Southeast Indiana Birding Opportunities - Falls of the Ohio State Park
The Falls of the Ohio is one of the most historic birding sites in the U.S., with John James Audubon going bankrupt with his business in Louisville because of the time he spent at the Falls between 1808-1810 observing and sketching birds.
Alexander Wilson also visited about the same time. Over 275 species have been documented.
The rocky outcrops in the middle of the Ohio River have served as habitat for a wide variety of shorebirds and waterfowl. Terns, gulls, sandpipers, and related species may be seen feeding on outer fossil beds, although their numbers have declined with the resident falcon nest at the Falls. Riparian woodlands provide good birding for warblers, woodpeckers, Indigo Buntings, Baltimore Orioles, and Cedar Waxwings.
Nesting birds at the Falls include Black-crowned Night–heron, Great Egret, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Cattle Egret, and Double-crested Cormorants on Shippingport Island (not accessible, but good for a spotting scope); Great Blue Heron on Goose Island and Peregrine Falcon on the Louisville & Indiana RR Bridge. These birds are visible feeding or flying over the river. Nesting woodland birds may be seen in the park.
A bird viewing room with a variety of feeder-types and a microphone is located inside the Interpretive Center, and may be visited without paying regular admission. It is possible to see a bird inches from the glass.
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201 West Riverside Dr.
Clarksville, IN 47129.
Falls is located 1 miles west of I-65. Southbound take exit 1; northbound (from Kentucky) take exit 0. The George Rogers Clark Home Site is at 1805 W. Harrison Ave, Clarksville, IN 47129.
Hours: Park open 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM. Interpretive Center open 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday – Saturday, Sunday 1:00 to 5:00 PM (summer hours 9 to 5).
Ownership: Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of State Parks and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (1404 acre National Wildlife Conservation Area.)
Admission: $2 per vehicle for parking by the Interpretive Center, other lots free. No gate house. Admission to the interpretive center for viewing exhibits is $9 age 12 & up; $7 age 5 to 11; under 5 is free.
Restrictions: Please obey all rules and regulations. A summary of property rules can be found at stateparks.IN.gov/6468.htm.
Parking: Behind the Interpretive Center and at the George Rogers Clark home site.
Nearby Amenities: Restrooms are located in the Interpretive Center while it is open. Numerous hotels and restaurants are located within two miles of the park, in Clarksville and Jeffersonville. Ashland Park, located just upriver from the McAlpine Dam, is a popular winter waterfowl observation area.
Accessibility: The Interpretive Center deck is completely accessible for birding.
Phone Number: (812) 280-9970
Written By: Alan Goldstein
Photo by: Mike Jones