Archive for April, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

( Photo: This Great-horned Owlet was on the ground at a local cemetery and caused some concern among folks that came upon it. Photo by Steve and Evie Fisher)

There is nothing cuter than a baby owl. No matter what the species, they are fluffy and almost round in appearance. They look a lot like a stuffed toy rather than the wild, well-armed future predator they are.

We have received several calls this past week from people who happen upon these adorable little balls of fluff. This is the time of the year when Great-horned Owls fledge, or leave their nest and become mobile.

( Photo: A young Great-horned Owl has the distinctive yellow eyes of its parents, which identify the owl species before the chick has feathers.)

Great-horned Owls are our earliest nesting birds in WI. It seems a contradiction; however, the adult owls are often on nests by late January when the winds are howling and snow covers our northern landscape. Great-horned Owls do not build their own nest. Instead, they choose an old nest of a crow, hawk, or even a squirrel to call their own.

When the young owls are 6-8 weeks old, they begin to venture from their nest. This is before they can actually fly. Nature’s method provides owlets opportunities to develop their leg muscles that will very soon be catching their own prey. In a natural setting owlets that appear to have fallen from their nest actually have fledged. In a natural wooded area, bushes and smaller trees provide a ladder of sorts and allow the chicks to climb to a higher perch until they can fly. When owls nest in a city with concrete below them rather than a soft forest floor, problems arise. That is also the case with a well-manicured park or lawn setting that has nothing that can function as a ladder for the tykes.

Our job at REGI is to resolve which owlets are actually in trouble and need to come into captive care and which are doing as nature intended. This year we have had several calls with young owls on the ground. All have thus far ended up being normal owlets with parents at the location. They just need to be left alone so the adult can tend to them.
No matter how good the wildilfe center is, the owlets’ natural parents are always the best choice to raise them.

( Photo: Adult Great-horned Owl guarding her chick. (Photo by Steve and Evie Fisher.)

When owlets come into captivity at REGI, they are raised here by a foster parent. The foster is a non-releasable adult of their own species. That allows the little ones to grow up to be owls and not imprinted to humans. While the little ones are adorable, they quickly grow up into real honest-to-goodness owls. If they are hand fed or associate food with people during their nestling period, the young owls become human imprints. They identify with people and not owls. It is a condition that is not reversible. Imprinted birds are very aggressive once they reach maturity. Some of the most dangerous birds we have are imprints. Because of the extreme aggression, they are never able to be released to the wild.

Owlets can eat between 13-17 mice per night when they are about 3-4 weeks old. They are little mouse-eating machines until their growth levels out. An adult owl eats about 4 mice per day.

( Photo: Great-horned Owl foster parents raising a wild youngster last spring. They are protective and great parents even to babies not their own.)

If you find a young owl, leave it where it is, unless it is in imminent danger. Give us a call and let us help you decide if the adults are in attendance and the chick is just fledging naturally or if there is something wrong with the little one. Remember, owls are nocturnal for the most part and are not easy to see during daylight hours. Mom and dad could be very close and yet be so well camouflaged they are hard to see.

If a nest tree has been cut or blown down, artificial nests can be used so the owl parents can continue to care for their young.

Have a great day everyone.

Marge Gibson © 2010

Posted by Marge Gibson

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Moms are special at Songbird Prairie

Mother/daughter special 

Moms are special
Whether she’s a “Red Hatter” or a “Tool Belt Diva”, Plan a night reminiscing with Mom at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast. Remember those breakfasts in bed where you served her burnt toast and cold tea? Let us serve you both our Three Course Hot Breakfast in our sunroom where songbirds serenade and entertain.

Stay at Songbird Prairie with your mom during the month of May and make her a bracelet of hand-blown glass beads and silver-plated metal beads which are topped off with a touch of rhinestone bling. Bracelet is included($17.50 value) in package with beads of your choice up to $70.00 retail value

Starts @ $229.00. Children 12 and over welcome. Can’t make an overnight? Come just for Breakfast or Afternoon tea (4 person minimum)

Call for reservations. Special for the Month of May. www.songbirdprairie.com 877/766/4273 219/759/4274

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Indianapolis Getaway, Metro Indy Girls, Mother Daughter Special, Mother’ Day Special, Northern Illinois Getaway, Pandora Beads, Southern Michigan Getaway, The Good Bead, Troll Beads | Leave a Comment »

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Songbird Prairie is part of the Art and Earth Trail. This Trail will promote the many unique artisan and ag-tourism experiences throughout the region.  The Trail will be a significant economic development initiative that will increase visitation and visitor spending in Northern Indiana. There are over 150 artists, agriculturalists, quaint lodging and specialty shops (that’s us!) to the 2010 Art and Earth Trail. The trail will map the trail across Northern Indiana and promote it throughout the Midwest!

