Saturday the 18th

Each day consists of tour options and afternoon sessions at our various festival locations. Events and presentations labeled “FREE” are included
with the price of general registration. Additional fees apply for select tours, workshops, and the Saturday night keynote event.  Please remember, all times are Central Daylight Time (Chicago time).

 View or Download the 2019 Indiana Dunes Birding Festival Guide Here!

Dunes Longshore Flight Count
$5 / 6:00 – 10:00am / Dunes State Park Longshore Tower
It’s the 1/4 million bird seasonal survey, one of the largest on the Great Lakes. Registrants will report directly to the Indiana Dunes State Park birding tower
(by the Beach West lot) for the morning migration of thousands of birds per day with expert morning flight counter Kyle Witkor. In conducive south winds, an assortment of migrants could fly past. Blue Jays, waxwings, warblers, orioles, and tanagers should also be peaking now. This has been a one-stop-shop for annual rarities to fly by, too.

Bird Banding 101
$5 / 6:00 – 10:00am / Dunes State Park Longshore Tower
Join experienced bird banders Amy Wilms and Stephanie Beilke 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. Participants will report directly to the state park tower.

Adam Sell’s Wilson Boardwalk Big Sit
$5/ 6:00 – 10:00am / State Park Wilson Shelter
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 on the Emita II
$39 / 6:00 – 10:00am / Leader: Ryan Sanderson
We’ve partnered with Harbor Country Adventures for a large passenger cruise boat, the Emita II. We’ll take a 3-hour cruise with expert birding guides to seek out late migrating waterfowl such as Red-breasted Mergansers and Common Loons, as well as migrating shorebirds and land birds along the dune beaches. This tour
is weather dependent, with rain dates being offered on both Friday and Sunday.

Dunes Big Morning!
$30 / 6:00am – 12:00pm / Leader: Wes Homoya
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 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 of dunes migrants and breeding birds.

Potato Creek State Park Tour
$25/ 6:00 – 11:00am / Leader: Lindsay Grossmann
The forests, prairies, and wetlands at Potato Creek are a six-square-mile birding oasis in the snow belt shadowing Lake Michigan. The park is known for waterfowl and its density of nesting Osprey. This van tour will seek out migrants and includes a box lunch upon return.

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 Lakeshore’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.

Kankakee Sands Prairie Birding
$25/ 6:30 – 10:30am / Leader: Barb Lucas
The 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 reintroduction of bison is rebuilding 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.

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.

Little Calumet River Kayak Birding Tour
$20/ 7:00 – 11:00am / Leader: Libby Keyes and NWIPA
Explore an unspoiled section of the beautiful Little Calumet River just south of the dunes via kayak. We’ll provide the kayaks, and you’ll 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 and Prothonotary Warblers. Beginners welcome! Trip sponsorship courtesy of the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association.

Cowles Bog Tour
$5 / 7:00 – 11:00am / Leader: Aidan Rominger
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. 

Bendix Woods Nature Preserve Tour
$25/ 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 be guided by van with Evie Kirkwood, director of St. Joseph county Parks. A box lunch will be provided afterwards.

Dune Migrants with Rockjumper Birding Tours
$5 / 7:30 – 11:00am / Leader: Rockjumper Birding Tours
As official tour company of the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival, Rockjumper 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. 

Pinhook Bog Tour
$5/ 7:30- 11:30am / Leader: Matt Igleski
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’ll be able to explore. This area is normally closed to the public, so you’ll want to pre-register for this car pool tour. Select the Friday tour if you'd like to visit via a van.

Eggers Grove and Big Marsh Tour
$5 / 8:00am – 11:30am / Leader: Walter Marcisz & Graciela Gonzalez
The Cook County Forest Preserves and The Field Museum have done active restoration to restore Eggers Grove as a unique habitat, combining dry,
wooded ridges where spring wildflowers thrive with long, narrow wetlands filled
with sedges, marsh grasses, emergent forbs and waterfowl. The varied woodland and wetland landscape attract spring and fall migrations of waterfowl and  songbirds. Expect an assortment of total species. This trip may involve toll road fees.

