Enjoy Great Bird-Watching At Fort Harrison State Park

A beautiful multi-colored Parula Warbler (Parula pitiayumi) perched on a tree branch at Fort Harrison State Park.

Did you know that there’s a 1,700-acre nature preserve located near Marquette At Maple Knoll? Yes, we’re referring to Fort Harrison State Park. This historic park is one of the leading state park systems in the United States, in terms of self-sufficiency. It depends wholly upon user fees to offset its operational costs. Additionally, it offers some of the best breeding habitats in the greater Indianapolis region for both neotropical migrant and forest-dependent birds.

The park welcomes visitors year-round for bird watching. You can spot many species of warblers here, including:

The Northern Parula

Northern parulas are small wood warblers with short tails and thin, pointy bills. Adult males have blue-gray backs and bright yellow throats. Meanwhile, females sport white bellies and chestnut breast bands. These birds feed by catching insects off of branches. Northern parulas entertain bird watchers with their unique trill songs.

The Hooded Warbler

These birds live in deciduous forests containing dense undergrowths of mountain laurels and viburnums. The hooded warbler is currently listed as a species of special concern on the state conservation registry. These birds usually nest around the edges of forests or near shrubby clearings. Males are striking, with bright yellow foreheads, but females are duller in color. Hooded warblers capture insects and spiders through a foraging technique known as hawking. This hunting technique is also known as “fly-catching,” where the bird catches its prey in mid-air.

The Ovenbird

Ovenbirds are charming creatures, with bold black spots on their chests and black and orange striped crowns. They’re more robust than warblers. However, unlike most songbirds, they spend much of their time on the ground. The Ovenbird gets its name from its covered nest. The nest’s domed shape and side entrances resemble a Dutch oven.

All in all, Fort Harrison State Park is just one of the many outdoor attractions near Marquette at Maple Knoll. To call our community home, contact us to schedule a tour. We’d love to show you firsthand the fantastic amenities here!

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