Southwest Indiana Birding Opportunities - Hovey Lake Fish & Wildlife Area

Hovey Lake Fish & Wildlife Area (FWA) offers a very unique birding experience for the state of Indiana. The property is located at the confluence of the Ohio and Wabash rivers. This 7,400 acre property consists of an extensive river bottomland ecosystem including oxbow lakes, bottomland hardwoods, open marshes and cypress sloughs.


These unique habitat types offer Indiana birders the feeling of being in the deep south while remaining in Indiana. Throughout the property there many several mowed lanes, mowed levees and other trails that offer good access for birding opportunities. Hovey Lake FWA serves as a critical migration stop for many waterfowl and shorebird species during the fall and winter months. During the springtime a wide variety of migratory songbirds can be viewed on the property as well..

Hovey Lake FWA is a great site to see a variety of waterfowl during migration. A pair of eagles reliably nests in a snag every year; their huge nest is easily visible from land and can be watched and photographed from a distance without disturbing the birds. Wading birds such a Great Egret are reliable in summer; search among them for a rare Snowy Egret or Little Blue Heron August through September. Red-headed Woodpeckers are abundant, along with the more common woodpecker species.

Although American Crows are common on this property, pay close attention to crow vocalizations and you might pick out a Fish Crow giving its distinctive “uh-uh” call. Rusty Blackbirds, a species in steep decline, can be found on the property winter through early spring. Swampy areas with nesting cavities are home to numerous Prothonotary Warblers in summer.

A wide variety of raptors can be seen at Hovey throughout the year, including Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk, Northern Harrier, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and American Kestrel. Barred Owls are common in this area.

eBird Hotspot Link:

Total Birding Time:
2-4 hours

Best Times to Bird: 
All seasons can be rewarding depending on the birds of interest. Though late winter through spring are the most popular times to visit. 


8401 Highway 69 S
Mount Vernon, IN 47620

Hours: The park is open 24 hours a day.
Ownership: Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish & Wildlife Area
Admission: None
Restrictions: During the winter months including December-February some marsh levees and mowed trails may be closed to avoid conflict with the waterfowl hunting season. For further information on property specific regulations visit
Parking: An abundance of parking lots are available throughout the property.
Nearby Amenities: The closest town to Hovey Lake Fish and Wildlife Area is Mount Vernon, Indiana. Mount Vernon offers two hotels for overnight lodging as well several food options. Other local attractions in Posey County include Twin Swamps Nature Preserve and Harmonie State Park which both offer excellent birding opportunities.
Accessibility: Most travel is along access roads, which are not paved.
Phone Number: (812) 838-2927

Written by: Amy Kearns
Photo by: 
Sharon Sorenson