feature different birds.

World Birding with Tropical Birding Tours
FREE/ Friday 1:00pm – 2:00pm / Douglas Center/ Presenter: Tropical Birding Tours
Join Tropical Birding Tours each afternoon for a look at birding our amazing world.  Each day will feature a different country or region and the amazing birds that can be found there.  From Australia, Costa Rica, South America, and beyond, each day will be something new to learn! 

Afternoon Shorebird Search
Fee $15/ Friday 2:00pm – 4:30pm / Leader: Amy Kearns
Shorebirds are the fickle group of birds who's prime habitat ebbs and flows with the spring rains.  Join IAS board member Amy Kearns for a car pool tour for some of the best spring shorebird sites in the dunes.

Cowles Bog in the Afternoon
Fee $15/ Friday 2:00pm – 4:30pm / Leader: Annie Aguirre
Cowles Bog is a treasure trove of 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.  We'll spend a few hours here this afternoon on this car pool tour.

Indiana Dunes State Park in the Afternoon
Fee $15/ Friday 2:00pm – 4:30pm / Leader: Don Gorney
One of the premier birding sites during the festival!  The Dunes SP is simply great migrant birding in the dunes.  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 fairly flat during this car pool tour.

Bats of the Great Lakes
FREE/ Friday 2:30pm – 3:30pm / Indiana Dunes Visitor Center/ Presenter: Ryan Slack
Bats both haunt and delight us, and as the only flying mammal, draw parallels to the birds they sometimes mimic.  Bat expert and IAS President, Ryan Slack, will highlight the bats of the Great Lakes and some of the research and issues facing these delicate bellwethers for the environment.

A Bubbly Birders Big Year!
FREE/ Friday 2:30pm – 3:30pm / Douglas Center/ Presenter: Amy Hodson
In 2017 Amy Hodson set out on an Indiana Big Year. The goal, to see 300 species of birds and catalog her adventures through an online blog.  By the end of the year, Amy was the first female in Indiana to log 300 species of birds in a single year.  These are her stories!

Woodcut Artwork with Corey Hagelberg
Fee $20 / Friday 3:00pm – 5:00pm / The Craft House/ Presenter: Corey Hagelberg
Corey will guide participants through the art of woodcut birds during this hands on workshop taking place in The Craft House in Chesterton. Learn both traditional wood block cutting, as well as easier to carve latex. You’ll then get a chance to transfer your work to print for a keepsake of your own bird festival visit. The Craft House staff will have an assortment of drink options for participants.

The Spectacular Radiation of Vangas on Madagascar
FREE/ Friday 4:00pm – 5:00pm / Douglas Center/ Presenter: Dr. Sushma Reddy
The island of Madagascar is a natural laboratory of evolution. One such group are the fascinating vangas, shrike like, medium sized birds.  Learn about the birds of this region and the research activities by a Loyola University team.

Planting for the Birds
FREE/ Friday 4:00pm – 5:00pm / Indiana Dunes Visitor Center/ Presenter: Dawn Slack
Attracting birds is far more than putting out bird seed. Join The Nature Conservancy's Dawn Slack for a look at the small things you can do to ensure a bountiful habitat for the birds in your own backyard through native planting and removing the exotic species that abound.
 

Birds and Brews & 3rd Annual Bird Calling Competition!
FREE / Friday 6:00pm / The Craft House
It’s our official birders social event!  Join other participants for a night 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.  A dinner buffet is available at the door. Tonight we will also feature the annual bird calling competition after 7pm.  Bring your best call for hundreds of dollars in prizes!  We take over the upstairs and have a great time. Join us!