Latest Festival News

05/16/2022: The sun sets on another Indiana Dunes Birding Festival. A big THANK YOU goes out to so many people that work behind the scenes to make this event happen each year. From volunteers, guides, speakers, sponsors, and more, it shows the great love for #DunesBirding and showcasing the amazing migration that all of YOU help showcase for new birders each year.

Every single person who joined us this weekend was there because birds bring you something. For some it’s rest and relaxation. For others it’s the simply beauty. For some, the phenomenon of flight inspires, and others make it a lifelong pursuit to open up the mystery boxes of migration. As it’s nature’s ultimate promise to return. But no matter your personal reason that you enjoy birds or why you’ve chose to spend the weekend with us, despite our own difficult times, birds give us hope.

For Monty and Rose, that hope was and still is that despite a century of manifest destiny and our own reckless appetite for advancement, that nature, with or without our help, can find a way to heal those scars and make even the most basic of habitats a home for something special. In our case, a small 2 oz fierce, winged defender of all things sand.

Just as has happened for a millennia, the next generation of plovers will be handed the baton to complete that promise to return for the next century and beyond. What Monty and Rose did for the Chicago area was historic. While we may mourn the loss of one bird today, we are happy knowing there are millions more this spring that will complete that promise. And, we promise to be there to help you celebrate migration, conserve great habitats, and spread the joy of birds too.

A special thanks to everyone at our Friday Birds & Brews event. Our hosts, Indiana Audubon, and their IDBF Stewardship Fund (Mumford & Keller Program) will be making a donation to the Great Lakes Piping Plover Recovery Effort from your generosity this weekend. If you'd like to donate individually, you may do so at:

See you all May 18-21, 2023!

Brad Bumgardner, Executive Director
Indiana Audubon

02/22/2022:  Wondering what registration will look like this year with our new system?  Watch this video walkthrough so you're prepared.

Video Link:

Registration begins March 1 @ 10am CT for Indiana Audubon members and March 3 @ 10am for the general public.

02/19/2022: We've got a really cool opportunity and we're raffling it away! You could win...

 2 IDBF 2022 Basic Registration Tickets ($130 value)
 2 Spots to play Wingspan with our keynote speaker, David Lindo THE URBAN BIRDER during the Friday (5/13) "Learn to Play Wingspan" Workshop AND a copy of the Wingspan board game!

Get your raffle tickets now at 
Raffle ends on Sunday, Feb. 27 at 5pm CT. All funds raised will go toward the IDBF Stewardship Fund, which provides grants and scholarships for conservation, education, and research of birds and the environment.

01/26/2022:  The National Park Service has approved an entrance fee for Indiana Dunes National Park (INDU) beginning on March 31, 2022.  These fees will support the increased visitation and pressure on natural and cultural resources since the park's redesignation in 2019.  

The IDBF has an arrangement to cover entrance fees for participants at the state park, but not avenue exists within the federal government.  Participants visiting an INDU birding site will need to acquire an entrance pass in 2022.

There are a variety of park passes available, including both INDU specific passes and the larger interagency park passes.  They include:

INDU Walk/Bike/Boat-in Pass- $15./person
INDU 7 Day Vehicle Pass- $25./car
INDU Annual Pass- $45.

Other passes include:

Interagency Annual Pass- $80.
Annual Senior Pass- $20. (Lifetime Senior Pass- $80)
Military Annual Pass- Free
Access Pass- Free Lifetime Pass

Holders of the following federal land passes will not pay an entrance fee: Annual Interagency Pass, Senior Pass, Veterans, Military and Gold Star Family Pass, 4th Grade Pass, Access Pass (for permanent disability), and the Volunteer Pass.

With many people qualifying for various passes (volunteer, seniors, veterans), and a variety of trip combinations where participants might not need the pass, we will be assisting participants to help each individual purchase their pass if needed, both online at or in-person when you arrive. 

Anyone registering for a van trip that enters the national park will have their entrance covered in the van trip fees. 

01/15/2022:  The entire 2022 Indiana Dunes Birding Festival schedule is now online.  Start planning your experience fort his year's festival. You have over 150 trips, workshops, programs and more to choose from.  See the schedule Here.

01/02/2022:  We recognize that the status and protocols in place for Covid-19 are fluid, but current IDBF participants can expect the following protocol in place for the 2022 Indiana Dunes Birding Festival:

  • All Indiana Audubon staff will be fully vaccinated.
  • The National Park Service mask mandate is in effect for the Indiana Dune Visitor Center.  Additionally, all NPS Rangers will be fully vaccinated.
  • All IDBF guides leading tours with shared transportation (i.e. vans, buses, train) are required to be vaccinated or provide a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours prior to the event.
  • All IDBF participants registering for a tour with shared transportation (vans, busses or train) must be vaccinated or provide a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours prior to the event.
  • All IDBF participants registering for the Saturday night keynote with David Lindo must be vaccinated or provide a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours prior to the event.

Participants can expect social distancing measures will continue to be in effect, similar to 2021 festival, including Birds and Brews being hosted outside again, hand sanitizing stations, and lowered capacity for certain trips.

12/22/2021: The 2022 headliners have all been announced!  Join us May 12-15, 2022. See the full list of keynotes and headliners here!  Watch for the full schedule in January!

06/17/2021: The 2022 Festival Keynote has been announced!  Join us May 12-15, 2022 as we welcome David Lindo, the Urban Birder!  More details to come!  

