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Archive for July, 2010

Dog Day Greetings from the Dunes!

Awaken your spirits and fill your lungs with fresh air in the Dunes this month. Enjoy everything from misty morning walks through the back dunes of Trail 2, to picnics on one of over 500 picnic tables in the park, to magnificent evening sunsets over Lake Michigan. Of course, no visit to the park is complete without a trip to the park Nature Center to take in one of many diverse, educational, and fun interpretive programs. Take a beach break this month and join us for any of the great programs being offered.

Here’s a quick glimpse at some of the fun and educational programs coming up this month:

  • On Saturday, August 7, join Park Naturalist Jenna for “Campfire Stories on the Beach!”  Meet at the main beach, by the pavilion, for an evening of storytelling. Bring a chair or blanket to sit on.  In case of inclement weather, we’ll be at the Campground Shelter.
  • The 4th Annual Perseid Stargaze is approaching fast. Come Saturday, August 14 to the Tremont Shelter Picnic Area (parking at Duneside Shelter) to watch the annual meteor shower. Special constellation talks and sky storytelling will also take place. Activities begin at 8:30 p.m.
  • Join us Wednesday, August 20 at 7:30 p.m. for “Who Pooped in the Park!”  Meet at the Campground Shelter for 45-minutes of fun as we explore the facts on feces and the data on dung. Test your scat knowledge for prizes!
  • Meet at the Nature Center at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 4, for “Beautiful Blowout” a 1-hour moderate hike to see one of the most beautiful sunsets in the Midwest from atop Beach House Blowout.  We’ll also be exploring the twilight time for our nocturnal animals on the walk back.

Want to stay even more updated on park happenings, park news, and more?  Become a fan of the Indiana Dunes State Park Facebook page. Check out photos and videos from other Dunes visitors, take part in discussions, or just let others know about the dunes. Visit Facebook.com/indunes to join more than 7,100 current fans.  

The complete August Interpretive Schedule can be found at http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/files/sp-Dunes_August.pdf.

Stay at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast while you are in the dunes area 877.766.4273

$169-$249 Whirlpools in every room 3 course plated breakfast
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Nicknamed “wild canary”, the American Goldfinch is a prized visitor at Songbird Prairie. This little finch is welcome and common at our feeders, where it eats primarily sunflower and nyjer.   At Songbird Prairie, they also cover the salvia along our walkway to the Inn.  They love to drink and bathe in our shallow birdbaths and are attracted to the watercourse that runs through this Indiana Dunes Bed & Breakfast’s woodlands.  The American Goldfinch is a frequent visitor to our feeders and you would be assured to spot these vibrant yellow birds and hear their twittering call on your visit! 

Diet: 
In nature, the goldfinch feeds primarily during the day on seeds of grasses and trees. They may occasionally feed on insects and berries. They frequently visit backyard feeders – particularly those filled with thistle seed.

Size and Color: 
A small bird, the American Goldfinch is generally between 4″-5″. The male is a vibrant yellow in the summer and an olive color during the winter months. The female is a dull yellow-brown shade which brightens only slightly during the summer. The brightly colored plumage of the male is to impress the female during the breeding season and attract a mate.

Song: 
A long, twittering “per-chic-o-ree” or “po-ta-to chip.” The American Goldfinch is known for singing in flight, which adds to their cheerful, “wave-like” flight pattern.

Behavior:
These are active and acrobatic little finches that cling to weeds and seed socks, and sometimes mill about in large numbers at feeders or on the ground beneath them. Goldfinches fly with a bouncy, undulating pattern and often call in flight, drawing attention to themselves.

Habitat: 
The goldfinch’s main natural habitats are weedy fields and floodplains, where plants such as thistles and asters are common. They’re also found in cultivated areas, roadsides, orchards, and backyards. American Goldfinches can be found at feeders any time of year, but most abundantly during winter

Backyard Tips: 
To encourage goldfinches into your yard, plant native thistles and other composite plants, as well as native milkweed. Almost any kind of bird feeder may attract American Goldfinches, including hopper, platform, and hanging feeders, and these birds don’t mind feeders that sway in the wind. You’ll also find American Goldfinches are happy to feed on the ground below feeders, eating spilled seeds.

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