Since I started birding five years ago Labor Day has taken on a new meaning.
Labor Day means the loss of some prime birding habitat to hunters. On September 1, dove season marks the start of hunting season that goes through late January. Or five months of the year. When I lived in Illinois that meant the loss of most of Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks, where I did most of my birding. This led to a switch to Illini State Park and Hennepin and Hopper Lakes, both non-hunting areas. Illini State Park isn’t all bad as warblers seem to prefer it in the fall (food source?). But Hennepin and Hopper Lakes was a 40 minute drive as opposed to the 20 minute drive to the other areas. Also Hennepin and Hopper Lakes aren’t in LaSalle County.
In Indiana I’m going to have to switch from Atterbury FWA to, well I’m not sure where yet. The odds are it will be Johnson County Park or Driftwood State Fishing Area or even a local park. But until I get through migration, I’m not sure. I could go to Eagle Creek Park west of Indianapolis, but it is a 40 minute drive and it’s not in Johnson County. Sounds like the previous paragraph doesn’t it?
I know I could dress in orange and stick to the roads in the areas that are being hunted. But that isn’t a smart option.
So Labor Day means it is time to go BushWhacking and find new (non-hunting) birding spots in my local area.