If you’re interested in bird-friendly habitats, then Fort Wayne, Indiana is the place to be. Designated in 2014 as a Bird Town Indiana by the Indiana Audubon Society, Fort Wayne has met criteria that make it especially bird-friendly.
Where to Bird Watch in Fort Wayne, Indiana
According to Jeff Canada, the past president of the Indiana Audubon Society, Fort Wayne is one of 11 urban areas in the state to have achieved this designation. “The idea is … to draw community cooperation” he explained about the program. Communities are encouraged to make their spaces animal-friendly by including native plants, cultivating wild growth lawns, and curbing the habits of predatory animals.
In Fort Wayne, there are plenty of places to see some avian action. Dena Purcell, of the store Wild Birds Unlimited, recommended these prime bird-watching spots.
Lindenwood Nature Preserve
Located on the southwest side of town, Lindenwood Nature Preserve has 110 acres of land with four trails and is close to Lindenwood Cemetery. Purcell explained that there are a number of old-growth trees and evergreens that attract lots of birds; in the winter, there are migrating birds that like to take shelter in the trees. Summertime brings out the nesting birds. Click on Lindenwood’s link to find their brochure and trail guide. Admission is free.
Fox Island County Park
According to the Indiana Audubon Society (IAS), Fox Island is the best place in northeast Indiana to see migrant woodland songbirds. The IAS recommends visiting during the early morning hours when birds are the most active; specific details on where to find different types of birds can be found here.
At least 219 different species of birds have been sighted at Fox Island, and visitors are welcome to participate in events like the Christmas Bird Count and the Backyard Bird Count. Plus, there is a bird observation building, so you can stay in the dry comfort of the indoors.
Park admission is $2 per person, ages 7 and up. Park hours vary by season.
Metea County Park
Located on the northern side of Fort Wayne, Metea has 250 acres of wilderness including the 120-acre Meno-aki State Nature Preserve and Cedar Creek, a state scenic river. Admission is $2 per person, ages 7 and up.
Native plants, animals – and birds – make their home in this wetlands area. Purcell explained that many birders come to Eagle Marsh to spot waterfowl.
There are 219 bird species that have been spotted at Eagle Marsh including tundra swan and tree swallows. Discover the best time to see birds with Eagle Marsh's frequency-of-sightings list.
No admission is charged. Call (260) 478 - 2515 or click on their website for more information.
Inside Fort Wayne
Purcell included a few places within city limits that are good for bird spotting. The Rivergreenway is good “if you want to take a stroll,” she added. The Rivergreenway is classified as a ‘linear park,’ and it travels along the banks of Fort Wayne’s three rivers. It is 25 miles long and winds through Fort Wayne and New Haven.
Purcell also recommended Franke Park, which is close to the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. (A map of Franke Park’s trails can be found here.) A bald eagle has been spotted in Franke Park; he likes to visit only in the winter time when you might see him flying overhead.