The entire Gibson property consists of about 6,000 acres of reservoir, ponds, and wetlands. Gibson Lake itself is a 3,000-acre cooling reservoir with a surrounding levee and a 2-mile-long breakwater down the center. Because the warm water discharge keeps the lake from freezing in the winter, it often accumulates thousands of ducks and geese when the local lakes freeze. Winter also brings eagles to Gibson Lake! A typical day's drive around the levee produces at least two Bald Eagles.
There are retaining ponds on the west and northeast sides of the lake, as well natural ponds and wetlands along the east, southeast, south, and southwest sides of the lake on the county roads. The Gibson Lake Wildlife Habitat Area (DeLorme p. 54 G6) is located on the Gibson property on the north side of the lake. This 160-acre area of natural wetlands is open to the public and accessible via two trails that course through woodlands and grassy areas on their way to the wetlands. In drought years the various ponds and wetlands around the property become resting areas for shorebirds that seek out mudflats during the fall flight.
The Gibson and Cane Ridge properties contain one of only two known nesting areas for Least Terns in Indiana. Because these birds are endangered in the state and need protection, all visitors should be careful not to disturb them. There are certain areas of the property that are off limits to EVERYONE during the breeding season, so visitors should refrain from attempting to gain access into the restricted areas set aside for their nesting.
Although not on Cinergy property itself, the adjacent property to the west along the Wabash River can be an excellent riparian birding area in the spring and fall. This narrow stretch of woods runs along a county road that varies from asphalt to dirt, with the dirt portion being prone to flooding when heavy spring rains occur. Immediately to the south of Lake Gibson is the Cane Ridge unit of the Patoka River Nationa Wildlife Refuge. This area is being developed for nesting Least Terns but also for ducks and shorebirds. East of Cane Ridge is property that is state owned and also being developed. Presently that area is closed to the public.
Typical Time to Bird Site: 1-2 Hours, but if you are with someone who has access to the central breakwater and some other areas you may spend 5 or more hours birding the Lake Gibson and Cane Ridge sites.