Birding by Ear Tour
$5 / 7:30am – 11:00am / Leader: Annie Aguirre
Just as important as identifying birds by sight is identifying them by their sound! Audio birding expert Annie Aguirre will guide folks to identify birds by the songs and calls they make. We’ll carpool to the nearby Dunes State Park to practice our
mnemonics and more during this beginning level birding tour.

Birding with the NPS Superintendent
$5/ 8:00 – 11:30am / Leader: Paul Labovitz & John Lindsey
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore superintendent and birder Paul Labovitz invites fellow birders to explore his favorite birding area in the dunes. A short
carpool will go 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
$5 / 8:00 – 11:30am / Leader: Nick Kiehl
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 should remain flat.

Gibson Woods Nature Preserve Tour
$25 / Saturday 8:00 – 11:30am / Leader: Loyce Fandrei
Gibson Woods preserves the special dune and swale habitat in Northern Lake County, just a few miles from Lake Michigan. The associated nature preserve and center plays host to a large diversity of birds, as well as serving as a shelter for migrating warblers given its location near some of the more industrialized areas of the region. This van tour will include a box lunch afterwards.

Birds and Blooms in the Heron Rookery Tour
$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 Winter Wren 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.

Intro to Birding Photography Close-up!
$5 / 8:30 – 11:30am / Leader: Rafi Wilkinson
Local photography expert Rafi Wilkinson will provide a discussion of basic camera settings followed by a photo session with the live birds at the Humane Indiana Wildlife’s wildlife rehab center. Participants will carpool to Humane Indiana
Wildlife for some photography time with these amazing birds up close.

Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve Tour
$5 / 9:00 – 11:30am / Leader: Coffee Creek Staff
This one-of-a-kind, mixed-development features 150 acres of forest, wetland, and prairie restorations. Open meadows and prairies are home to high numbers of breeding tree swallows and bluebirds. This hidden gem is just a few short miles from Chesterton. Great opportunity for beginning birders and photographers.

Beginning Birding with a National Park Ranger
$5 / 9:00 – 11:00am / 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 Lakeshore. Each morning 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.

2019 Youth and Family Birding Day!
FREE/ 9:00am – 4:00pm / 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 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! Events are rain or shine. The tentative schedule follows:

• Every hour Beginner’s Birding Hikes led by Experienced Birders:
9:00-10 am Rhiannon Thunell
10:00-11 am Marie Laudeman
11:00-12 pm Shari McCullough
12:00-1 pm Sue Uhl
1:00-2 pm Cookie Ferguson
2:00-3 pm TBD
3:00-4 pm Randy Pals

• Photo ID Quiz & Field Guide Use with Indiana Young Birders Club (Inside by the Library)
• Bird Games & Activities with Dunes Learning Center (Outside on the Deck)
• Bird House Building with Izaak Walton League of Porter County and Discovery Trackers 4H Club of Porter County (Outside at the Lower Program Area)
• Bird Crafts with Girl Scouts of Chicago & NW Indiana (Outside under the Canopy)
• Outdoor Safety with Indiana Dunes NL Fire Management (Outside under the Canopy)
• Outdoor Treasure Hunting with Northwest Indiana Geocachers (Outside on the Deck)
• Wildlife Rehabilitation with Humane Indiana Wildlife (Inside by the Shipwreck)

Free Workshops in the Nature Center Auditorium:
• 9:00- 10 am Field Sketching with Kristina Knowski
• 9:00-10:30 am What Do Owls Eat? Pellet Exploration with Cookie Ferguson
• 11:00- 11:50 am Birds & Our Environment Humane Indiana Wildlife
• 12:00-12:50 pm ID Birds by Sound with Matt Beatty
• 1:00- 2 pm Snakes of the Great Lakes with Brock Struecker
• 2:30- 3:30 pm Beekeeping 101 with Annette Hansen

*Photo Opportunities (11:30am – 1:00pm): Smokey Bear, Indiana Dunes State Park

The Migration Marketplace
FREE/ 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, 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!

