Posts Tagged ‘Featured in Midwest Living’

How would you like to see a fireball of citrus orange and black, the Baltimore oriole next to the breathtaking tropical blue of the male Indigo Bunting? Look no further, come to northwest Indiana to Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast and as you enjoy your three course hot breakfast, you will see the colorful birds serenade and entertain you.

Appearing all black against the light, the male indigo bunting properly lit is an unforgettable sight. A persistent late-season singer, he sings a jingly song comprised of paired notes that are often described as: Fire! Fire! Where! Where! Here! Here! Put it out! Put it out! Much of what we know about celestial navigation in songbirds derives from work with captive buntings at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, but you don’t have travel far from downtown Chicago to see the Indigo. Just 45 minutes southeast to the country of Valparaiso, IN home of Valparaiso University.

The male indigo bunting is so breathtaking with its tropical blue and silvery bill. The females and immatures are a warm cocoa brown overall. This bunting has a habit of twitching its tail to the side, and its spit note is characteristic. Males change their blue feathers for brown in autumn, which makes for some interestingly mottled specimens. They molt again on the wintering grounds in Central and northern South America and return in spring, blue once more. This species is common on roadsides and disturbed areas there “trashy” vegetation flourishes. Power lines cuts, old fields, landfills, railroads, and hedgerows ring with the songs of indigo buntings, especially as summer reaches its fullest. That is where you will find them right here at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast.

The indigo bunting takes insects when they are available, especially to feed its nestlings. Weed seeds are its mainstay, and thistle from the feeders, supplemented by berries and small fruits. It forages on or near the ground, as well as in low shrubs and trees. Watch for them in autumn, bending grass stems and flickering their tails side to side as they forage in weedy patches here at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast. Indigo buntings have a rather loose definition of monogamy, with extra pair copulations being frequent. Males visit females in neighboring territories, and females visit males. Males vary in their tendency to feed young. Some are attentive parents where as other leave most of the chick rearing to their mates. The nest is bulky but compact, cup-shaped and constructed of bark strips, grasses and weed stems and skeletonized leaves, all bound with spider webs. It’s often low in blackberry, sumac or other brushy vegetation. These birds nest quite late in the season, reflecting their dependence on late maturing weed seeds. Three to four eggs are incubated by the female for about 12 days, and the young leave the nest 8-14 days later. Early in the spring you may see them feasting on dandelion seeds. Later, black oil sunflower seeds and millet mixed prove attractive. They love coneflower, Mexican hat, cosmos, coreopsis and especially foxtail grasses. Come and enjoy the beauty of the indigo bunting here at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast.



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Autumn on the Lake Michigan shoreline known worldwide – trees glow in a blaze of crimson, orange, yellows and gold, while the sound of crunching leaves breaks the silence of the fall woodlands. There are few places in Indiana that match the autumn splendor that is the Dunes. Of course, no visit to the park is complete without a trip to the Nature Center to take in one of many diverse, educational, and fun interpretive programs. Plan a visit to enjoy the fall weather and join us for any of the great programs being offered this month!

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

  • Join us for a special, evening candlelight stroll through the woods at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2. Meet at the campground gate to start your exploration of the amazing stories that the twilight holds.
  • The Northwest Indiana Storytelling Festival is taking place Saturday, Oct. 9. Special storytelling sessions will take place throughout the day at the Nature Center. Saturday night, enjoy some apple cider and ghost stories at the Wilson Shelter. Check the October Interpretive Schedule for specific times. Join us!
  • The Dunes Saw-whet Owl banding station opens mid-October. Throughout the month, folks can get a glimpse of this rare, tiny, and secretive owl as it migrates through the dunes. There are two designated night programs for the public on Oct. 23 and Oct. 30. For information on informal banding nights, which occur throughout the month, call the Nature Center at (219) 926-1390. These nights are weather dependant. 
  • “Howl”oween returns to haunt the dune woodlands on Oct. 30. Enjoy trick or treating, campsite decorating, and special spooky themed programs all weekend. Be sure to sign up for one of our spooky night hikes, it’s sure to be a frightening good time!

Want to stay frequently 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 Indiana Dunes visitors, take part in discussions, or just share your Indiana Dunes experiences. Visit
http://www.facebook.com/INDUNES to become a fan.

You can also keep up to date on our owl banding on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/indianadunessp

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

The Indiana Dunes State Park Interpretive Services

Contact the Interpretive Service of Indiana Dunes State Park at (219) 926-1390 or dunesnc@dnr.IN.gov.

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We welcome you to our Inn

Songbird Prairie is featured in Midwest Living in the section “Out and About Chicago”. The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is just an hour from the Loop; And so is Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast! We are a federal style home with five Luxurious Suites. Each room has a warming fireplace for winter enjoyment and double sized whirlpools to ease the cares of everyday life. We are tucked in the woods just 6 miles from downtown Valpo and a short drive from the sandy beaches of the Dunes National Lakeshore, great birding and easy bike trails. (Prairie Duneland Trail)


Five show homes from Chicago’s 1933-34 World’s Fair arrived in Beverly Shores 75 years ago on a Lake Michigan Barge. They are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They are in various stages of restoration and will be open for Century of Progress tours October 22-24. tickets for the October 22 preview tour and reception are $75 remaining dates tickets for tours are only $15 (574-232-4534 indianalandmarks.org) Make your reservations for your stay now at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast $169-$249 www.songbirdprairie.com 877.766.4273 219.759.4274

Robin Suite
Where Luxury and Nature converse

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