Latest Festival News

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 

09/08/2020: This year's Dune Birds in Art exhibition was moved back to September and is now as an online exhibition. See this year's artwork and the winners Here.

06/08/2020: Thank you to everyone who bid or donated at this year's silent auction online.  The IDBF Stewardship Fund and IAS Mumford and Keller Grants and Scholarship Program will be offering $5,000.00 in grants, scholarships this summer.  Watch for more info soon!

Due to the current situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, Indiana Audubon must unfortunately cancel the 2020 event, scheduled for May 14-17, 2020. We have been monitoring the situation daily, and following the guidance of the CDC, as well as our site partners, it is in the best interest of our speakers, leaders, attendees, staff, and volunteers that we sit this year out and return May 13-16, 2021.

It is with heavy heart that we cancel. It has been amazing to see the outpouring of support from everyone as this issue has been weighing heavily on our hearts and minds. We also want to thank the volunteers and staff that have worked tirelessly to put this year’s event together.

All scheduled trips, programs, workshops, and social events are cancelled for this year. This includes all pre and post festival events as well. The exceptions are:

IDBF Silent Auction: This year’s silent auction will continue online starting Friday May 1, and ending Saturday, May 16 at 8pm (CT). Please note that items not picked up locally after the auction will be shipped, at the cost of the winning bidder. Please consider this when you are bidding.

Dunes Birds in Art: This year’s exhibition has been postponed to August 30-September 26. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend our opening exhibition later this fall. The deadline to submit your art has been extended to July 12. Our exhibition open house will also be postponed to September 13, at 6pm. Many of the same events scheduled that night are taking place on this new date.

Cancelling the event is both a huge disappointment to all that enjoy the marvelous spring migration in the Indiana Dunes, and a major financial setback to the conservation, education, and research projects that Indiana Audubon supports. Please consider the following options available to you.

While it is logistically impossible to transfer your Individual registration to next year, we want to provide the opportunity to donate your registration fees to Indiana Audubon. Next year’s event will be back bigger than what we planned this year. Our keynote speaker, Scott Weidensaul, will be back in 2021, as well as our great leaders and experts.

If you’d like to donate all or part of your registration to Indiana Audubon, simply message us at or at Indiana Dunes Birding Festival, PO Box 820, Chesterton, IN 46304. All donations are tax-deductible. The new CARES Act stimulus package designates a new universal charitable deduction, also known as an “above-the-line” deduction for donations made in 2020. That means taxpayers can easily claim the deduction on their tax forms without having to go through the extra step of itemizing it next year.

If you donate your full registration, you will receive a special code to register for the 2021 event, 72 hours before ANYONE else next year. Additionally, those that donate their registration fees will also go into a drawing for a full 2021 IDBF package, including full priority registration, 4 nights lodging, a Vortex Viper HD (angled 20-60x85) spotting scope with Manfrotto fluid head tripod, a $50 gift basket from Chesterton Feed and Garden, and 2021 festival fine art print and t-shirt. A $2,000 value! The drawing will take place May 18, 2020.

For a full refund of all registration fees paid, you may simply request the full refund at or at Indiana Dunes Birding Festival, PO Box 820, Chesterton, IN 46304. After April 15, we will begin issuing full and partial refunds. Due to the massive number of refunds right now, please anticipate a 3-4-week process for us to issue all refunds. All cancellation and administrative fees will be waived this year.

If you’re a registered vendor for the Migration Marketplace, you’ll be contacted individually regarding your marketplace booth, and have the option of a full refund or transferring your registration to the 2021 event.

As difficult as this decision has been, we hope these difficult times don’t deter you from enjoying the birds around us, whether in your own backyard or from the safety of our state and national parks right here in the Indiana Dunes. We want you to know how amazing it is to put this event together each year and to see all our growing Indiana Dunes birding family each year. We know we’ll likely see many of you birding this spring or later in the year.

All Indiana Audubon and National Park staff are currently working from home and will answer any questions you may have as soon as possible. Don’t hesitate to email us at

Thank you for your patience and be safe birding this spring!

The Indiana Dunes Birding Festival continues to monitor the ongoing coronavirus situation. Given the time frame still available to us, we will make a final decision on this year's event on April 13. We ask that everyone hope for the best and continue making plans for a great spring migration. We are also extending full cancellation refunds through April 15 to ease any concerns about refunding, should the situation arise.

