(Photos by Lori Gagen, local birder.)
Blue herons, bald eagles, hawks, owls, osprey, backyard residents, and migrators - you'll find them all in Noble County! From a bench, during a leisurely walk, or while taking on a more rugged nature trail, pack your binoculars and camera and enjoy discovering our many feathered friends!
Why Noble County?
Noble County is home to three of Indiana’s fourteen Bird Towns. Bird Town-designated communities are recognized for efforts to protect natural communities of birds, participate in natural resource management, remove bird hazards, and educate the public.
Visit the Indiana Audubon site for more information on these designations, earned by the communities of Albion, Kendallville, and Rome City.
Are you new to Birding?
If you are new to birding, we recommend getting started by becoming acquainted with the resources from the Indiana Audubon Society.
Gathering some recommended tools to keep handy during your treks is also a great idea. You can install the Audubon app to learn more and track what you see! Similarly, The Cornell Lab's All About Birds website will help you identify the birds you see by photo and/or sound. Cornell's Merlin App, installed on your mobile device, will put what many birders consider the very best tool for birding in your pocket. You can even track your own "life list" using these tools.
What's a "life list"? It is your own record of the first time you observe a species of bird. Birding enthusiasts keep life lists as a scrapbook of memories and can serve as a challenge to keep discovering more!
Where to go birding in Noble
Home to a variety of habitats, Chain O’ Lakes State Park is Noble County's most well-known spot for birders. Trails 4 and 5 are especially notable for meandering through a variety of habitats including woodland, near wetland, and lakeshore.
Seemingly endless opportunities abound with more than 23 miles of trails, and lakeside access points. You can even take to the chain of nine interconnected lakes by paddleboat, canoe, or kayak.
Owned and operated by Goshen College, Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center is home to over 1,000 acres featuring a variety of habitats. Explore from the farmstead to the north, where you'll find a small lake, or to the south, with wooded trails and meadow. The grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk. Use the trail map to ensure you stay on their designated paths.
There is a reason the famed author and naturalist, Gene Stratton-Porter, chose to build her Wildflower Cabin on the shores of Sylvan Lake. Indiana’ most widely read female author enjoyed discovering and observing native wildlife, including birds. She helped preserve the land around Sylvan Lake to house a variety of animals and species still visible along the shore, in the woods, and in the tree lines adjacent to farm fields and near restored wetlands on site. Visit Stratton-Porters historic home, walk the trails, and sit on one of the many benches or in the garden for great viewing opportunities.
Hidden Diamonds Park
Truly a "hidden gem," Hidden Diamonds Park in Albion has been designed to provide well for feathered friends. With a wide variety of natural and man-made habitats and houses, birds abound at this 89-acre park featuring rolling hills with a variety of trees, butterfly garden, wooded trails, and constructed wetland. Shore birds, migrants, and birds of all sizes are observed here.
Noble County is home to four properties that are open daily from dawn to dusk. These lands, preserved to their natural state, feature trails that will lead you to a variety of sightings, primarily in woodlands. Some also have water features, offering a wider variety of birds.
For a quiet lake or river habitat, visit one of Noble County’s more than 30 DNR public access points. Water may reveal bald eagles, great blue herons, egrets, red-tailed hawks, ducks, and more. You may even see a gull or two!
For more information about local birds and birding in Noble County, read Neil Case’s articles here. Mr. Case is a well-loved birder and author who has documented decades of his love for Indiana's local birds and nature.
We want to hear about your birding experiences in Noble County. Tag us on social media by using the hashtag #VisitNoble to share your experience!