Thursday, September 18, 2014
About the Photographer


Marty Jones has been interested in bird photography ever since his first visit in 2004 to see the magnificent flocks of Sandhill Cranes at Jasper-Pulaski FWA.  Marty enjoys the challenges and rewards of taking a good bird photograph and meeting other people who share an interest in birding and bird photography.

Marty is a Regulatory Compliance Consultant for the Indiana Statewide Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives and lives near Terre Haute with his daughter Addison. Visit Marty L. Jone's Bird Photography Website. You'll see over 260 different Indiana bird species represented in the site including several rarities.

Backyard Birds of Indiana

Common Feeder Birds

Feeding backyard birds is often a lot of fun, but have you ever wondered what kind of bird is at your feeder? We're here to help! Thanks to the photographic efforts of Marty Jones, this page will help you learn the most common birds that visit our Indiana feeders.

Thanks for visiting and THANK YOU for feeding our feathered friends!

 Northern Cardinal  White-breasted Nuthatch
Northern Cardinal 
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
White-breasted Nuthatch
 Dark-eyed Junko  Brown-headed Cowbird Carolina Chickadee
Dark-eyed Junco
Brown-headed Cowbird
Carolina Chickadee
 American Robin  Downie Woodpecker European Starling
American Robin
Downy Woodpecker
European Starling
Mourning Dove Song Sparrow
House Sparrow
Mourning Dove
Song Sparrow

Bird of the Month

American Bittern

by Alexandra Forsythe


Despite its size (23” – 33” inches in length with a wingspan of 36”), this member of the heron family can be quite difficult to see. It is a master of camouflage! With the American Bittern’s thick neck and bill, yellow eyes, and stripes of brown, tan and white, it blends perfectly in the tall reeds. American Bitterns are usually solitary birds and they move slowly and fluidly through the vegetation imitating the movement of the plants (watch a video here). Even when they are actively searching for food, they do so in low light and usually use a “stand and wait” approach to hunting.

When alarmed, the American Bittern will not fly away as other herons do. Instead, it will hold perfectly still with its beak straight up in the air in an attempt to become indistinguishable from the plants surrounding it. Professor Walter Barrows was impressed with the Bittern’s ability to blend so perfectly with the swaying cattails and described his observations in “Life History of Marsh Birds”: “As we stood admiring the bird and his sublime confidence in his invisibility, a light breeze ruffled the surface of the previously calm water and set the cattail flags rustling. Instantly the bittern began to sway gently from side to side with an undulating motion which was most pronounced in the neck but was participated in by the body and even the legs. So obvious was the motion that it was impossible to overlook it, yet when the breeze subsided and the flags became motionless the bird stood as rigid as before and left us wondering whether after all our eyes might not have deceived us.”

The American Bittern has a unique, gulping “oong-ka-choonk” call that has been described as sounding like a water pump. Nutall described it as “the interrupted bellowing of a bull, but hollower and louder, and is heard at a mile’s distance, as if issued from some formidable being that resided at the bottom of the waters.” In “Summer”, Henry David Thoreau joked that the Bittern was able to make that watery call by thrusting its bill deep into the ground until it found water: “I went to the place, but could see no water, which makes me doubt if water is necessary to it in making the sound. Perhaps it thrusts its bill so deep as to reach water where it is dry on the surface. It does not sound loud near at hand, and it is remarkable that it should be heard so far. Perhaps it is pitched on a favorable key.” In fact, a specialized esophagus allows the American Bittern to make that distinctive call.

It is believed that American Bitterns migrate individually or in small groups of two or three at night. They overwinter in southern coastal areas and Central America, returning to Indiana in the spring.

Sadly, the American Bittern is endangered in Indiana due to habitat loss. Studies have found that American Bitterns require at least 6 acres of wetlands in which to nest, but such wetlands are now difficult to find in Indiana. Indiana is fourth in the nation in percentage of wetlands lost: 87% since the 1780’s. The vast majority of the loss has been due to drainage for agriculture. Fortunately, there are programs in place to restore wetlands. For example, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the USDA (NRCS) have programs that will reimburse landowners up to 100% of the expenses incurred for the restoration of wetlands, and the Indiana Heritage Trust has acquired thousands of acres through the environmental license plate program. There are also conservation organizations like ACRES Land Trust that preserve important habitats. With such programs and organizations in place, the American Bittern may one day become more common in Indiana and be removed from our state’s “State Endangered” list.


Indiana Audubon Society Bird Gallery and Archive

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
Common Indiana Birds

50 Most Common Backyard Birds of Indiana

1.   Eastern Bluebird 
2.   Indigo Bunting
3.   Northern Cardinal 
4.   Carolina Chickadee
5.   Black-Capped Chickadee
6.   Brown-Headed Cowbird
7.   American Crow
8.   Mourning Dove
9.   House Finch
10. Purple Finch
11. Northern Flicker
12. American Goldfinch
13. Common Grackle
14. Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
15. Cooper’S Hawk
16. Sharp-Shinned Hawk
17. Blue Jay
18. Dark-Eyed Junco
19. Northern Mockingbird
20. Red-Breasted Nuthatch
21. White-Breasted Nuthatch
22. Baltimore Oriole
23. Barred Owl
24. Eastern Screech Owl
25. Great Horned Owl
26. Eastern Phoebe
27. American Robin
28. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
29. Pine Siskin
30. American Tree Sparrow
31. Chipping Sparrow
32. Fox Sparrow
33. House Sparrow
34. Song Sparrow
35. White-Crowned Sparrow
36. White-Throated Sparrow
37. Eupopean Starling
38. Brown Thrasher
39. Tufted Titmouse
40. Eastern Towhee
41. Cedar Waxwing
42. Downey Woodpecker
43. Hairy Woodpecker
44. Pileated Woodpecker
45. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
46. Red-Headed Woodpecker
47. Carolina Wren
48. House Wren
49. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
50. Summer Tanager