Indiana Dunes Birding Festival 2018

Although it wasn’t seen here at the tower, for just about everyone, the greatest highlight during this year’s birding festival was the White-tailed Kite.  This was the 3rd record of one in Indiana, and as of this morning, it is still present in the same area.

And here are the highlights from the tower site itself.

On Thursday, an American Bittern was seen flying by, 3 tern species were seen (CaspianCommon, & Forster’s), a Merlin Peregrine Falcon flew by, 620 migrating Blue Jays were counted, 253 Cedar Waxwings were counted, a late Golden-crowned Kinglet passed by, and a Clay-colored Sparrow hung out in the blowout.

On Friday, a bit of a decent raptor flight happened.  42 Turkey Vultures flew past, the highest count of them here this year.  A Bald Eagle & 3 Broad-winged Hawks also made up Friday’s raptor highlights.  171 Blue Jays, & 108 Cedar Waxwings were counted, and both Clay-colored Sparrow Lark Sparrow hung out nearby.  The Lark Sparrow can be seen below.


Saturday’s highlights included a Semipalmated Plover, and a Black-billed Cuckoo.

On Sunday, a very interesting thing happened.

The following story took place in a matter of seconds…
I first heard the sound of a Merlin approaching and it came into the blowout from the west. It had a male Baltimore Oriole in its talons! Along came an American Crow. This crow wanted to steal whatever prey the Merlin had, so it dive-bombed the Merlin. The Merlin dropped the oriole, revealing that the oriole was still alive. The crow went in to grab it, and started to carry off the still alive oriole in its beak. The crow dropped the oriole, and after all that, the oriole managed to fly away.

Also seen on Sunday were 2 Philadelphia Vireos,


and a male Summer Tanager in a very interesting stage of molting.




Today, 2 Black-billed Cuckoos were seen.  Yellow-belliedAlderWillow, & Least Flycatchers were present.  A Philadelphia VireoBlue-headed Vireo were nearby.  14 species of warblers were found around the tower including Connecticut Canada.  And we are clearly not done counting Pine Siskins as 35 were counted today.

The recent counts done from the tower can be viewed below.

May 17th (morning)

May 17th (afternoon)

May 18th (morning)

May 18th (afternoon)

May 19th

May 20th

& today, May 22nd.


2 thoughts on “Indiana Dunes Birding Festival 2018

  1. Amazing story about the Merlin, Oriole and Crow! I bet that was cool to see! I enjoy reading your blog!

  2. I also enjoyed the story of the Merlin. That is one lucky Baltimore Oriole. Some great finds, and excellent Blog. Thanks for the great work Kyle.
    All the best, Cindy Hedges

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