Southwest Indiana Birding Opportunities - Spring Mill State Park
Spring Mill State Park, established in 1927, offers birders a chance to view a wide variety of bird species.
Comprising 1,358 acres, it is home to a parcel of virgin timber accessible on trail 3, and surrounded by large blocks of regenerated native forest and planted pines. Many southern Indiana woodland birds can be spotted. Broad-winged Hawks and Barred Owls call the park’s woods home too. In spring and summer colorful migratory species, including the Kentucky Warbler, Scarlet and Summer Tanagers, Red-eyed Vireo, Wood Thrush, Acadian Flycatcher, Northern Parula, and Eastern Wood-Pewee are common. Yellow-Throated Warblers can be found along perennial streams bordered by American sycamores. The larger cave entrances in this karst-dominated topography offer nest sites to Eastern Phoebes and Northern Rough-winged Swallows.
All of Indiana’s woodpeckers are common at Spring Mill and additional cavity nesters use over 20 bluebird nesting boxes throughout the park. Visit the Lakeview Activity Center for more information on bird nesting box locations.
A man-made, 26-acre lake provides scenic views and opportunities for waterfowl viewing with occasional sightings of Pied-billed Grebes, Bald Eagles, Common Loons, Great Blue Herons, and Great Egrets. While hiking along Hamer Creek, which is one of the lake tributaries, look for nesting Louisiana Waterthrushes.
Just below Spring Mill Inn, off trails 1 and 5, you can observe a large night roost of Black and Turkey Vultures roosting during winter months. The Lakeview Activity Center has feeders that attract Carolina Chickadees, Northern Cardinals, American Goldfinches, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, White-breasted Nuthatches, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and Tufted Titmice.
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3333 St. Rd. 60 E.
Mitchell, Indiana 47446
State Road 60 is the main entrance drive into the park. The park is about 5 miles from S.R. 37. and about 30 miles south of Bloomington.
Hours: Regular park hours are 7am-11pm, although birders are usually welcome earlier. The Lakeview Activity Center is open 10am-5pm seven days a week April-October and 9am-4pm Saturday-Wednesday from November-March.
Ownership: Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of State Parks.
Admission: Indiana State Park entrance fees apply. $7 in-state vehicles, $9 out of state vehicles. No gate fee on certain off-season days.
Restrictions: During busy summer periods the park can be crowded with hikers and campers. Please obey all rules and regulations. A summary of property rules can be found at stateparks.IN.gov/6468.htm.
Parking: Parking is available at trailheads, the Lakeview Activity Center, Spring Mill Inn, the Gus Grissom Memorial, Donaldson Cave, the Pioneer Village and various other locations.
Nearby Amenities: Vault toilets can be found throughout the park although some are closed during the winter. Modern facilities are available at Lakeview Activity Center, Spring Mill Inn, Donaldson Shelter parking lot, the Gus Grissom Memorial, and the Pioneer Village. Dining and overnight options are available at the Inn. The campground has both electric and primitive sites.
Accessibility: The Lakeview Activity Center has a paved accessible entrance. All modern facilities are ADA accessible. Trail 6, by the Gus Grissom Memorial, is a paved .25 mile walk with beautiful karst, woodland views.
Phone Number: (812) 849-3534
Written by: Sheree Belt
Photo by: Heather Doty