It’s amazing how fast this winter has passed. Early winter Snowy Owls faded to no major bird irruption to keep birders busy, yet perhaps since this winter wasn’t as brutal and bone cold as last winter, we’re not as cooped up in cabin fever. And here it is March! The reasons to get out and bird multiply each week from here on out, and the opportunities certainly abound this spring as well.
We’re officially less than a week away from the longshore flight count at Indiana Dunes State Park. On March 9, seasoned count veteran, Brendan Grube, will return for his fourth season of migration logging. We’re only 25,359 birds away from 1 million birds counted since the project began. If you’re not familiar with the bird tower site, eBird.org saw it fitting enough to make it their first hotspot feature on their main homepage. Watch for a little contest in the coming week on guessing our 1 millionth bird!
Today, despite the cold winds from the lake, we set up the count area. The sunflower feeder was put up, thistle tube hung, suet cage ready, and a good 15 lbs of mixed seed dumped around the feeding area, perched high over Lake Michigan. It won’t take long for the first birds to notice. Day one should bring the first migrating gulls, horned larks, Red-winged Blackbirds, and perhaps a Killdeer or two.
Also worth noting is the upcoming Dunes Birding Festival on May 7-10, 2015. Registration is already online here. The festival promises to have a wide assortment of car pool birding tours, live bird of prey shows, engaging speakers, workshops, and more. There is also a special young birder’s family day at the State Park on Saturday of the festival.