Saturday the 19th

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 / Saturday 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 / Saturday 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.

Adam Sell's Wilson Boardwalk Big Sit
FREE / Saturday 6:00am – 10:00am / Dunes State Park Wilson Shelter
Arguably one of the best big sit sites in the dunes, no matter the weather, the Wilson Shelter and nearby wetland boardwalk and woodlands host a great variety of birds.  From migrating raptors, water's edge warblers (including Prothonotary!), and secretive marsh birds, one never knows what might appear here.  Register to join Illinois hawk watch expert Adam Sell for a morning of bird watching.  

Lake Michigan Pelagic Tour I
Fee $59 / Saturday 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 / Saturday 6:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Ryan Sanderson
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 / Saturday 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.

Miller Woods and Swale Tour
FREE/ Saturday 6:00am – 10:00am / Leader: Michael Topp
The Miller Woods area sits in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore right at the southern tip of Lake Michigan.  This funneling point can harbor an immense variety and total number of migrants as they pile up before moving north around the lake.  Michael Topp has birded this area extensively and knows the best areas in the woods and nearby dune swales during this unique car pool tour.

Kankakee Sands Prairie Birding
Fee $25/ Saturday 6:30am – 10:30am / Leader: Barb Lucas
he Nature Conservancy's Kankakee Sands is a birder's and wildflower enthusiast's paradise. The more than 7,000 acres hosts an amazing array of birds, wildflowers, plants and animals that fills the prairie with song and sights to behold. Recent re-introduction of bison is helping to restore the natural ecosystems that support Henslow's and Lark Sparrows, Blue Grosbeaks, Dickcissels, Northern Bobwhites, and more. This van tour will seek out the best prairie birding that this site offers ,and will follow with a box lunch upon return.

Cowles Bog Tour
FREE / Saturday 7:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Matt Beatty
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.

Dunes Birding with Greg Miller!
Fee $25/ Saturday 7:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Greg Miller 
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 rennowned big year birder Greg Miller, aka Brad from the Big Year movie!  The tour will visit via van and offer a box lunch at completion of the tour.

Little Calumet River Kayak Birding Tour
Fee $15/ Saturday 7:00am – 11:00am / Leader: Caleb Putnam
Explore the unspoiled section of the beautiful Little Calumet River, just south of the dunes with National Audubon's Caleb Putnam.  We’ll provide the kayaks and slow paddle the serene waters towards Lake Michigan in search of waterbirds and migrant songbirds feeding along the river’s edge.  It’s one of the best spots in the region for Yellow-throated Warblers.  Beginners welcome!    Trip sponsorship courtesy the Northwest Indiana Paddler’s Association.

Bendix Woods Nature Preserve Tour
Fee $25/ Saturday 7:00am – 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 be guided by van with Evie Kirkwood, director of the St. Joseph County Parks. A box lunch will be provided afterwards.

Dunes Warbler Tour
FREE / Saturday 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.

Birding with the NPS Superintendent
FREE/ Saturday 8:00am – 11:30am / Leader: Paul Labovitz
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore superintendent and birder, Paul Labovitz, invites fellow bird festival birders to explore his favorite birding areas in the dunes.  A short car pool will take participants to Cowles Bog for a few hours of leisure birding, while learning about this amazing 15,000+ acre national park that Paul oversees. This trip will fill fast.

Indiana Dunes State Park Tour
FREE / Saturday 8:00am – 11:30am / Leader: 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.  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. 

Mnoke Prairie and Lil Cal River Trails Tour
FREE / Saturday 8:00am – 11:30am / Leader: Kevin Cornell
Mnoke is an active prairie restoration in the middle of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. An assortment of grassland birds have been found as well as an abundance of river bottom warblers that can be seen a short distance down the trail. The site is a close drive for those not wanting to travel too far for a car pool tour.

Birds and Blooms of the Heron Rookery Tour
FREE / Saturday 8:00am – 11:30am / Leader: Scott Namestnik
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.

 Fly Like a Bird Tour
Fee $65/ Saturday 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 / Saturday 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.  

Birding Photography 201 Tour
FREE / Saturday 9:00am – 12:00pm / Leader: Mike Bourdon
Join amazing bird photographer Mike Bourdon for a look at the tips for birds in the field and your own backyard. We'll explore how to's and tips for better bird photography and spend some time shooting and critiquing as we move along at the state park.  

