Latest Festival News

02/24/2023 Registration goes live for Indiana Audubon members on March 1st! Consider joining today to register 48 hours before the general public.  Join today at

02/19/2023: Dunes Birds in Art is back for 2023.  Visit the Birds in Art page to learn more, or enter your piece. Dune Birds in Art is a Collection of artists celebrating the amazing bird life in the Indiana Dunes area. The exhibit is free to the public and debuts May 10th from 6-8pm CT at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.  

01/20/2023 Today is the day! The entire 2023 Dunes Birding Festival program schedule is now online. There are over 150 trips, workshops, and events planned at this year's festival. Check it out Here.

01/05/2023 Happy New Year!  The Indiana Dunes Birding Festival Stewardship Fund offers need-based scholarships for people to attend the festival. Applications are open year round and are reviewed on a rolling basis after January 1 of each festival year.

Click here for the scholarship application. 

12/15/2022 All festival keynotes and headliners have now been announced. Check out the Schedule Announcement Page for the full four day headliner schedule!  Needs based scholarships are available this year. Learn more Here

11/18/2022 Introducing the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival 2023 graphic, featuring the famous American Woodcock!

The American Woodcock is technically a shorebird, but you won't find them near the shore! These long-billed little ones are found in woodlands and shrubby fields. They are famous for their dramatic mating displays in the spring called the "sky dance." The Indiana Dunes is home to many breeding woodcocks and you can see this incredible display at the festival!

IDBF Woodcock swag is available NOW at

We are extremely excited to showcase this species next year! For those die hard IDBF fans- yes, we used the woodcock long ago but it's such a crowd favorite that we decided to bring it back  HUGE thanks to talented artist, Kristina Knowski Arts for the design!

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!