Northeast Indiana Birding Opportunities - Wing Haven Nature Preserve
A chain of beautiful small lakes, marshes, oak-hickory forests and rolling meadows make up this well- named preserve owned by ACRES Land Trust.
Sandhill Crane, Marsh Wren, Red-tailed Hawk, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Wood Thrush, and Blue-winged Warbler are some of the many birds. Of the three spring-fed lakes at the preserve, two are appropriately named Gentian and Little Gentian for the vibrant blue wildflower, the fringed gentian, which grows along the shore. This property was a gift from Ben and Helen Swenson, whose 19th century log buildings are used on the property. Today Wing Haven encompasses over 250 acres of preserve in Steuben County.
While the beautiful upland forests and early successional areas support many migrants and breeding birds, it’s the glacially carved kettle-hole lakes bordered by a wetland fen system that hold some of the most unique areas of interest to visiting birders. In secluded areas around the lakes Sandhill Cranes have established nests and Wing Haven was the site of the first nesting cranes in the state when they re-established themselves as a breeding bird in the early 1980s. Least Bittern and Marsh Wrens can also be found hidden among the cattails and reeds surrounding the chain of lakes.
In spring, a profusion of wildflowers, including white trillium, carpet deep ravines near hundred-year-old log buildings — one now used for ACRES events and another as the caretaker’s residence. Behind the log cabin studio lies a beautiful ravine with several bridges that cross the seasonal stream below.
Wing Haven serves as an important piece in a complex network of natural lands in NE Indiana. The property borders the DNR’s Trine State Recreation Area and Marsh Lake Wetlands State Fish and Wildlife Area, and is in close proximity to Pokagon State Park, McClue Nature Preserve, and Cedar Swamp Wetland Conservation Area.
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180 W 400 N
Angola, IN 46703
The park is easily accessible from I-69, and the Indiana Toll Road, 2 miles to the north. County Road 400 N intersects with State Road 127 approximately ½ mile from the preserves two parking lots. A long entrance road leads to a larger parking lot in addition to the smaller roadside lot.
Hours: Regular preserve hours are dawn to dusk.
Ownership: ACRES Land Trust
Restrictions: Please obey all rules and regulations. The former roadside parking lot is now closed, but visitors can still park down the longer entrance road.
Parking: One main parking lot is located down the entrance drive towards the caretaker home.
Nearby Amenities: Angola is located 2 miles to the south and has lodging, food, and other amenities. Camping is available at nearby Pokagon State Park. Cabins are available at Trine State Recreation Area.
Accessibility: Trails are generally easy to moderate, but none are ADA accessible.
Phone Number: (260) 637-2273
Written by: Brad Bumgardner
Photo by: Shari McCollough