Photo Credits: Summer Tanager – Photo by John Valesquez and Red-bellied Woodpecker – Photo by Mike Timmons; Examples of birds seen at the location.
To examine the Waterfowl Area, park in the lot at the north end of the levee. Although other nearby sites, such as Winamac FWA and Jasper-Pulaski FWA, are better for large numbers of waterfowl, here one can find other species less directly associated with water. Phoebes, orioles, swallows, and woodpeckers are examples. During spring migration the old road at the south end of the pond can be good for migrant warblers and vireos. The vegetation at the northwest end of the pond attracts Soras and an occasional Virginia Rail.
The Tippecanoe River Nature Preserve consists of a river oxbow surrounded by bottomland vegetation. This area is frequented in migration by thrushes and American Redstarts, the latter of which may stay to nest. Prothonotary Warblers and Red-headed Woodpeckers are regular nesters in the preserve. The trail loops around to connect with other trails in the park.
Park road TR2 , leading north from TR1 near the campground, not only takes the birder to unique sites farther north, but in May hosts waves of migrating passerines parading throughout its length. By parking at the boat launch or just south of the railroad bed, one can explore the south half of Trail 5 , which passes through old orchard and riparian habitats. Thrushes are often seen ahead on the trail, which ends at the railroad bed. An early morning walk in May on the railroad bed elevates the birder above the adjacent shrubs, greatly enhancing the bird songs.
From the boat launch northward, Trail 5 passes beside the group camp to an old pine stand, good for lingering Red-breasted Nuthatches. The trail ends near a horseshoe bend of the river and Tepicon Hall. Also near the hall is the parking lot for the Sand Hill Nature Preserve , the site of some unusual sightings over the years. Access to the preserve from the parking lot is via Trail 8, which heads west and then turns north through a large pine stand. Singing Brown Creepers, Hermit Thrushes, and Veeries have been noted here during the summer. Reports of Ruffed Grouse have come from the part of the park.
Along TR1 south of the fire tower, American Woodcocks display in the pre-dawn hours of spring days, while Whip-poor-wills and Barred Owls can be heard in many of the wooded areas.
Typical Time to Bird Site: 3-6 Hours
- Most passerines can be found here during spring migration. The north-south alignment of trees along TR2 and Trail 5 often hosts a parade of warblers in May. Waterfowl are limited but include Canada geese and some dabblers. A few shorebirds can be found along river sandbars and seasonal puddles. All the regularly-occurring woodpeckers can be found here, although Pileateds can be difficult. The presence of a variety of woodland habitats and some open areas allows for a large daily species count.
- Specialty Species:
- Due to the geographic location of the park in the north central part of the state, one can find a wonderful mixture of birds typically categorized as being either “northern” or “southern” species. “Southern” Indiana specialties found here include:
- Orchard Orioles – May through August,
- Summer Tanagers – May through June,
- Northern Parulas – May through July,
- Louisiana Waterthrushes – Late April through mid-July,
- Kentucky Warblers – May through early July,
- Yellow-throated Warblers – Mid-April through early July, and
- Hooded Warblers – Mid-May though July.
- More traditionally “northern” species found at Tippecanoe River State Park include a permanent colony of Red-headed Woodpeckers , best seen April through October, and late spring Red-breasted Nuthatches . Although the Red-breasted Nuthatches may be easier to find from fall through early spring, the attractive habitat at this site keeps them here longer–into late spring and early summer. Most are gone by early June. The oxbow and river areas encourage the nesting of Prothonotary Warblers and American Redstarts . Look for both of these species from late April through August. At this latitude one has clearly crossed the line into Black-capped Chickadee territory, but Carolina Chickadeesoccasionally can be found from late March through October. One can also find Barred Owls year-round (yet more easily observed February through August), Whip-poor-wills April through July, and American Woodcockslate February through early June.
- Noteworthy Records:
- Summer records from 1997 include four Hermit Thrushes (one of them singing) and 2 Veeries with evidence of a nest. Two Brown Creeperswere seen building a nest in May 1988, with the male actively singing.Ruffed Grouse have been reported from the north end of the park.
GENERAL SITE INFORMATION
- State of Indiana / Indiana Department of Natural Resources
- Site Phone Number: 219-946-3213
- Dawn to dusk daily.
- The usual Indiana State Park entrance fee is collected. Also accepted is the annual State Park pass good for all Indiana DNR properties. Use the state parks link below for further details.
- Restrooms are located throughout the park and are well labeled on the park map.
- 112 Class A campsites are available in the park.
- Special Considerations:
- Insects: Mosquitos can be annoying during the warm months, especially in the oxbow areas.
- Temporal Considerations:
- All seasons can be quite satisfying, but birding activity is highest during May migration before the tree canopies have filled out.
- Goll, John.
- Indiana State Parks.
- Saginaw: Glovebox Guidebooks of America, 1995.
- Gorney, Don.
- “Brown Creeper in Indiana.”
- Indiana Audubon Quarterly 78.1 (2000): 3-15.
- Jackson, Brad.
- “Birding Indiana’s Back Roads: Tippy River Roundabout Part I.”
- Indiana Audubon Quarterly 70.2 (1992): 74-81.
- Keller, Charles E., Shirley A. Keller, and Timothy C. Keller.
- Indiana Birds and Their Haunts: A Checklist and Finding Guide. Second Edition.
- Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986.
- Seng, Phil T., and David J. Case.
- Indiana Wildlife Viewing Guide.
- Helena, MT: Falcon Press, 1992.
Author: Brad Jackson
Editor: Darel Heitkamp
Photos: John Valesquez and Mike Timmons (photos are examples of birds seen at this location)Location
Pulaski County, Indiana
DeLorme Page 26, Grid C-2
GPS: 41º 1′ 0″ N
85º 14′ 19.4″ WDirections
From the South: From the town of Winamac (SR 14, SR 119, US 35), take US 35 north for 4 miles to the park entrance.
From the North: From the town of Knox (SR 8, US 35), take US 35 south for 13 miles to the park entrance.
Once in the Park: The park roads consist of a paved loop (TR1), and a paved/gravel extension (TR2) leading to the north. Along the loop one can find the Tippecanoe River Nature Preserve and the Waterfowl Area. The fire tower is also along this road. The extension leads past the campground entrance, boat launch, group camp, and ends near the Sand Hill Nature Preserve. An extensive trail system allows for good site coverage. Obtain a map of the park at the gatehouse.
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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.