Saturday the 15th

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).

SATURDAY, MAY 15, 2021

NEW- 2021 IDBF Trip Planning- NEW

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 Matt Igleski

FREE / 7:00 – 10:00am / LIVE STREAM

See the Indiana Dunes in her spring migration wonder al morning with regional birding personality, Matt Igleski. Matt will visit some of the best birding sites in the Indiana Dunes live and provide for a virtual birding experience that is totally unique to the Dunes!  Simply select the Dunes Big Morning Live Breakout Room to watch live.

Ecuador’s Magical Cloudforest Live with Lifer Nature Tours

FREE / 7:00 – 9:00am / LIVE STREAM

The cloudforests of northwest Ecuador are renowned for their bird biodiversity.  This morning we’ll be streaming live from a couple hours outside of Quito where some of the most emblematic species of South America can be found.  It is a great place for Toucan Barbets, Plate-billed Mountain Toucans, Black-capped Tanagers, and more.  Did we mention hummingbirds too!? Simply select the Rainforest Birds Live Breakout Room to watch live.

Dunes Big Morning!

$20 / 6:00 – 12:00pm / Leader: Mark Welter

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 tour. 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.

Adam Sell’s Big Sit from the Longshore Tower

$5 / 6:00 – 10:00am / Dunes SP Bird Tower

One of the best big sit sites in the dunes, no matter the weather, the Dunes State Park Longshore Tower and nearby prairie and woodlands host a great variety of birds. From migrating raptors, forest edge warblers (including Connecticut), and secretive skulkers, one never knows what might appear here. Register to join Illinois hawk watch expert Adam Sell for a morning of bird watching. Meet: Indiana Dunes Observation Tower.

Cowles Bog

$5 / 6:00 – 10:00am / Leader: Annie Aguirre

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.

Miller Woods and Swale

$5 / 6:30-10:30am / Leader: Michael Topp

The forested dune and swale in the Miller area sit at a unique location, right on the southern tip of Lake Michigan. The National Park’s Miller Woods and Douglas Center are a prime spot for migrating warblers, thrushes, flycatchers, and more. This is a unique tour with a guide who is well-versed with this birding hotspot. Meet: Miller Woods parking lot.

Naked Birding Biathlon with Wes Homoya

$5 / 6:30 – 10:30am / Leader: Wes Homoya

Do you enjoy runner's highs as much as birder's highs? Have you ever tried birding "naked" (i.e. "without optics", NOT "sans clothing"- get your mind out of the gutter!)? Come try a unique blend of exercise and birding with local (and eccentric?) bird guide Wes Homoya as we complete a ~5K of light jogging through the Heron Rookery preserve and then a leisurely ~10K bike ride on country roads throughout the RCGHA. We'll slow down at birdy spots and breeze through when not seeing/hearing anything. Plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early to stretch and make sure you have your bike secured and ready to go for after the jog. Note there are no restrooms on the route (though one can always use "the bush", if need be). Please only sign up if you feel capable and confident in being able to handle the distance, but also be assured that the pace will be relaxed (allotting ~1.5 hours for the run (~1/2 hour for each mile) and ~2 hours for the bike ride). Don't forget a water bottle for after the run/during the bike ride, as well. *Anyone wishing to skip the run and participate in the bike portion only is welcome to do so.  Meet: Reynolds Creek Gamebird Habitat Area parking lot.

Moraine Nature Preserve Tour

$5/ 6:30 – 10:30am / 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 preserve is some of the highest elevation for landing migrants. This preserve, marked with ravines and shallow wetlands, is an excellent spring birding destination. Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center

Bendix Woods Warblers

$5/ 7:00 – 11:00am / Leader: Evie Kirkwood

Bendix Woods is home to over 150 acres of woods, ponds, and fields. A state dedicated nature preserve is contained within its borders. Bendix Woods can be a great location for migrating warblers, vireos, and thrushes during the spring. Participants will carpool and meet with Evie Kirkwood, retired director of St. Joseph County Parks. Meet: Bendix Woods Runnel Shelter 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.

Flora Richardson Preserve

$5/ 7:30 – 11:00am / Leader: David Rupp with IndiGo Birding Nature Tours

This bicentennial nature trust property represents high-quality forested uplands and lowlands, with streams, seeps, and springs throughout that make it an excellent spot for migrating birds. In addition, the spring wildflowers make this a true naturalist’s dream.  IndiGo Birding Nature Tours owner and guide, David Rupp, will lead folks through this new festival field location.   Meet: Flora Richardson Preserve.

Kankakee Sands Prairie Birding

$5/ 7:30 – 11:00am / Leader: Barb Lucas

The Nature Conservancy’s Kankakee Sands is a birders and wildflower enthusiasts paradise. The more than 7,000 acres hosts an amazing array of birds, plants, and animals that fills the prairie with song and sights to behold. Recent reintroduction of bison is rebuilding the natural ecosystems that support Henslow’s and Lark Sparrows, Blue Grosbeaks, Dickcissels, Northern Bobwhites, and more that will be visible on this carpool tour. Meet: Kankakee Sands Main Office.

Heron Rookeries of NWI

$5/ 8:00 – 11:30am / Leader: Stephanie Beilke

Join us as we’ll be touring the locations of past and present Great Blue Heron nesting locations along the Little Calumet River with Audubon Great Lake guide, Stephanie Beilke.  Birding sites include the diverse Highland Heron Rookery, Grant St./Chase St. Marsh and MLK Drive Wetland. Expect to see marsh birds, nesting herons, and migratory songbirds. We’ll also talk about an effort to monitor nesting herons that started in 2020 with Dunes-Calumet Audubon Society.  Meet: Highland Rookery parking lot.

