Four Weekends of Birding Events in May!
Spring is here, and with that Hoosier birders are welcoming millions of songbirds as they stream northward into the state from their wintering grounds in Central and South America. A few of these brightly colored winged gems will settle in for the summer here, while others will continue their way north towards Canada.
Indiana hosts a plethora of birding sites, destinations, and events to fill a calendar year of birding. But no other month can be as chaotic, overwhelming, and just plain exciting as the month of May. From day one, the stage is set for new arrivals to begin flooding in the state. Some birders wait anxiously for their first hummingbird or Rose-breasted Grosbeak, while others seek out the rarer mid-May migrants, such as Connecticut Warblers and Olive-sided Flycatchers.
Whichever your birding spirit, the woodlands, wetlands, and prairies are home to some great Hoosier events. Indiana Audubon helps celebrate the month of May with a special birding event each weekend, whether you’re a beginner or seasoned pro. Here are our favorites scheduled for May that you shouldn’t miss.
Mary Gray Spring Gathering
Connersville, IN, May 5-6
The Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary (MGBS) welcomes everyone to enjoy a weekend of birding, learning, and great fellowship with friends! The MGBS is the flagship property owned by the Indiana Audubon Society, Inc. With over 700 acres of property, participants can walk the many trails, enjoy welcoming back the migrating birds, and celebrate spring! Camping is available for IAS members free of charge in the MGBS campground. Special events include warbler ID walks, tropical birding presentations, sound ID workshops, and more. A special work day called the Weed Wrangle® will follow on Sunday. Get all meals and the entire day for a low $15.
More info: indianaaudubon.org/event/ias-spring-gathering
IAS Big May Day Bird Count
Statewide, May 12
The objective of the Big May Day Bird Count is to count the number of birds of each species occurring in a participating county area from midnight to midnight on the second Saturday in May. This data snapshot provides a valuable scientific record of the bird populations occurring each year in Indiana. The results will be compiled, analyzed, and published in the Indiana Audubon Quarterly. Counts are done on the county level, with compilers organizing each count. The goal is to see all 92 counties participating. Anyone wishing to participate can contact the state coordinator, Matt Kalwasinski to be connected with a county compiler.
More info: indianaaudubon.org/activities-may-day
Birding at its Best in the Dunes
Chesterton, IN, May 17-20
The Indiana Dunes Birding Festival occurs along the shores of Lake Michigan to celebrate the area’s rich biodiversity and bird-watching opportunities. Activities include over 60 guided carpool and van tours to view migrating birds, vendor marketplace, more than 60 bird-related programs, from live raptor talks to species ID workshops, and special workshops for new bird watchers and educators. In the evening there are excursions for owls, woodcocks and whip-poor-wills and family-friendly “birds and brews” social events. The Saturday keynote presentation includes dinner, silent auction, and 2018 keynote speaker Greg Miller. Registration often fills fast, but self-guided morning birding options are available, and space still available for all of the afternoon presentations and the Saturday keynote.
More info: indunesbirdingfestival.org
Venture into the Northwoods Prairies and Wetlands
Necedah, WI, May 26-28
In a first of its kind, join IAS for a Memorial Day weekend adventure to the amazing bogs, marshes, grasslands, and early-successional areas of central Wisconsin as the spring season wraps up and breeding begins. Central Wisconsin is an easy day drive for most Hoosiers and offers a diverse array of birds that are more representative of both the central plains and Northwoods. Additionally, recent nesting attempts by Kirtland’s Warblers and Whooping Cranes adds to the total birding diversity possible in this unique region. Registration for this unique tour will fill fast.
More info: indianaaudubon.org/event/central-wisconsin-prairies-and-wetlands-trip-2018