2018 Youth and Family Birding Day!
FREE/ Saturday 9:00am – 4:00pm / Dunes State Park 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 also include special presentations throughout the day. All activities are free whether you’re registered for the festival or not and also include a free welcome bag of goodies just for coming!  All events are rain or shine.

Bird Sleuth and Flying WILD Educators Workshop
Fee $40/ Saturday 9:30am – 3:30pm / Douglas Center
Cornell's Bird Sleuth and Project Flying WILD are amazing hands-on activities for teachers and educators of all ages.  This special workshop will combine both programs to leave participants inspired and supplied with all of the tools to bring birds into the classroom, whether home or structured. Each participant will receive educational materials and a bird feeder to get started.  Visit https://duneslearningcenter.org/adults/ to register for this particular event.

The Migration Marketplace 
FREE/ Saturday 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: Paul Bannick
A Year in the Life of North American Owls
FREE/ Saturday 11:30am – 12:30pm / Indiana Dunes Visitor Center
Award winning photographer Paul Bannick is presenting a new program featuring video, sound, stories from the field and several dozen new images from his new book: Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls. Paul uses intimate, yet dramatic images to follow owls through the course of one year and in their distinct habitats. Audiences will witness the four seasons on territory, as each stage in an owl’s life is chronicled through rare images: courtship, mating, and nesting in spring; fledging feeding of young in summer; dispersal and gaining independence in fall; and, finally, winter’s migrations and competitions for food. All 19-species found in Canada and the United States are featured in photos, video and narrative throughout the book, with a special focus on the Northern Pygmy-Owl, Great Gray Owl, Burrowing Owl, and Snowy Owl.

Raptors Live!
FREE / Saturday 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.

Jeopbirdy!
FREE/ Saturday 1:00pm – 2:30pm / Dunes SP Nature Center/ Presenter: Annie Aguirre
This—is—JeopBirdy! Contestants are challenged to show off their bird knowledge in this feathered spin-off of the beloved gameshow. The game will feature multiple rounds of questions ranging from easy to ornithologist, so beginning and experienced birders alike are encouraged to come and play! Winners will get a fun bird-themed prize from Alex Trebeak himself. Non-participants are also welcome to attend and cheer on our contestants.

Beverly Shores in the Afternoon
Fee $15/ Saturday 2:00pm – 4:30pm / Leader: Kevin Cornell
Visit the woodlands and wetlands that make up the Beverly Shores complex in pursuit of both nesting and migrant species.  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.

Cowles Bog in the Afternoon
Fee $15/ Saturday 2:00pm – 4:30pm / Leader: Matt Beatty
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/ Saturday 2:00pm – 4:30pm / Leader: Amy Kearns
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.

Dragonflies of the Great LAkes
FREE/ Saturday 2:30pm – 3:30pm / Indiana Dunes Visitor Center/ Presenter: Loyce Fandrei
Dragonflies amaze and inspire us.  These amazing insects remove millions of mosquitoes, while hovering and flying in every possible direction.  Loyce will share her in-depth knowledge of the different kinds found in the region and share the amazing photography she's collected in the pursuit of these most interesting insects.

Hummingbirds of the Great Lakes
FREE/ Saturday 2:30pm – 3:30pm / Dunes SP Nature Center/ Presenter: Amy Wilms
Our flying gems captivate and awe us with their record breaking flight maneuvers and ability to survive such a giant world around them. Learn more about these tiny winged wonders with Indiana Audubon past-president, who has banded over 1,000 hummers at its Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary. You'll also get a sneak peak into IAS's newest event, the Hummingbird Migration Celebration, later this summer!

Festival Keynote Dinner, Presentation, and Silent Auction
$26/ Saturday 5:30pm – 9:30pm/ Duneland Falls Banquet Center
Have you ever wanted to do a Big Year but you don’t have the time or money to do it? Or maybe you have no desire to go after a world record, but you would like to set your own personal record. Where do you go? How do you start planning? Greg Miller has birded in all 50 states and much of Canada during his 50 years of birding. In 1998 Greg traveled 130,000 miles to try to see as many species of birds in one calendar year as possible. He passed 700 species -- an achievement many birders aspire to in a lifetime. His accomplishment, immortalized in The Big Year, by Pulitzer Prize winning author Mark Obmascik, and the full-length motion picture inspired by the book, is a birder’s must have. Learn Greg’s tips for your next big adventure! Add the festival keynote dinner, presentation, and silent auction to your registration for $26.