Kingsbury Fish & Wildlife Area Tour

$5/ 8:00 – 11:3 / Leader: John Lindsey

Many great records have come from Kingsbury. With its 7,000 acres of forest, grasslands, and wetlands, a diversity of birds can be found on this old ordinance property that was deeded to the DNR in 1965. John Lindsey is intimately familiar with the property and will showcase a diversity of breeding and migrant birds. Meet: Kingsbury Fish & Wildlife Area office.

Cowles Bog

$5 / 8:00 – 11:00am / Leader: Lindsay Grossmann

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.

Birds and Blooms in the Heron Rookery

$5/ 8:00 – 11:30am / Leader: Scott Namestnik

Named for the Great Blue Herons that formerly nested at this 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 as well. The trail is level but may be muddy in spots. Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Birding Photography in the Field

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

Local photography expert Rafi Wilkinson will start with a short discussion of basic camera settings followed by a photo session with a few Indiana Dunes bird specialties. He will end with a photo critique and processing tips for improving images post-production. Participants will meet in the state park for some photography time near the park’s Wilson Shelter. Meet: Indiana Dunes State Park Wilson Shelter.

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.

2021 Youth and Family Birding Day!

PUBLIC/ 9:00 – 4:00pm / Dunes SP Nature Center

Join us for a full day of birding activities, including free beginner hikes every hour, photo ID quiz giveaways, bird games, bluebird house building, scout birding merit badge activities, and more! Watch songbird and hummingbird banding as well. All activities take place at the State Park Nature Center and include special presentations throughout the day. All activities are FREE, whether you’re registered for the festival or not.  Many activities may be rain or shine.

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: Marc and Eliana Ardila Kramer

Birding by Bus: Where Van Life Meets Birding

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

Join Marc & Eliana’s epic road quest from Florida to Alaska in 2018 as they traverse the wild spaces of North America in search of birds, nature, and adventure.… in a 40-year-old VW Bus. How many things could possibly go wrong with an iconic car that’s four decades old? Get ready for inspiring road adventures across the continent, navigating through mechanical failures, relationship survival tips, mega rare birds, and spectacular scenery. Throw in a wedding and trip to Attu and you’ve got the journey of a lifetime! Learn how anyone can travel for an extended period on a budget and take that bucket list birding adventure you’ve always dreamed of.

Hawkwatching ID Workshop

FREE/ 1:00 – 2:00pm /LIVE STREAM/ Presenter: Vic Berardi

Vic is regionally recognized as one of the foremost raptor ID specialists in the Great Lakes. Combined with the well-known IL fall raptor counts, Vic has educated the masses on the fine parts of hawk ID from the air. Join him for an in-depth look at some beginner hawk ID.  We’ll try to spend some time outside as well as part of this workshop.

The Blue in Birds

FREE / 1:00 – 2:00pm / LIVE STREAM/ Presenter: Rick Read

When you see the color ‘blue’ in a bird, you may be surprised that it is not from pigments in the feathers; it’s from something called structural color. Come hear about the physics that create structural color and see Rick’s pictures of birds with blue colors from his travels to all 7 continents of our world.

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.

When Bird Guides Get in Troubles: The Behind the Scenes of 8 years of Adventures with Lifer Nature Tours.

FREE / Saturday 2:30 – 3:30pm / LIVE STREAM/ Presenter: Juan Diego from Lifer Nature Tours

The Americas are a rich hemisphere of amazing birds and beautiful sights. For a bird guide like Juan Diego, guiding in 5 different countries year-round sounds like the dream job. From misty cloud forests with Resplendent Quetzals to inter-Andean dry forest with enigmatic Buff-fronted Owls, at first it might sound like the dream job, but it’s not all fame and glory... All guides face that situation in which you wish you rather had become the medical doctor your mother told you to be.  Enjoy the untold stories from the field as you never have before, while taking an armchair tour of some of the best Central and South American birding destinations that you can enjoy, as well as some of the birds you might see.

A Young Birder Visits Sax-Zim Bog in the Winter

FREE / 2:30 – 3:30pm / LIVE STREAM/ Presenter: Juan Velesquez

Young birder Juan Velasquez will speak about his birding adventures in the heart of winter at Sax-Zim Bog in northern Minnesota to see amazing owls and winter boreal birds. Juan is a member of the Mississinewa Audubon Club and the Young Birders Club.

Cowles Bog in the Afternoon

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

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. Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center

Pinhook Bog in the Afternoon

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

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.

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 caravan tour. Meet: Indiana Dunes Visitor Center.

Heron Rookery in the Afternoon

$10/ 2:00 – 5:00pm / Leader: Cookie Ferguson

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.

Festival Virtual Keynote: Scott Weidensaul

A World of Wings: Migratory Birds on a Changing Planet

$25/ 6:00 – 8:00pm / LIVE STREAM

Even as scientists make astounding discoveries about the navigational and physiological feats that enable migratory birds to cross immense oceans or fly above the highest mountains, go weeks without sleep or remain in unbroken flight for months at a stretch, humans have brought many migrants to the brink. Based on his forthcoming book "A World of Wings," author and researcher Scott Weidensaul takes you around the globe -- with researchers in the lab probing the limits of what migrating birds can do, to the shores of the Yellow Sea in China, the remote mountains of northeastern India where tribal villages saved the greatest gathering of falcons on the planet, and the Mediterranean, where activists and police are battling bird poachers -- to learn how people are fighting to understand and save the world's great bird migrations.  All keynote participants will receive a copy of Scott’s new book, “A World of Wings.”

 

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