Central Indiana Birding Opportunities - Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary

The Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary (MGBS) is a 700-acre property owned by the Indiana Audubon Society and is located on the edge of the glacial till flatlands of east central Indiana and is to be birded on foot-trails.

Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary Birding Trail


MGBS provides mature forested habitat traversed with creeks. Maintained fields and ponds are also present. The west end of MGBS contains the Mary Gray Nature Preserve; recently designated by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

MGBS provides important stopover points for migrating species as well as breeding grounds for summer residents. Walking the Wetland Trail follows a large creek through forest and takes birders to the seasonal wetland area and forest edges that provides excellent birding. Returning to the parking area via the service road will lead birders through maintained open areas and an established prairie. Summer breeding birds include Wood Thrush, both cuckoo species, Cerulean Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler and Scarlet Tanager.

MGBS is also well known as a bird research observatory. Bird banding occurs year-round, with migration and summer breeding bird banding being the most notable. The public is welcome to watch on most Saturdays. Additionally, fall Saw-whet Owl banding takes place in late October through November, and an exceptional abundance of hummingbirds makes this place prime hummingbird banding and viewing location. A hummingbird celebration also takes place each late summer.

eBird Hotspot Link:

Total Birding Time:
2-3 hours

Best Times to Bird: 
Spring and fall migrations produce exceptional diversity. Banding operations frequently take place. Additional events are posted on the webpage. Picnic lunches are suggested for birding during migration to make it a day outing.



3499 S. Bird Sanctuary Road
Connersville, IN. 47331
From the north or south: Take IN 101 south out of Connersville. In 3.5 miles, turn West on County Road 350 South. This road ends at the entrance to MGBS. From the west: Take IN 44 out of Rushville and through Glenwood. Turn south on County Road 650. Turn east at the stop-sign (W County Road 150 S). Pass 3 county roads and then turn south on Bird Sanctuary Road. This road ends at the entrance to MGBS.
Hours: Sunrise to sunset, though many bird related events begin and end after the set hours.
Admission: There is no entrance fee. However, donations are encouraged; MGBS is supported entirely from donations.
Restrictions: MGBS strives to maintain a natural area for native fauna and flora. Visitors are encouraged to use boot scrubbers and remain on trails. Harvesting of forest products is not allowed. Leashed pets are allowed.
Parking: There is a centralized parking area.
Nearby Amenities: On site restroom is available. Primitive camping is available for Indiana Audubon Society members. A parking-lot kiosk provides maps. Connersville and Rushville are both nearby towns with hotels, restaurants, and shopping areas.
Accessibility: All of the trails are rustic, uneven, and have various degrees of hills. The service road is partially graveled. The restroom is ADA accessible.
Website: indianaaudubon.org
Phone Number: (765) 205-1255

Written by: Phil English
Photo by:
Josh Hill