Archive for April, 2008

“Most relaxed get away”

Songbird Prairie Bed & Breakfast

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5 of 5 stars

Apr 23, 2008 New

We have been to the Songbird Prairie Bed & Breakfast twice now. My husband & I love the fact that we can check in, go out to dinner, & come back and just relax. The scenery is absolutely gorgeous. You can take a secluded walk or just sit in the dining area and have something to snack on and watch the birds flying around & other animals playing. The breakfast is unbelievable.
Barbara makes a 3 course breakfast for you & you have your own table to sit at, so you can have a peaceful breakfast with your spouse. This is wonderful for me & my husband, since this is the only time we actually can sit together and eat breakfast without interruptions. Barbara & Efrain make you feel so comfortable & welcome. I personally have been to 3 other Bed & Breakfast locations and never felt 100% relaxed and welcomed. This has definately become our personal romantic get a way. We were just there in April and are already planning our next get a way. I would strongly recommend this Bed & Breakfast:)

www.songbirdprairie.com  www.indianabedandbreakfast.org  Valparaiso, Indiana Bed and Breakfast located 50 minutes from the city of Chicago. 20 minutes from the Dunes National Lakeshore Come and leave your footprints in the sand.

This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Punky32’s Summary
Date of Stay: April, 2008
Member since: April 23, 2008
Northern Indiana Getaway
Southern Michigan Getaway
Chicago Weekend Getaway
Valparaiso, Indinan

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A familiar and fairly large (13  inches long) woodpecker , the northern flicker is a distinctively marked bird that unlike other woodpeckers is often seen foraging on the ground. The Eastern form of the flicker is known as the yellow-shafted flicker for it’s bright lemon-yellow underwing and tail color. The field marks are bright yellow wing flashes, white rump, spotted breast, and barred back. It is not easily confused with any other bird. In the east, both male and female have a red crescent on the back of of the head, but only the male shows a black “moustache” mark on the cheek. The flicker has several calls including a single note kleer, a short wickawicka series, and a monotonous wickwickwickwick song. It also communicates by drumming on the resonating surface of a tree, pole, or even metal downspouts and chimney flues. The flicker is widespread across Northern America. We see them all spring, summer and fall here at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast, Valparaiso, Indiana. They are found everywhere wooded habitats exist though open woods and woodland edges are preferred. Songbird Prairie is a certified wildlife habitat. Flickers migrate southward in winter. Flickers feed on the ground where they specialize in eating ants. A flicker pokes its long bill into an anthill and uses it’s lone, sticky tongue to extract the ants. They also eat other insects, as well as fruits and seeds. At bird feeders, they will eat suet, peanuts, fruits, and sunflower bits.

Excavating a new nest cavity almost every year, flickers perform a much needed service for may other hole nesting birds from chickadee to ducks that use old flicker nests. Both the male and female excavate the nest cavity in a dead tree or branch. The female lays between 5 and 10 eggs both share the 11 day incubation period. Young flickers leave the nest after about 25 days. Flickers use nest boxes with an interior floor of 7 x 7 inches, and interior height of 16-24 inches and a 2 1/2 inch entry hole. Because excavation is a vital part of courtship, boxes packed full of wood chips are more attractive. Competition for cavities from European starlings is fierce and may be causing a decline in flickers. Offering suet, corn or peanuts and nest boxes in your wooded backyard is one way to attract flickers. Equally important is the presence of ground dwelling insects (leave those non threatening anthills alone) and dead trees or dead branches. A large dead tree branch placed vertically in your yard may entice a flicker to stop.  As you walk the grounds of Songbird Prairie’s 6 acres, you will find may dead trees left to entice all species of woodpeckers.

Come to Northern Indiana to discover the Norther Flicker.



Northern Indiana Valparaiso, IN

Valparaiso B&B

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The lovely tree swallow is making a breeding range expansion. Once limited by the availably of the nesting cavities they require, tree swallows are benefiting greatly from artificial nest boxes erected to attract bluebirds. And that is certainly the case here at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast here in Northwest Indiana. Their twitters, sharp blue-and-white coloration, and trusting ways make tree swallows a welcome addition to our birdlife here on the Prairie. Long triangular wings, snow white underparts and glossy teal-blue upperparts make the tree swallow a beautiful signal of spring. Soaring kitelike, then rising with rapid flaps, they course and dive over meadows and ponds in search of flying insects. As I am mowing the lawn down in back 6 or more will dive and soar gulping down the bugs I stir up from the grass. Their jingling calls have been likened to the sound of someone shaking paper clips in a glass. Females are somewhat browner above and duller blue than males. Tree swallows prefer open fields, here at Songbird Prairie, preferably near water, for nesting, though they will inhabit upland sites. Marshes also provide the flying insects they require. The tree swallow’s breeding range extends across Canada and the Northern tier of the US. 80% of a tree swallow’s diet is insects; fruits make up the other portion, mainly bayberries that sustain them in adverse winter weather. During breeding season, insects are caught on the wing in spectacular zigzag flights and are stored in the throat to be fed to nestlings. A foundation of coarse grass, leaves and stems, is lined with large body feathers, usually white. Tree swallows are mad for feathers in nesting season and can often be induced to take soft white feathers from the hand. The female incubates four to seven eggs for an average of 14 days. Young leave the nest 15-25 days later, flying strongly. Second broods are rare. Before the advent of artificial nest boxes, tree swallows were limited to old woodpecker holes- a hotly contested resource. A nest box with a 1 9/16-inch hole, mounted on a predator-proof pole in an open meadow near water, is the best bet for attracting tree swallows. Look for tree swallows hawking insects over ponds, lakes, and rivers during summer months here at Songbird Prairie, in Northwest Indiana.

