Wednesday the 16th (pre-fest events)

Join us before the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival begins for some special, select tours and activities! These events are only available before the festival starts and require full, four day registration to add to your festival package. 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!

Homoya's Big Day of Birding!
/ Wednesday 6:00am – 4:00pm / Leader: Wes Homoya

It's a birding blitz with state birding expert and Tropical Birding Tours guide Wes Homoya. Wes will run you through all the best birding locations in the dunes to log and see as many bird species as possible in a single day of birding. We'll be traveling by van and include a box lunch as part of the birding bonanza.  Our goal is over 100 species of waterfowl, raptors, warblers, vireos, tanagers, and more!  There's no doubt this pre-festival tour will fill fast!

Birds and Bison: Kankakee Sands Behind the Scenes
$45/ Wednesday 6:30am – 4:00pm / Leader: Matt Beatty
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 restoration of bison are helping to restore the natural ecosystems that support Henslow's and Lark Sparrows, Blue Grosbeaks, Dickcissels, Northern Bobwhites, and more.  TNC ecologist and big year birder, Matt Beatty, will guide folks by van to explore this amazing site.  After a box lunch at Fair Oaks Farm, we'll explore the behind the scenes restoration of both prairies, wetlands and bison with the TNC staff.  Extra time towards the end will be spent exploring the rest of the property and nearby Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area.

The Field Museum Birds Behind the Scenes
$48/ Wednesday 6:45am – 4:00pm / Leader: Kim Ehn
Come early for this special pre-festival workshop taking place over the entire day. A limited number of participants will meet at the festival headquarters for a day long excursion into Chicago for a special behind the scenes look at the birds of the Chicago Field Museum. We’ll explore many extinct species (Ivory-billed Woodpecker, Carolina Parakeet, etc.) as well as close up looks of the thousands of bird specimens in their collection. After a traditional Chicago dog box lunch, we’ll then head towards nearby Northerly Island for some migrant trap birding. The group will travel to and from Chicago via the South Shore Train at nearby Dunes Park and should return before 4pm. This trip will fill!

Dunes Birds in Art Exhibition Opening Reception
FREE/ Wednesday 6:00pm– 8:00pm 
Visit the Festival Headquarters from 6:00pm-8:00pm for the opening reception of the 2nd annual Dunes Birds in Art Exhibition.  This exhibition features local and regional artists showcasing our native bird species in diversity of art mediums, including both 2D and 3D work.  Artists will be on hand to discuss their work during this special reception.  The exhibition will also be available to view every day of the festival.

Sounds of the Night Tour
$25/ Wednesday 8:00pm– 9:30pm 
It's a special fun run for as many of our twilight bird species with Brad Bumgardner, Executive Director of the Indiana Audubon Society. Brad will use his knowledge of local bird hangouts to seek out woodcocks, whip-poor-wills, owls and possibly more during this 90 minute car pool birding blitz.  Headlamps are recommended for short walks between drives to each site.  Register early, as this trip always fills fast.