Central Indiana Birding Opportunities - Cope Environmental Center

Nestled between Richmond and Centerville, Cope Environmental Center showcases a diverse landscape shaped by prairies, wetlands, forests, and conifer habitats.

A vibrant rainbow gracing the blue sky above the Cope Environmental Center entrance.


Founded by Jim Cope, an Earlham College ornithology professor, and his wife Helen, the center’s rich history reflects their deep passion for birds and education. The property has hosted 181 bird species, with 145 reported annually. Wetlands burst with life during spring, summer, and fall, featuring Red-winged Blackbirds, Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, herons, sparrows, flycatchers, and warblers. Notable sightings include Green Heron, Sora, Willow Flycatcher, and Marsh Wren.

Prairies are home to year-round residents like Northern Harrier and American Kestrel, alongside occasional visitors like Bobolink, Bell’s Vireo, and Lark Sparrow. Forest edges attract a diverse array of species, from Yellow-bellied Flycatcher to Indigo Bunting. The deciduous forest attracts Cooper’s Hawk, Acadian Flycatcher, and vibrant warblers like Cerulean and Blackburnian. Conifer forests harbor Pine Warbler and Red-breasted Nuthatch. Notable visitors include Eastern-whip-poor-will, Pine Siskin, and Evening Grosbeak.

Kite Pond, bordered by large bald cypress trees, and three miles of intersecting hiking trails provide scenic beauty. The main building, certified as a living building, offers facilities and an educational room at the north end. The south end features the old Cope house and the summer program building. Corn and soybean fields surround the property, contributing to its unique charm.

eBird Hotspot Link: eBird.org/hotspot/L1061630

Total Birding Time:
2.5-3 hours

Best Times to Bird: 
Year-round, with the highest concentration of birds during spring and fall migration.



Address: 1730 Airport Rd, Centerville, IN 47330
Hours: Open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed Saturdays and Sundays. Hiking trails are open from dawn to dusk seven days a week. Maps are available outside on each end of the property.
Ownership: Cope Environmental Center
Admission: Free
Restrictions: None
Parking: Gravel parking on site. Accessible parking is available on the north and
south side of the property.
Nearby Amenities: Restrooms available on site in the main building. Cope is close to Wildman Woods and Iverson Woods, both managed by Earlham College. Just 10 mins from Downtown Richmond, 4 mins from Centerville, with nearby amenities.
Richmond and Centerville offer diverse accommodations, dining, and shopping. Cope is less than 30 mins from Brookville Lake and 40 mins SE of Summit Lake.
Accessibility: All facilities are ADA accessible, and the majority of trails can accommodate assisted wheelchairs or individuals with mobility assistance.
Website: visitcope.org
Phone Number: (765) 855-3188

Written by: Jeremy Proeschel
Photo by: 
Justin Rayborn