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The eastern meadowlark’s sweet whistled song says, spring of THE year. The meadowlark is a familiar bird of rural farm fields, meadows and grasslands, all of which we have here in Valparaiso, Indiana here at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast. The meadowlark is known by their distinctive field mark; a bright yellow breast with a “V” of black. Meadowlarks will sing from the ground and in flight, but they often use an elevated perch such as a fencepost, tree or power line. In flight, the meadowlark looks chunky and shows white outer tail feathers. A series of shallow, stuttering wing beats followed by a short glide (sometimes accompanied by a song or chatter) is the typical flight pattern. Eastern meadowlarks prefer grassy meadows, prairies and pastures with good grass cover. They can be found along golf courses in hayfields and in the grassy margins of airports. As their names suggest, the Eastern meadowlark is primarily an Eastern bird  but can  sometimes be found west of the Mississippi. The meadowlark is a ground feeder that searches vegetation in spring and summer for insects, such as caterpillars, crickets, grasshoppers, and grubs. In winter the diet shifts to seeds, grains, and some fruits.  In winter both eastern and western form large single-species flocks, with dozens of birds foraging together in the same field. Meadowlarks nest on the ground in thick grass, the nest is well concealed in a depression on the ground and is woven out of dried grasses. Two to six eggs are laid and incubated for about 14 days. Youngsters fledge about 10 days later. Both parents feed the young. For nesting, meadowlarks seem to prefer grasslands that are cut only once every three to five years. Even so, many meadowlark nests are lost to agricultrual activity, and pesticides.

To find a meadowlark you must locate a suitable habitat, which usually means locating a rural spot with hayfields and pastures. During spring and summer, meadowlarks sing throughout the day, but do so most activly early in the morning. Listen for the slurring whistled song and the sputtering blackbird-like calls. The handsome lemon-yellow-and black breast should catch your eye. Come to plan an adventure to spot these handsome birds here at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast.

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Northern Indiana Getaway

Today the colorful Baltimore oriole made his majestic appearance. Like may other long-distance migrants, the oriole leads three flamboyant lives. One in the backyard, park and forest in North America. One sipping nectar eating fruits, and insects in the tropics. And the other wandering as it transitions in between. Named for the colonial family that settled in Maryland and the family crest of which sported the bird’s striking orange and black colors the Baltimore oriole is one of the only two widespread eastern orioles.

 At rest and in flight the male oriole is a fireball of citrus orange blazed with black. The bird’s head, back and much of it’s wings and tail are black. In flight, a bright orange shoulder and white wing bars flash, as do it’s orange tail corners. The female oriole is also colorful, lacking the entirely black head of the male but having vibrant orange-yellow underparts. The Baltimore oriole’s unusually rich song and two-note whistle revealed his presence this morning here at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast. The orioles breed in open parklike woodlands and the forest edge. This bird favors tall, mature deciduous trees, often in very open widely scattered stands. During warm months here at songbird Prairie B&B orioles feed on a wide variety of insects, including caterpillars, at times tearing open tent caterpillar nests. Fruits are also eaten including some cultivated varieties, and nectar, which they extract from flowers with their bristly tongues. A female oriole constructs a pendulous nest, sometimes with the help of her mate. Woven plant fibers, string, and other materials, the nest hangs near the end of a large branch usually between 20 and 30 feet off the ground. Within the enclosed nest, the female lays four or five bluish or grayish eggs, which are marked with brown and black. She incubates the eggs about two weeks, then both parents, feed the nestlings, which leave the nest about two weeks after hatching. Come to Songbird Prairie to see these magnificent creatures! www.songbirdprairie.com Northwest Indiana Valparaiso B&B

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Today we received our two nominations for “Hotel of the Year” and “Putting Porter County on the Map” We are so excited to attend the banquet along with our worthy opponents.

Today the rose breasted Grosbeaks returned to the feeders. With it’s triangular scarlet breast patch, black back and white underparts the male rose-breasted grosbeak is a North American beauty. This gorgeous songbird remains plentiful in a variety of habitats. Songbird Prairie is a certified wildlife habitat. The male’s robinlike song is punctuated by a chip. I think it sounds like a robin with a cold. I think they are so striking in flight., the male flashes rose-red under his wings with a wide, rectangular white wing patch. Just gorgeous. the female has a dramatically different appearance. She resembles a large finch. streaked below and has a broad white line both above her eye and below her dark ear patch. In fall, immature males look similar by have an orangey wash across the underparts. The grosbeak prefers to nest in open woodlands or at a forest edge. They vacation over the winter in the tropics. What a long flight! It has a versatile, heavy bill, and feeds  both on vegetable and animal matter. During fall migration, it mostly east berries and seeds. including sunflower seeds. That is why they stay at the feeders for several minutes. Insect prey in summer, may include beetles, bees, ants, bugs, and caterpillars. The female grosbeak builds her nest in a tree or tall shrub usually between 5 and 20 feet above the ground..Assisted a bit by the male, she works twigs, weeds, and leaves into the loosely woven open cup nest then usually lays four eggs. Both parents incubate for about two weeks, then feed the nestlings, which leave the nest between 9 and 12 days. Why they are so plentiful her at Songbird Prairie, their diet consists of elderberry,juneberry,raspberry,blackberry,and mulberry, all of which we have here. They are a beautiful sight. You may view them while you are enjoying your breakfast here at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast, here in Northwest Indiana.

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