Northwest Indiana Birding Opportunities - Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area

Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area has become a state birding mecca each fall as visitors from all over the Midwest travel to see the annual migration of Sandhill Cranes.

Sandhill Cranes at Jasper Pulaski FWA Birding

The entire property encompasses over 8,000 acres of wetlands, upland forest, and leased crop rows. While much of the property is suitable for both migrating and breeding birds, much of this is overlooked by the massive crane gathering that occurs each spring and fall. Due to restoration work that began in the 1930s, coupled with feeding areas found in the surrounding area’s agricultural heritage, Jasper-Pulaski’ position within the eastern Sandhill Crane flyway has created the largest gathering of Sandhill Cranes east of the Mississippi River. Fall daily peak counts typically exceed 15,000 birds, with some highs reaching 30,000 birds. Outdoor Indiana once rated Jasper-Pulaski’s crane gathering as one of the top 20 things every Hoosier should see.

Visitors wishing to see the cranes will visit the crane viewing tower, located ¼ mile west of the property office. The parking lot has a paved interpretive trail leading to the viewing platform. Optics are mounted on the platform, and weekends can find the site busy with spectators.

eBird Hotspot Link:
ebird.org/hotspot/L248276

Total Birding Time:
1-2 hours will allow for a cursory scan of the property. 3-4 hours will allow for a more extensive search. Crane watches typically last 1-2 hours at sunset or sunrise in the spring and fall.

Best Times to Bird: 

February-March

 

MEDARYVILLE WEATHER

Address:
5822 Fish and Wildlife Lane
Medaryville, IN 47957
The main fish and wildlife area is easily accessed of State Road 421. The crane observation area is ¼ mile west of the property office.
Hours: Jasper Pulaski FWA is accessible 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Ownership: Indiana State Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Admission: No admission fee or registration needed.
Restrictions:  This is an active hunting area, so check on hunting dates and/or wear orange if visiting at dawn or dusk. Obey all posted rules and closed areas.  
Parking: Many parking lots exist throughout the property.
Accessibility: Paved roads, and restrooms are accessible. The crane observation platform is ADA accessible.
Phone Number: (219) 843-4841
Website: wildlife.in.gov

Written by: Brad Bumgardner
Photo by:
Shari McCollough