The Hammond Lakefront Park & Bird Sanctuary, a 600-meter wooded strip of lakefront fill, lies within a kilometer of the Illinois line on Lake Michigan. A virtual oasis of vegetation within a vast urban sprawl, this site, once well-known simply as "The Migrant Trap", is flanked to the west by the Commonwealth Edison power plant and to the east by Hammond Marina. True to its name, the Bird Sanctuary produces great concentrations of migrant passerines in spring and fall as they search for cover en route across northwest Indiana. The city of Hammond has acknowledged the importance of the Lakefront Park & Bird Sanctuary to avian migration through the Calumet Region and has set aside much of the land as a permanent migratory bird sanctuary.
On one hand, describing the habitat afforded by the Bird Sanctuary isn't a crucial issue, since its isolation in this industrial region indiscriminately attracts migrants of widely varying habitat specificities. However the Trap does in fact contain several types of habitat, namely the tall grass and weeds of the southern boundary (along the parking lot), the wooded interior, and the sandy beach of the northern boundary. Although the rough footpath that longitudinally crisscrosses the site leaves many good areas unreachable, concrete boulders and construction fill make birding off the path quite treacherous and caution should be taken when combing these sections. The most productive birding route through the site seems to entail entering from the eastern edge, birding the interior trail in a westward direction, and returning eastward along the tracks at the southern grassy edge where sparrows are often abundant. Spreading the birding party out to comb the vegetation works best to thoroughly check the Trap, and scanning the lakefront at least once is also recommended.
The site is accessible to the walking disabled, provided they stay on the established trails and exercise caution. Note that the trails are not currently maintained and do not have a consistent covering.
Typical Time to Bird Site: 45-90 Minutes