Normal cancellation fees will also be waived, as this is obviously an extenuating circumstance. We'll continue to provide regular updates as we learn more and plan this year's event with our amazing partners.

03/12/2020: IDBF and Coronavirus- please be aware that the IDBF planning committee and National Park Service partners are closely monitoring the situation with coronavirus (COVID-19).  As we receive updates and make any adjustments, we'll notify participants immediately.  The current refund policy is in effect and full refunds will be offered through April 5 for those that are uncomfortable with attending.  As we receive more guidance we'll update everyone.

03/08/2020: The Indiana Dunes Birding Festival is the recipient of a 2020 Mindful Birding Award for its efforts to promote bird conservation and ethical birding guidelines.

The Festival's Stewardship Fund raises money each year for conservation, education, and research projects. This year the Fund is expected to assist in raising funds for the continuing Piping Plover monitoring project in the Chicago region of Lake Michigan. The Festival was also recognized for its commitment to ethical birdwatching behavior by adopting and adhering to a code of birding ethics marked by clarity, specificity, and restraint.

Learn more about the Mindful Birding Award here.

Registration codes for IAS priority registration were sent out today.  If you're an IAS member and didn't get your code, please email us at to receive your code before the March 1 priority registration begins.

01/26/2020: The Indiana Dunes Birding Festival 2020 program guide is out! You can download it online or have a printed copy delivered to you! The guides are free!  Get yours at:

01/17/20: The entire full festival schedule is live!  You can also download the 2020 program guide. Watch for printed guides in various sources.  

Submissions are now being taken for the Dune Birds in Art exhibition. Visit the Birds in Art page to learn more. Submissions due April 2020. 

Join us for our Birds & Brews Poster Release Party on February 29, 2020 at Gelsosomo's Pizza in Chesterton.  It's also your chance to get info before registration goes live for IAS Priority the next morning!  

11/18/19: The first peek at the festival 2020 is now online!  The keynote and headliners have now been released!  Begin making your plans now for the 2020 festival!  

Lots of planning going on. The Migration Marketplace is now accepting applications!  Visit the Festival Info link to apply if you're a vendor. Watch for the keynote and festival headliners announcement in the coming week.

5/22/19: A big thank you to everyone that made this year's 2019 festival possible!  A combined 208 species was seen during the 4 day festival (and pre-festival Wed).  Thanks to you, we also will be awarding $5,500 in conservation, education, and research grants later this year!  Mark your calendars now for May 14-17, 2020.

5/15/19: Dunes Bird Alert: A WESTERN TANAGER is visiting a private residence 15 miles south of the IDBF in Boone Grove.  5/19/19 UPDATE: The bird has not appeared on Sunday. Sign up for rare bird text alerts for updates.

5/06/2019: Online registration is now closed.  You can still join us with walk up registrations anytime Wed-Sun, May 15-19 at the Dunes Visitor Center however. 

5/01/2019: IDBF Silent Auction is Live!
Online bidding has begun in this year's silent auction.  Visit here to see all the great items up for grabs!

4/15/2019: Youth and Family Birding Day Activities Announced! The full list of activities going on for the Youth and Family Birding Day has been posted.  It's a fun day of activities for new birders of all ages.  Scouts can also earn their birdwatching merit badge by attending the day's activities.  Visit the Saturday program schedule to learn more.

04/10/2019: Still Trips Available. 
Early bird registration has ended, but there are still openings in many tours, and events.  Jump on and grab a spot before they fill.  If you're interested in the Birds in Art exhibition, applications are being taken through 4/15/19.

03/03/2019: Early Bird Registration Has Begun! 
Registration for early bird members has started.  Register right away to take advantage of festival discounts.

02/21/2019: Birds and Brews this Saturday! 
Be sure to join us for Birds and Brews this Saturday at the Gelsosomo's in Chesterton.  We'll be unveiling the official 2019 fine art print, with first sales available! The event starts at 6pm!

01/18/2019: Full IDBF Schedule released!  
All 150 programs, trips, and workshops are available for viewing  you can also now download our 2019 program guide or have one mailed to your doorstep for free.  Just pay the shipping.

01/04/2019: Poster Release Party Scheduled! Mark your calendars now and plan to join us for the official release of the 2019 Fine Art Print by Kristina Knowski.  The event is set for Saturday, February 23, 2019 at Gelsosomo's Pizza in Chesterton at 6pm.  Join us!