Northwest Indiana Birding Opportunities - Richardson Preserve

The Richardson Preserve is an 100+ acre nature preserve located between LaPorte and Michigan City, off of US 35. The preserve is managed by the Flora Richardson Foundation and was purchased in recent years by Bicentennial Nature Trust funds for it's unique undisturbed natural conditions.  Continuing surveys build the total species list on the property in both birds and native plants, making a visit worthwhile in this region.

The Richardson Preserve property represents a relatively intact high-quality forested area, which is rare in the Indiana coastal region. The wooded areas are in various stages of succession and cover both uplands and lowlands. Several emergent wetlands dominated by sedges and grasses also exist on the property. These wetlands are fed by streams, springs, and seeps. At least two clear, cold, sand-bottom streams flow through the site and support a rich and stable community dominated by native plants.

There is enough heterogeneity in the landscape to support at least six types of plant communities, which in turn provide habitat for a diversity of fauna. Close to 300 plant species have been observed at the Preserve, with about 80% of those species being native to the region. While only cursory surveys for fungi have been undertaken, at least twenty species have been recorded. This relatively large area of contiguous natural landscape provides excellent habitat for a variety of animals such as insects, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. Both migratory and non-migratory bird species use the property. Over 100 different bird species have been documented at the Preserve. Common observations have included hawks, hummingbirds, owls, sparrows, warblers, and several types of woodpeckers.

Over 100 species have been recorded at the marsh. Most notable are the breeding warblers, including Ovenbird, Hooded Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Yellow-breasted Chat. Both cuckoo species can be seen with regularity.  Other forest species include Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Veery, and Baltimore Oriole.

eBird Hotspot Link:

Total Birding Time:
1-3 hours.

Best Times to Bird: 
Mid to late spring is best, while summer through early fall are also very good.


5265 Pawnee Trail
LaPorte, IN 46350
The parking lot is hidden inside a housing sub-division, so don't be deterred when seeking out the preserve. Signs pointing to the preserve can be found on the surrounding roads. 
Hours:  Sunrise to sunset
Ownership: Flora Richardson Foundation
Admission: Free.
Restrictions:  Please obey all rules and regulations. Absolutely NO hunting, gathering of plants, mushrooming or destruction or removal of any items permitted. Foot traffic only. 
Parking: Recommended parking is as per the address above.
Accessibility: Not ADA accessible. But as noted, the path is hard packed gravel, with accessible foot bridges.
Nearby Amenities: There are no restrooms or other facilities associated with the preserve. Nearest town, Michigan City and LaPorte both offer plenty of food, lodging, and other birding hotspots in area.

Written by: Penny Starin
Photo by: Flora Richardson Foundation