Dana Gehlhausen is an Interpretive Naturalist at Patoka Lake for Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs. Dana studied Wildlife Biology at Ball State University and has worked at Patoka Lake since 2006, where she started as an intern. She always enjoys time spent outdoors, and a few of her favorite activities include archery, hiking and kayaking.
The fall season is full of color changes, including that of our migratory birds. Birds from the upper regions of North America are starting their yearly flight to warmer destinations. During this time of year, bird watchers, wildlife enthusiasts, and hunters alike make their way to Patoka Lake to enjoy the migration of many avian species. Photographers with large telescopic lenses come out to capture these graceful beauties of the sky, as they travel over the lake and land.
One species that is noticeably more populated around the area right now is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. At the Patoka Lake Visitor Center, we have two feeders to attract these fast fliers and allow guests to capture a close up glimpse. Getting a picture of these frenzied flyers is almost impossible as they zip- and- zag to fight one another off of the feeders. Just today, I counted 8 in the backyard and four in the front. Help them along their migration route by leaving your feeders out for at least two weeks after you last saw them. At this time of year they need to store up fat for their flight to South America. Just mix up one part sugar to two parts water for their super energized drinking needs.
One of my favorite summer birds, the Indigo Bunting, looks to have already left for warmer climates. Fewer Eastern Bluebirds are being seen around the 75 nesting boxes located on the property. Yet another group, the Osprey, which will soon be on its way out, is still being spotted. Just last weekend on a kayak tour, we had a couple Ospreys flying over and looking for a morning meal. Don’t let that fool you however, because the Ospreys will depart from Patoka this the 3rd week of September up until the first week of October.
This Saturday, September 17th, we are holding our 10th Annual Wheelin’ in the Fish event from 10 am to 2 pm at Osborn Boat Ramp. This event is for people with special needs and their families to enjoy a day of fishing and pontoon boat rides on the lake. Bring someone you know for a day of outdoor enjoyment and a chance to see an Osprey fishing too! For more information about this program or other activities going on at Patoka Lake visit our website.
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