06/10/2021: Thanks to donors like you, we have over $5,000 available in grants and scholarships available.  Apply today for the Indiana Audubon Mumford & Keller Grants and Scholarship Program!

A big thank you to everyone that made this year's 2019 festival possible!  Over 200 species were seen during the 4 day festival (and pre-festival Wed).  Mark your calendars now for May 12-15, 2022.

05/10/21: The festival is drawing closer each day. If you missed out on online registration, we will be taking walk-ins at the door each morning for 4 day or single day hybrid. We should be able to get most folks into at least one morning field tour, as well as all of the virtual content.  The festival registration table opens each morning at 5:30am.

05/05/21: The IDBF Silent Auction is live!  Check it out at  All items close on May 16th at 8:15pm!

04/19/21:As vaccines roll out, guides are returning for this year's Indiana Dunes Birding Festival 2021. We've recently added some new trips, with festival favorite, and DNR assistant ornithologist, Amy Kearns.
Want to join any of these new trips and are already registered, give us a message at and we're happy to add/switch you! They won't last long!

Pinhook Bog in the Afternoon
Friday 2:00– 5:00pm
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.
Amy Kearns' Dunes Birding
Saturday 7:00 – 11:00am
Explore the best of Indiana Dunes birding with Indiana DNR assistant ornithologist, Amy Kearns. Amy will select her favorite birding sites to maximize the dunes birding experience this morning within a manageable car pool area. We'll be targeting the various warblers, thrushes, flycatchers, and more arriving now in the Indiana Dunes.
Reynold's Creek in the Afternoon
Saturday 2:00 – 5:00pm
Reynold's Creek is quickly becoming the go to spot for secretive grassland and wetland species. From Bobolinks, Brewer's Blackbirds, chats, and open country raptors, there is much to see in this newest Gamebird Habitat Area. Indiana DNR assistant ornithologist, Amy Kearns will explore this great birding area in a special afternoon tour.
Amy Kearns' Dunes Birding
Sunday 7:00 – 11:00am
Explore the best of Indiana Dunes birding with Indiana DNR assistant ornithologist, Amy Kearns. Amy will select her favorite birding sites to maximize the dunes birding experience this morning within a manageable car pool area. We'll be targeting the various warblers, thrushes, flycatchers, and more arriving now in the Indiana Dunes.

04/12/21: Program update: See our new virtual program scheduled for Friday afternoon with The Birders documentary star Diego Calderon.

Only One Visit is Not Enough!

FREE / 2:30-3:30pm / LIVE STREAM/ Presenter: Diego Calderon
Join The Birders documentary star and Colombian birding expert, Diego Calderon, for a fun look at why you should take more than one visit to each of the world's most bird diverse regions, including his own mega rich Colombia.

Catch IAS executive director, Brad Bumgardner, and NPS superintendent, Paul Labovitz on the Bird Watcher's Digest Podcast, Bird Sense.  You can listen on your favorite podcast sharing app or at BirdSense Podcast Page.

03/16/21: Thank you everyone for the enormous response to this year's hybrid festival. We're so excited to see you all!  Registration is live. If you have any issues registering, please contact and we can help you out!

Want access to rare birds during the festival?  Join the Indiana Dunes Bird Sightings group on Telegram. Download the Telegram app and then click Here for the group invite.  

We are aware of early registration issues causing many credit cards to fail. We're working to resolve these as soon as possible. In the meantime, eCheck options do work, and any items in your cart will remain saved for up to 7 days.  We'll provide more updates as they are received.  1:20pm Update: ALL credit card processing should be working now!

03/04/21: The 2021 IDBF is thrilled to welcome Bird Watcher's Digest and Redstart Birding Optics to the festival.  Check them out in the Migration Marketplace all four days, and join them for special programs in the giant tent each day.  5% of all optics sales will go directly to the IDBF Stewardship Fund. Learn more about Bird Watcher's Digest Here 

2/26/21: The 2021 Fine Art print will be debuted during a special edition of Pints & Passerines on March 10th, at 7pm ET/6pm CT.  Take part in trivia, win prizes, and more with us.  Register to join us here.

2/18/2021: The Indiana Dunes National Park has implemented federal mask requirements on NPS property, which can be read Here

2/02/2021: Check out our 2021 Trip Planning Page for all updates and information on how the hybrid and virtual festival will work this year.  

1/22/2021: Work is moving fast towards the 2021 festival. The full schedule of events has been released, and we're working for a safe festival this May!  

The Dune Birds in Art exhibition is being postponed for 2021. We look forward to seeing all of our artists in 2022.

1/08/2021: We're happy to announce the keynote and headliners for the 2021 festival. This year's keynote will occur virtual only, but our headliners will be in the giant tent in-person.  We look forward to seeing you this spring, whether it be in-person/hybrid or virtual.

Congrats to this year's Mumford and Keller Grants and Scholarship Winners.  Annual funding comes from the Indiana Audubon and the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival Conservation and Stewardship Fund.  Here are this year's recipients.  

1. Equipment and materials to establish avian pollinator field study at Wabash Middle School $1000 
2. Assist Sassafras Audubon Society with funding to establish a MOTUS Tower at Goose Pond FWA $1500 
3. Equipment for In-house Lead Testing of Injured Birds including Bald Eagles at Humane Indiana Wildlife $2000 
4. Update MOTUS Tower Frequency at Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary $800 
5. Research funding to test the use of Autonomous recording units and environmental DNA to monitor Marsh Birds $700