Why the BushWhacking Birder?

The title could have easily been the adventurous birder or the exploring birder or the local birder. And following is why any of those titles would have worked.

My birding is based on one principle – all birds that should appear in an area do appear in that area. They just haven’t been discovered yet.

So I spend most of my birding time exploring areas close to home looking for birds that are usually listed as uncommon or rare on status and distribution charts. I know I could drive to birding spots farther away and see these species. And I occasionally do.  But I would rather use the time spent driving exploring my local area searching for uncommon birds.

And much of that time spent exploring consists of going through thickets, walking through muck, walking in wet sedge fields up to my chest, etc. BushWhacking if you will. There isn’t a Monday I go to work without scratches on my face or arms or itching from a multitude of bites. I have had to go to the hospital from such a bad case of poison ivy that my calf was bigger than my thigh. (looking for shorebirds but that is another story)

Do I find something uncommon on all of those adventures? Sometimes, but usually not. But the satisfaction from the sometimes far outweigh the usually nots.

So this blog will focus on how I ended up birding for local uncommon or difficult to find birds and help fill in some of the gaps I perceive in the literature for the newer or maybe even experienced birder. Plus I will include a few of my birding adventures and thoughts on everything bird related.

And oh, my wife thought BushWhacking Birder sounded better than the other options.

3 Replies to “Why the BushWhacking Birder?”

  1. I am so glad to find a birder in my area. I live in Shelby county. In years past a friend and I birded regularly at Atterbury. She moved to Seymour 15 years ago so we birded at Muscatatuck mostly.

    Lucky for me my grand daughter has shown an interest in going birding with me. We started going to Atterbury since it’s so close. The problem is we don’t see much of any thing. The best place we’ve found is the area around the POW chapel. We see sparrows on Stone Arch road some too.Is there any place else you can point us to?

    When we go she likes to see birds. We go to Muscatatuck a lot, but it’s a 45 minute drive. Atterbury is 15 minutes away. We like going, but would be so much more fun to find the hot spots.

    Thank you for posting in my area.


    1. Hi Terri. Yes, there are a few other birders in the area. Not many, but a few.

      Currently I have been looking for migrant warblers, vireos, thrushes, etc. The best spot I have found in Atterbury is at the north end of River Road (the first road into the park off E800S) where it turns west towards the iron bridge. The stretch just before the turn and then on to the iron bridge have been productive. Remember dove season is in so stick to the road.

      The observing platform at Honker Haven has also had a nice mix of herons and shorebirds plus the occasional hawk. Last weekend there was a Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, several Green Heron, Canada Geese, Blue-winged Teal. and a Red-tailed Hawk plus the shorebirds.

      The rest of the park is pretty much off limits with dove season but I’ll let you know if I find another good spot along the roads. Let me know how it goes since it has been spotty so far this fall.


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