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.
Sunday Morning Bird Walks
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
Ornithology Center Manager
A Greenwood native, Jenna has been visiting Eagle Creek Park her entire life, and even job shadowed here in 9th grade. Her parents were scientists so she’s had a deep love for nature instilled in her from a very young age. In 2015, she earned her Masters of Science in Environmental Science from Indiana University, which encompasses ecology, wildlife management, and conservation.
Since high school, Jenna has been an avid birder and loves being able to share with, and learn from park visitors, volunteers, and her colleagues at the Ornithology Center. She also loves being able to work with and take care of the wild raptors at the center. Her secret passion has always been wildlife care and rehabilitation, and she is glad to discover that she is not allergic to birds!
She loves working with children as she’s always believed that environmental education is essential, and is happy that she can promote it in her daily life. In her spare time, she enjoys playing piano, singing, painting, and traveling.
Indiana Birding Quicklinks
- Beginner’s Guide to Bird Watching
- Indiana Bird List
- Amos W. Butler Audubon Society
- Lights Out Indy
- Indiana Audubon Society
- Indiana Young Birders
- World Birding Center
- American Birding Association
Special thanks to other Ornithology Center donors: Amos Butler Audubon, Nature Sanctuary & Center Inc, Wild Birds Unlimited and Nina Mason Pulliam
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.