Ornithology Center

Hours

Monday–Saturday, 10am–5pm
Sunday, 1pm-5pm

Free with park admission

Address:
6515 Delong Road
Indianapolis, IN 46254
317.327.BIRD (2473)

According to National Geographic, Indianapolis residents don’t need to travel far for excellent birding since Eagle Creek Park is considered a birding hot spot.

Every year, Eagle Creek Park’s Ornithology Center attracts just over 70,000 visitors from over 40 U.S. states and 15 countries worldwide!

Nestled just minutes away from downtown Indianapolis, visitors can find birds like bald eagles, great blue herons, double-crested cormorants, grebes, loons, and other amazing wildlife right in the city.

Situated nearest to the 71st street entrance, the Ornithology Center sits on top of a bluff overlooking the bird sanctuary to the west – a large area of retained water separated from the reservoir by Coffer Dam. The facility is surrounded by a diverse habitat of deciduous woods, ponds, streams, grassland and wetlands, which makes birding rewarding at any time of year.

Weekly Activities

Sunday Morning Bird Walks

Sundays, 9-11am 
Bird walks are led by members of the Amos W. Butler Audubon Society. Bring binoculars and dress for the weather! Walks take place rain or shine.

Meet a Raptor

Sundays, 2:30 pm Currently on Hold
Visit the resident birds, which are permanently injured and unable to survive in the wild. Rehabbed and healthy, these birds serve as ambassadors for environmental awareness and education. The public can “Meet a Raptor” up close for free every Sunday at 2:30p.m. 

Other Events

Check out the general events calendar, or click below to see our perennial and summer programs:

Plan A Field Trip

Call for available times
We have various options for unique learning activities.  Please call us now:

Building Features

Outdoor Migration Game

Follow the flyways of your favorite birds and face some obstacles along the way! The Ornithology Center’s very own Kevin Carlsen designed this interactive educational area right outside of the Ornithology Center to supplement what children learn about migration in the classroom. It’s a great way for families and children to gain a better understanding of the challenges birds face en route to their breeding ground. The self-guided tour navigates by use of ropes, balance beams, climbing walls, and streams – all mimicking hazards birds might experience during their travels.

Migration Game Guide

Observation Deck

On the south end of the building, there is a large observation deck and outdoor bird checklist with a detailed map of the park. Visitors can find out what birds have been spotted in the park, and then learn how to locate them on a map.

From the back observation room, you can look out over the bird sanctuary where it’s not uncommon to find a wide variety of birds including up to 21 species of ducks on their journey north. From the north observation room, you can watch resident and migratory birds visit the bird feeders and hummingbird garden, and the others that find the water feature for a cool drink or quick bath.

Hands-On Kiosks

Inside of the air-conditioned building, there are displays and several hands-on kiosks to learn more about individual birds, their calls, and migration patterns. There is also an interactive detailed map of the park that shows where the best birding trails are located.

Meet the Naturalists

Indiana Birding Quicklinks

Special thanks to other Ornithology Center donors: Amos Butler Audubon, Nature Sanctuary & Center Inc, Wild Birds Unlimited and Nina Mason Pulliam

Building History

The original building served as the private library of J.K. Lilly, and then transitioned into Eagle Creek Park’s Nature Center for 30 years. In 2010, it reopened as the Ornithology Center to focus primarily on birds and birdwatching.The Foundation funded all of the equipment, materials, and taxidermy used for the renovation. That same year, the Indiana Parks and Recreation Association recognized the Ornithology Center as an “Outstanding Facility” for notable buildings and recreation complexes completed that year (costing less than $250,000).

Part of the building revival included developing an 800-square-foot exhibit hall to feature four distinct habitats (forest, grassland, pond, and wetland), which displays approximately 100 taxidermy birds in their natural settings complete with tranquil sounds of nature. The birds showcased are native to Indiana and for the most part, can all be seen in the park.

Since then, around 3,000 students study the beauty and behavior of birds every year through live bird of prey programs at schools, or during field trips to the Ornithology Center. In addition, 150+ public programs are offered throughout the year as well. A new bird game was introduced recently by the Ornithology Center’s very own Kevin Carlsen, right in front of the facility.

"Eagle Creek Park is excellent for spring songbird migration, with 30 species of warblers possible on a good day in the beautiful deciduous woods."

- National Geographic's Guide to Birding Spots of the United States

Directions