Photo of two Great Blue Herons courtesy of Beth Dixon (example of a bird that might be seen at this state forest)
Ferdinand State Forest is primarily located on upland sites dominated by central hardwood forest, consisting of various oaks, hickories, maples, tulip, poplar, ash, sassafras, black gum, and others. Also found throughout the forest are cypress and an abundance of various pine species. The understories are usually occupied by dogwood, maple, greenbrier, and numerous woodland annuals and perennials. This is unglaciated hill country characterized by short, steep slopes often broken by relatively flat benches and rocky bluffs. Most of the forest is located on the rougher slopes and ridges of the area.
Maps are readily available at the office or at the self-registration camping sites. Although the following description highlights just a few areas of the property, a good variety of birds can be observed all along the main road that goes the length of the forest.
Upon entering the front gate follow the paved road 0.25 miles to a small parking area on the right, located at FL3. There is a small creek located here making it good for Louisiana Waterthrush. This area also has good habitat for warblers, tanagers, Barred Owls, and Wild Turkey.
Continuing on this road will take you to the 43-acre lake. An assortment of waterfowl can be seen here at the appropriate time of year, along with Common Loons, Bald Eagles, Ospreys, shorebirds, and herons. Songbirds found at this location include orioles, Pine Warblers, vireos, and swallows.
Further down the road, at the second right past the boat ramp, is a rock road. On the right side of this rock road is a good area for Yellow Breasted Chats, Yellow Warblers, flycatchers, vireos, and sparrows. At the end of this road is a brushy area that in the fall is productive for a variety of sparrows.
Before reaching the beach area, there is a road that branches off the main road and goes up a steep hill. This area can be good for warblers, including Cerulean and Worm-eating, as well as Broad-winged Hawks. Continuing straight will lead to another rock road that is excellent for Hooded Warblers and American Redstarts. Continuing even farther down this road (past the rock road), there is a road on the left that leads to the fire tower. The fire tower area is good for tanagers, Hooded Warblers, and Worm-eating Warblers.
Typical Time to Bird Site: 1-2 Hours
Ferdinand State Forest is known for its great diversity of habitat and good variety of birds. Warblers, vireos, thrushes, and sparrows are among the most common bird families that can be observed here.
A bird checklist just for the forest can be picked up at the office or at the kiosk right outside of the office.
There are great opportunities for observing Worm-eating, Hooded, and Cerulean Warblers, all of which nest in the forest. Ferdinand State Forest is certainly among the most reliable locations in the state to find nesting Pine Warblers. All of these warblers arrive in mid-April and are best observed beginning at this time.
Black-throated Blue Warbler – (21-Sep-1997); (08- May-1999)
Black-billed Cuckoo – (30-Sep-1997)
Brewster’s Warbler – (13-May-1997); (22-Sep-1997)
Black-crowned Night-Heron – (15-May-2006)
GENERAL SITE INFORMATION
State of Indiana
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Site Phone Number: 812-367-1524
Pit toilet restrooms are located throughout the park.
Sixty-nine primitive campsites are available at Ferdinand State Forest, each with its own grill and picnic table. Additional lodging can be found in nearby Jasper, IN.
Spring and fall are perhaps the best times to bird Ferdinand State Forest. Summer can be very rewarding as well.
Ferdinand State Forest
Select J. Edward Roush Lake to get information on activities, camping, lodging and fees, as well as trail maps and other maps of the reservoir.
Dubois County, Indiana
DeLorme Page 62, Grid A-6
38º 15′ 46.56″ N
86º 47′ 32.64″ W
From the North: Take U.S. 231 south into Dubois County. In Jasper, IN, take SR 162 southeast to SR 264. Turn left (east) onto SR 264 and drive 5 miles to the entrance of the forest.
From the East: Take I-64 west to SR 162 (exit #63). Turn right (north) onto SR 162, drive through the town of Ferdinand, then turn right (east) on SR 264 (Watch for Ferdinand State Forest sign on the right). Drive 5 miles to the State Forest entrance.
Author: Theresia Schwinghammer
Editors: Darel Heitkamp and Dick Patterson
No Records Found
Sorry, no records were found. Please adjust your search criteria and try again.
Google Map Not Loaded
Sorry, unable to load Google Maps API.
- About Us
- Bird Resources
- Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary
- Contact Us
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.