Southwest Indiana Birding Opportunities - Wabashiki Fish & Wildlife Area

Wabashiki Fish & Wildlife Area (FWA) opened in 2010. Wabashiki is the Native American name for the Wabash River. The Wabashiki FWA contains 2,700 acres along the west bank of the Wabash River between Terre Haute and West Terre Haute. Most of the property is located within the river floodplain.

Many portions of the property offer excellent bird watching opportunities for any species of birds. Activity by wetland-dependent birds in Wabashiki fluctuates with the rise and fall of Wabash River and available water within the floodplain. Flooding of the Wabashiki property begins when the river crests at or above 14’0”. Receding floodwaters trap large numbers of fish. Slowly shrinking pools of water often remain for many weeks to months into the summer and sometimes fall. Stranded fish are especially attractive to herons, egrets and eagles.

Dewey Point Trailhead is the most visited site in Wabashiki FWA. A birding scope is recommended to aid in viewing birds from the overlook. If you don’t own a scope you may use a public scope provided at the roofed overlook shelter. Scan the cottonwood trees and snags for eagles, cormorants, great blue herons and more. The height of bird activity at Dewey Point usually occurs during late summer. During ideal conditions, well over 100 egrets and 18+ bald eagles have been recorded in a single scan from the overlook. 

The two Wabash River bridges just west of the Vigo County courthouse, support a large summer breeding population of cliff sparrows. Their jug-shaped mud nests are visible under the protected bridge decking year-around. During the winter, scan the river for various species of waterfowl. The annual Wabash Valley Audubon Christmas Bird Counts have recorded scoters, mergansers and multiple species of ducks on the river.

Other notable species include: American White Pelicans, Bald Eagles, Lark Sparrows, Grasshopper Sparrows, Cattle Egret, Black-necked Stilts, and Wilson Phalarope.

eBird Hotspot Link:

Total Birding Time:
2-4 hours

Best Times to Bird: 
All seasons can be rewarding depending on the birds of interest. Depending upon water levels, waterfowl are generally present October through April, whereas herons and egrets can be found May through September. Shorebirds first appear March through May, then return to
the area in early July through November.



Address: 110 East National Ave., West Terre Haute, IN 47885. Wabashiki is managed by Deer Creek FWA. Deer Creek FWA is west of Putnamville, Indiana (Putnam County) off of U.S. 40.
Hours: The park is open 7am to dusk in the summer and 8am to dusk in the winter months.
Ownership: Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish & Wildlife Area
Admission: None
Restrictions: Access to Wabashiki FWA requires the simple process of completing a permit card, available at hunter check in stations.
Parking: Main parking lots are located within the county park.
Nearby Amenities: Modern facilities are available at Dewey Point Trailhead,110 East available in Terre Haute. Lodging and accommodations are available in Terre Haute, IN
Accessibility: There are no paved trails in Wabashiki FWA. Many birders walk along the quiet roads, and lake overlooks.
Phone Number: (765) 653-0453

Written by: Marty Jones
Photo by: 
Naturally Bloomington