By Noah Alatza
The Indiana Audubon Society will host two events Nov. 18 at Cool Creek Park and Nature Center, 2000 E 151st St. The Birding Crash Course is a beginning workshop in partnership with Hamilton County Parks and Cool Creek. The course is three hours starting at 9 a.m. and will be inside and outside the nature center’s auditorium.
The society was originally a volunteer organization before becoming subsidized over the summer. The workshop will be led by Indiana Audubon’s first executive director, Brad Bumgardner, who was appointed in July.
“This year we are sponsoring the whole series, from identification of birds to learning how to use binoculars,” Bumgardner said. “We do this once a month at different locations across the state. We are looking at another six or seven, and we will bring these (events) back time to time.”
The course is an introductory and interactive program and is offered statewide to introduce citizens to bird watching.
“We are seeing a lot of advancement in both optics and becoming more mainstream,” Bumgardner said. “People have a larger interest in birding, overall.”
The course includes the history of birding along with popular spots to see native Indiana birds, among other topics.
Registration is $15. Discounts are available to Indiana Audubon Society members.
Immediately following the course, the Audubon Society will leave from Cool Creak and travel to Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area at 1 p.m. More than 20,000 sandhill cranes converge there each fall.
“This is an annual recruitment event with a big convocation site. Historically, cranes gather there,” Bumgardner said. “There’s a field at dusk that is well suited for viewing.”
Special viewing platforms will be available. Usually about one hour before sunset, flocks of cranes glide in from all directions.
“Birding grows in popularity every year,” Bumgardner said. “Definitely, if you like nature and photography, this is a site to see. I think every Hoosier should witness it.”
More events are scheduled for Dec. 9 in Brown County.
Registration for the workshop is $48. Registration is available for both events online at indianaaudubon.org/events.