Audubon Great Lakes Native Plant Sale
FREE/ 10:00am – 4:00pm / Indiana Dunes Visitor Center
What better way to help the birds than with native planting! Audubon Great Lakes and the local Audubon chapters will host this special native plant sale on both
Saturday and 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: Jim Carpenter
A Bird Feeding Geek’s Guide to Backyard Birding
FREE/ 11:30am – 12:30pm / Dunes Visitor Center
Jim Carpenter, Founder of Wild Birds Unlimited, shares his 40 years of experience attracting and enjoying the birds that share our backyards. Jim will share tips on foods and feeders, habitats for birds, problem solving solutions for squirrels/raccoons and more and fun facts about our avian visitors.

Intro to Gull ID Workshop
$20/ 1:00 – 4:00pm / Portage Lakefront Park / Presenter: Amar Ayyash
Amar is hands down the leading expert in gull ID in not only the Great Lakes,
but the country. Join him for a look at the finer points to this often overlooked, yet
fascinating, group of birds that frequent Lake Michigan and every parking lot in
between. The workshop will span three hours and take place at the beautiful lakefront pavilion site, where some time can be spent watching gulls nearby as well.

Raptors Live!
FREE/ 1:00 – 2:00pm / Dunes Visitor Center/
Presenter: Lake Milton Raptor Center
Join the Lake Milton Raptor Center for this close-up look at live birds of prey moving through the dunes right now. This fun and educational program will discuss 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 features different birds.

Snakes of the Great Lakes
FREE / 1:00 – 2:00pm / Dunes SP Nature Center/ Presenter: Brock Struecker
Brock Struecker is a foremost expert in snakes, turtles, and other herps in the
Midwest. Take a look at some of the snakes that can be found in the varied habitats in both the Indiana Dunes and around the Great Lakes.

Native Butterflies and their Habitats in the Dunes
FREE / 1:00 – 2:00pm / Douglas Center/ Presenter: Victoria Wittig
Learn about the native butterflies of Lake Michigan, including the key
characteristics to aid in their identification. Victoria will also explore the plants to
include in your garden to support their life cycle and the habitats they depend on.

Indiana’s Breeding Warblers: How and Where to Find Them
FREE / 2:30 – 3:30pm / Dunes Visitor Center/ Presenter: David Rupp
Once the migrant warblers have passed through our area, there are still 18
warbler species that remain to nest in Indiana. IndiGo Birding Nature Tours guide David Rupp will highlight some of his favorite places to find these beauties, while also giving some tips on behavior, habitat preference, and vocalizations that will increase your chances of finding them this summer.

Beekeeping 101
FREE / 2:30 – 3:30pm / Dunes SP Nature Center/ Presenter: Annette Hansen
Annette Hansen will share her knowledge of beekeeping. Hansen has been a 4-H
leader for nearly 10 years and has kept bees with those young folks in Porter County for about half that time. She will also give some details of native pollinators and how you can get started in beekeeping, whether young or old!

Worldwide Birding with Rockjumper Tours
FREE / 2:30 – 3:30pm / Douglas Center / Presenter: Rockjumper Birding Tours
Join Rockjumper Birding Tours for a look at some of the great birding locales and
species to be found - whether out on your own or with a professional tour company. Each presentation by Rockjumper will feature a new and unique birding destination.

Indiana Dunes State Park in the Afternoon
$15/ 2:00 – 4:30pm / Leader: Amy Kearns
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 tour.

Afternoon in Beverly Shores
$15 / 2:00 – 4:30pm / Leader: Richard Garrett
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, and Sandhill Cranes down near the wetlands. Other woodland, marsh, wetland, and waterfowl species can be expected.

Cowles Bog in the Afternoon
$15 / 2:00 – 4:30pm / 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. Rarities tend to be found at this premier birding destination in the dunes.

Festival Keynote: Laura Erickson
Laura’s Best Bird EVER!
5:30 – 9:30pm / Sand Creek Country Club
Have you ever had such a perfect look at a bird, or watched it in such perfect circumstances, that you thought it had to be the best bird ever? Laura Erickson has found herself saying exactly that on many occasions, from special glimpses
at abundant chickadees to her one and only glimpse at one of the rarest birds on the planet, the Horned Guan. Some of the birds she’s seen in her travels to four continents made the grade, but so did some of the special individuals she’s seen in her own backyard. Sometimes looking for the best bird ever can open oumr inds and hearts to much, much more. Add the festival keynote dinner, presentation, and silent auction to your registration for $26.