 www.songbirdprairie.com 877/766/4273  877/song/brd 219-759-4274

A map/online guidebook that describes a drivable tour of artistic and agricultural venues where guests can experience the art, culture and food of the region in its native environment. Some of these tour stops may include a potter’s studio where guests can watch/interact with the potter at work, or a dairy farm where guests can experience not only the cows in the field but the end food products as well. Each of these stops is connected with driving directions and auxiliary stops that help guests understand and experience the Northern Indiana regional culture. Some of these additional stops might include an historic inn, a restaurant featuring locally grown products or a museum of local history. The trail is meant to be experienced one family at a time or a few visitors traveling via their own personal vehicle to ‘off-the-beaten-path’ places such as studios, galleries, in-home studios, farms, inns, etc. Here at Songbird Prairie, we serve fruit and produce gathered from our own property and vegetable/herb gardens. Which are artfully presented during our 3 course hot breakfast, which overlooks the gardens and woods. Hear the operas of songbirds through our microphones!








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Spring Fling at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast
Book a two night stay and receive a certificate for a complimentary night  for a future visit when you buy the first night at regular rate. 877/766/4273 http://www.songbirdprairie.com
or use your savings to book a massage or rose petals scattered around your whirlpool sparking beverage and chocolate covered strawberries!


Experience Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast in Valparaiso, Indiana. We are an award-winning romantic bed and breakfast in Northwest Indiana offering romantic weekends away and romantic getaways, as well as a girlfriends’ getaway at a luxury bed and breakfast. …

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Spring hummingbird happenings

By Marcia Davis
Sunday, March 29, 2009

If you’re an April fool for hummingbirds, it’s easy to remember April 1 as a humdinger of a day – the day to hang the hummingbird feeders every year.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds keep to their schedules. Spring’s first migrant hummers usually arrive in East Tennessee in early April. Be ready.

The same individual hummers that visited your yard last year may come back this year. They’ll be looking for the feeder in the same place where it hung last year. Don’t let them find an empty space.

Nectar-bearing flowers can be in short supply this early in spring.

Hummers need high-energy sugar-rich fuel for migration.

The formula for homemade nectar is 1 cup white cane sugar dissolved in 4 cups of water. Boil gently two or three minutes to retard spoilage and to fully dissolve sugar. Store in refrigerator up to a week. Don’t use honey or artificial sweeteners. It is not necessary to use red food coloring.

After the feeders are up a few days, most of you will probably start wondering why you haven’t seen any hummingbirds yet. Check the hummingbird migration map at www.hummingbirds.net to see just how far along the ruby-throats are on their journey to nesting sites as far north as Canada.

Ruby-throat enthusiasts across eastern North America report their earliest hummer sightings. Different-colored dots on this year’s 2010 migration map show early arrival dates so far. Look at prior years’ maps for the complete picture. Over 5,000 people reported their first hummer sightings in 2009. Report yours in 2010. This year ruby-throats were sighted in Middle and West Tennessee by March 20. They usually arrive later in East Tennessee.

Between now and late April – when courtship and nesting activities begin – plant some flowering perennial hummingbird plants. Select some plants that bloom in April, when large numbers of hummers pass through on migration every year. Next April your yard will be even more attractive to migrating hummers.

April-blooming, nectar-rich hummer plants include wildflowers like wild columbine (with drooping pendants of orange-red and yellow tubular flowers) and blue woodland phlox. Dwarf red buckeye is a small native tree with red tubular flowers. Early-blooming crossvines, coral honeysuckle and yellow Carolina jessamine are April-blooming vines.

Flowering quince shrubs with red flowers start blooming in late March.

Piedmont and flame azaleas are native shrubs that attract hummers.

Offer water in a way that helps migrating hummers take a bath. Hummers wet and preen their feathers to keep them in top shape for flying. They don’t bathe by splashing around in bird baths. They shower.

Hummingbirds prefer to hover as they shower in a fine mist. Special leaf-misters for hummingbirds and other small birds connect to outdoor faucets. About 50 feet of small plastic tubing connects to a low-flow nozzle that creates a mist. Attach the nozzle to a tree branch to provide mist for hummers and to wet leaves for small birds that bathe in water held on leaves. Hummers will fly through the mist. You can also use a garden hose with the nozzle set to make a fine mist. Attach the nozzle to a tree limb or a stake in the ground.

Many people position a mister or garden hose nozzle to wet foliage above a ground-level bird bath. The sound of water dripping into the bird bath attracts more birds. 

We will be putting up the feeders early to see if we have some scouts! 

See the arrival at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast in Northwest Indiana  Make your reservation today 877-766-4273 877SONG-BRD

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