Southwest Indiana Birding Opportunities - Somerville Mine

The Somerville Mining Complex is a private surface mining located in far southwestern Indiana.

Somerville Mine Owl watching on the Indiana Birding Trail

While the land is private, an assortment of public country roads intersects the area. Some of these roads offer a high point of view to the surrounding areas west and east.

Most birding is done from late fall through early spring, when waterfowl, raptors, and owls make use of the surrounding habitats. Above any season, the mines are best known for wintering raptors. Afternoon is best to get looks at predators like Sharp-shinned Hawks, Coopers’ Hawks, and Merlin. For larger hawks, you are very likely to see Red-tailed Hawks, and Rough-legged Hawks appear throughout. Rarities have included both Prairie Falcon and Ferruginous Hawk.
A birder favorite is the Short-eared Owls that appear during the winter and maintain their presence until early April. The owls are here in good numbers along multiple county roads. In appropriate grassland habitat, you’ll also see Northern Harriers in abundance. Begin looking approximately 2 hours before sunset for owls and harriers. Often before sunset you will already see photographers and birders along roadsides enjoying the show. Those that continue owling can listen for Barred and Great-horned Owls, as they are both found near the perimeters.

While birding the area, check for waterfowl in the multiple ponds. By spring, meadwolarks, sparrows, and other grassland birds can be added to your day’s checklist.

eBird Hotspot Link:

Total Birding Time:
1-3 hours
Sometimes longer if you’re seeking evening owls.

Best Times to Bird: 
Somerville Mine is a winter birding property, with some late fall and early spring birding being productive.


525 South/200 E
Somerville, IN 47683
Access from Highway 57, head east through Somerville on county road 525 S. This road will be your northern most point of interest. Primary roads searched should be along the north/south county roads 1100 E and 1200 E, looping around as far south as county road 900 S.

Ownership: Peabody Energy, Private Property.
Admission: No fees, but visitors must remain on public roads.
Restrictions: Please obey all rules and regulations. Use care parking along roadsides, while watching out for local traffic as you pull slightly off road for better view of any sighting. All road areas accessible by vehicle with no trails available. Respect all private property.
Parking: No public parking.
Nearby Amenities: Oakland City and Princeton, approximately 15 miles away, has food, fuel, and lodging. Camping can be found 10 miles to the southeast of the property.
Accessibility: All roadside. No ADA facilities.
Website: None
Phone Number: None

Written by: Heath Harlan
Photo by: Ryan Sanderson