Photo by John Valesquez of a Prothonotary Warbler (example of birds to find at location)
Potawatomi Wildlife Park, located on the Tippecanoe River in Marshall County, is a 200-acre preserve owned and managed by Potawatomi Park, Inc., a private nonprofit foundation set up by the Lions Clubs of Etna Green, Mentone, and Bourbon, and the Kiwanis Clubs of Bremen and Bourbon. The park contains five miles of trails through a variety of avian habitats including bottomland hardwood forest, old fields, river edges, wetlands and ponds.
Spring and fall migrations bring excitement to the area as warblers, vireos, and other migrant passerines pass through the park in good numbers. Migrating ducks can be found too, resting on the ponds, in the wetlands, and on the Tippecanoe River. Bluebirds often can be seen in the open area near the gravel entrance lane.
After checking the feeders at the Nature Center, be sure to explore the various exhibits and computer activities available there. Interested individuals can join the Tri-County CBC or the Marshall County May Bird Count, both of which include Potawatomi Wildlife Park as an important part of their count areas. Check the CBC online database for an excellent account of winter visitors to the park.
River otters have been seen in the park–most recently on 01-Jan-1999 during the Tri-County CBC! On this particular day they were making a game of sliding down the edge of a hill into the river. All otter sightings should be reported to the park naturalist and the Indiana DNR. Beavers are also commonly sighted in the park.
The Picnic and Parking Area contains a sign-in sheet, donation box, and trail information. While there is no required entrance fee, donations to the park are definitely welcomed.
Typical Time to Bird Site: 1 Hour
- Nesting bird families include herons, ducks, geese, hawks, owls, woodpeckers, thrushes, warblers, and sparrows. This site is especially popular among the water-loving warbler species.
- Specialty Species:
- Yet to be characterized.
- Noteworthy Records:
- Double-crested Cormorant – (Mar-2000)
- Osprey – (12-Mar-2000) – 2 birds
- Bald Eagle – (03-Jan-1998); (05-Mar-2000)
- Long-eared Owl – (May-1999)
- Prothonotary Warbler – (May-1999)
GENERAL SITE INFORMATION
- Potawatomi Park, Inc.
- Site Phone Number: 574-498-6550
- Dawn to dusk year-round. The park may be closed at times when the caretaker must be away, so please call ahead to confirm your visit.
- Not required, although donations are appreciated. Look for the donation box located at the Picnic and Parking Area.
- Handicapped-accessible indoor facilities are available at the Nature Center.
- Lodging is available in nearby Warsaw, some 15 miles to the east.
- Special Considerations:
- Mosquitos can be a problem in the summer–be sure to wear repellant.
- Temporal Considerations:
- Potawatomi Wildlife Park may be the best site in Marshall County for winter birding; the feeders are typically quite active at this time of year, and the river attracts wintering waterfowl and raptors. Spring and fall migrations are the best times to look for migrant passerines.
- Seng, Phil T., and David J. Case. Indiana Wildlife Viewing Guide. Helena, MT: Falcon Press, 1992.
Author: Tom Leggett
Editor: Darel Heitkamp
Photo: John ValesquezLocation
North Central Indiana
Marshall County, Indiana
DeLorme Page 26, Grid A-8
GPS: 41º 13′ 50.35″ N
86º 06′ 18.86″ W
From the North: From South Bend, take US 31 south to US 30. Turn left (east) on US 30 and continue to SR 331. Go south on SR 331, cross SR 10, and watch for the entrance to the park on the left side of the road just before crossing the Tippecanoe River.
From the East: Take US 30 west from Ft. Wayne to SR 331. Go south on SR 331, cross SR 10, and watch for the entrance to the park on the left side of the road just before crossing the Tippecanoe River.
From the South: From Indianapolis, take US 31 north to US 30 in Marshall County. Turn right (east) on US 30 and continue to SR 331. Go south on SR 331, cross SR 10, and watch for the entrance to the park on the left side of the road just before crossing the Tippecanoe River.
From the West: Take US 30 east to SR 331 in eastern Marshall County. Go south on SR 331, cross SR 10, and watch for the entrance to the park on the left side of the road just before crossing the Tippecanoe River.
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Indiana Audubon Society's mission is to stimulate interest in birds and their protection; to serve the needs of youth, civic, church, schools and other groups by providing information concerning birds; and to educate the public concerning the necessity for conserving and preserving Indiana's natural heritage, its unique flora and fauna.