Walner Nature Preserve Chesterton Brad Bumgardner

Shirley Heinze Fall Bird Count

Shirley Heinze Land Trust Bird Count with Indiana Audubon Society

photo of Brad Bumgardner withbinoculars at Walner Nature Presreve in Chesterton
Brad Bumgardner at Walner Nature Preserve in Chesterton

By Terry Bonace

      A  group of skilled birders spread out to visit sixteen Shirley Heinze Land Trust nature preserves throughout Northwest Indiana. From Lake County to St. Joseph County, they were out looking for migratory birds on one of our peak fall migration days. The knowledge of these birders, the cooperative weather, and most of all, the quality of the habitat within these nature preserves, resulted in the sighting of 108 species and over 1,876 individual birds.

     The day began at a chilly thirty-seven degrees, and gradually warmed into the sixties by late morning, increasing bird activity with the warming air. Fall warblers, known for their gorgeous colors spring, provided a challenge for identification in their slightly less gaudy fall plumage, but rarities like the Golden-winged and Mourning Warbler were seen.
     Fifteen Purple Finches, no longer purple in September at all, but recognized by their pattern of streaking, and very hard to find in the wild, were located. Uncommon sparrows like the Clay-colored and Lincoln’s, an early arriving Pine Siskin, and raptors, including Cooper’s Hawk and Sharp shinned Hawk, Northern Harrier, Barred Owls, and no less than two representatives of our national bird, the Bald Eagle, and all seven species of our local woodpeckers, were also spotted. See the list at the following link for a complete report of species seen. 2020 SHLT IAS BIRD COUNT.
    Local protected forests, prairies, dunes, and wetlands, preserved by Shirley Heinze, are essential for the survival of a huge diversity of plants, as well as the invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals that make their homes within this complex web of nature. The birds that feed on the bounty of fruits, invertebrates, and small mammals, and use the plants, shrubs, and trees for nesting and cover during migration, are indicators of environmental health.

Preserves Visited:

To find a nature preserve near you, visit the Shirely Heinze Preserves page.

Shirley Heinze Land Trust Links: BirdingLand ProtectionNature Preserves / By Guest Contributor


endangered species found in Cedar Lake Indiana e1603720828149
Endangered Species Found In Cedar Lake Indiana

On July 2nd, 2020 Humane Indiana Wildlife received a call about two young chicks found in a window well in Cedar Lake, IN. Upon further communication with the two teens who found the chicks, it was determined the chicks were actually Virginia Rails, an endangered species in the state of Indiana. “When the finder Continue Reading 

KANKAkee fish and wildlife preserve indiana visitindianaTop 7 NwIndiana Birding Locations, Click Here
 Indiana’s diverse habitats are home to over 400 documented bird species, making it the perfect place for a birding adventure. The birding experiences won’t disappoint, from the one-of-a-kind migration of Sandhill Cranes to Bald Eagles perched atop tree-tops. Continue Reading. . . 

sunset hill observation deck scaled e1589921926327New Observation Deck at Sunset Hill Park

A new wetland observation deck at Sunset Hill Farm County Park is ready for visitors. Located on the northeast side of the pond, the viewing platform provides access for birdwatching and observing wetland wildlife. It will also serve as a place to provide educational programming about wetland plants and animals, which has become a popular…Continue Reading →

Hammond bird sanctuary hammond indiana birding e1493044191433
Hammond Bird Sanctuary
    The Hammond Lakefront Park & Bird Sanctuary, a 600-meter wooded strip of Lakefront fill, lies within a kilometer of the Illinois line on Lake Michigan. A virtual oasis of vegetation within a vast urban sprawl, this site, once well-known simply as “The Migrant Trap,” is flanked to the west by the Commonwealth Edison power plant and to the east by Hammond Marina. The address is 701 Casino Center Dr, Hammond, IN 46320. Continue Reading . .

 Gibson Woods nature preserve hammond indianaEnvironmental Activism is PanoramaNOW’s Major “Cause” –
You can read more about these following Subjects Below:
• Birding Articles 
• Nature Articles
• Indiana Dunes Articles
• Parks and Recreation Articles 
• Recreation Articles
• Gardening and Landscaping Articles
• Lake Michigan Articles

observation deck at sunset hill county park valparaiso indiana

Outdoor Activities in Nwi
Bowling  – Valparaiso
Forest park Golf and Creekside Golf – Valpo
Maintenance Tips for Your RV
Biking – NWIndiana
Baseball – Gary
Hiking in Northwest Indiana
Hike the Moraine Nature Preserve – Valpo
Hiking At Sunset Hill County Park – Valpo
Wolf Lake Pavilion – Hammond
Fishing Essentials
Hidden Lake Park – Merrillville
Portage Lakefront Riverwalk Park
Lansing Country Club – Golf
Hammond Bird Sanctuary – Hammond
Gabis Arboretum – Valparaiso
Mount Baldy – Indiana Dunes
Edge Adventure Park (Zip Lines) Hobart
Whoa Zone Water Park – Whiting
Northwest Indiana Fall Colors – LaPorte
Ice Fishing – NWIndiana
Sledding – NWIdiana
Ice Skating – NWIndiana



Sue Baxter