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You may find it helpful to print a regional tally sheet so you have a list of birds you’re likely to see in your area in February.

Get your check list at this link

http://gbbc.birdsource.org/gbbcApps/checklist

COUNT THE BIRDS:

  • · Count birds at any location for at LEAST 15 minutes—or more if you wish. Later you’ll be asked to record the amount of time you spent watching.
  • · Write down only the

highest number of each species you see together at any one time to avoid counting the same birds more than once. For example, if you see 8 cardinals as you start your count period, then later you see 12, and later still you see 3, you’ll only report 12–the highest number you saw together at once. Please do not add the numbers together.

  • · You’ll submit your data on a new checklist for each day you participate in the count. It’s OK if you count at the same location each day—submit a new list for each day.
  • · You’ll submit a new checklist for each

new location.

You can submit more than one checklist on a given day if you count at more than one site.

ENTER YOUR CHECKLIST(S):

When you’re ready to enter your checklist(s), go to the GBBC website at http://www.BirdCount.org and click on the big “Submit your checklists” button at the top. You won’t see this button until 7:00 AM the Friday the GBBC begins. Everything you need to know will be clear on the web page as you enter your information. If you’d like a preview of what you’ll see, keep reading.

http://www.qwiki.com/q/#!/Eastern_Bluebird

Happy Birding!

Songbird Prairie 877-766-4273 find us on facebook and twitter

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Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast We are in awe! We received a call today that we will be in an upcoming issue of Midwest Living! It looks like they are selecting B&BS around the Midwest. In 2008/2009 Songbird Prairie was given Best in the Midwest award from BedAndBreakfast.com. We have been in business for 10 years. We have dedicated ourselves to the best experience we can provide for our guests comfort and relaxation. We offer whirlpools in all of our guestrooms along with warming fireplaces. Our plated three course breakfast has become almost famous. It is presented to you in our sunroom where we provide restaurant style seating. We have 3 microphones piped to the outside where you may hear sweet sounds of goldfinch or the tapping of a red-bellied woodpecker while you enjoy being served. During the winter months, you may hear the hoot of an owl in the evening while sipping on some tea or hot chocolate in front of the fireplace in the common room. The property has great horned,screech and barred owls. We have decked the halls for our guests this christmas. We will be hosting a wedding here this weekend and the snow provides a beautiful backdrop. Here in Northwest Indiana most of our Christmas’ are white; making spirits bright! Maybe we will see a few deer dashing through the snow. Well, we don’t have to dream we have our white
Christmas. Make your reservation today. 877-766-4273 877-SON-GBRD

 
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. Named one of the best romantic inns in the Midwest.

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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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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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Here is what guests had to say…

“Peaceful Escape” 6/2/2008
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Stayed On: 5/2008

My husband and I spent our first night as husband and wife in the bluebird suite. We had such a wonderful relaxing time that we were not even that excited anymore to leave the next day on our honeymoon. The grounds are exceptional, the rooms so romantic and could not be cleanier. The breakfast was divine and the birdwatching so peaceful. Barbara and Efrain were so sweet and friendly we can not wait to go back.

View Reviewer Info

All reviews are the personal opinions of BedandBreakfast.com site users and do not reflect the views of BedandBreakfast.com.


“Very Romantic!!!!” 5/27/2008
Overall
Rooms
Service
Value
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Stayed On: 5/2008

My husband and I spent two nights in the Bluebird Suite. Our room was so romantic. Barbara and Efrain have done a wonderful job of creating the perfect romantic getaway. Their property along with our room was simply magnificant. The breakfasts were delicious. It was so wonderful being able to enjoy all of the birds and wildlife while we stayed at this enchanting place. Thanks so much for creating such a magical place for others to stay. We hope to return again in the future.

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High in the treetops a medium-sized black and white bird flutters out to catch flying insects and aggressively attack other birds in flight, all the while emitting a sputtery series of sharp notes that sound like the zapping of an electric current. No need to look high in the tree tops here in Northwest Indiana at Songbird Prairie B&B. The Kingbird sits on the fence in front for his breakfast. They are excellent fliers, able to catch flying insects and aggressively defend it’s breeding territory with its aerial mastery. Both male and female are black above and white below. The female’s chest is grayish. Male kingbirds have a small, red-orange patch of feathers on the crown, though this is rarely seen. A thin, white band on the tail margin clinches the identification. Spending the breeding season in open areas with scattered trees, eastern kingbirds prefer locations near water, probably for the bounty of insects. Fairly common in agricultural areas, pastures, city parks, and suburban neighborhoods with large trees and open understory during summer, most eastern kingbirds migrate to central and south America in winter. In migration, the kingbird travels in loose flocks, and it is not uncommon to see a dozen or more birds in one tree in spring or fall. The eastern kingbird or bee bird, is an insect eater, specializing in bees, wasps, moths, butterflies, on other large flying insects. That’s why they are here at Songbird Prairie we have a virtual buffet of them all! Sit and watch hunters, kingbirds find an exposed perch and wait for something edible to fly past. They then sally forth and grab the prey in their bill, returning to the perch to stun and eat the insect. Kingbirds also eat fruits at all seasons, including mulberries, cherries, and elderberries. These are most abundant here at Songbird Prairie B&B. Fruits make up the bulk of their winter diet in the tropics. The kingbirds’s nest is place high in a tree and is a large, loosely woven cup of bark, twigs, and weedstems. Females do all of the nest building in incubation. A typical clutch is two to five eggs with a 15 day incubation period. Hatchlings spend about 16 days in the nest before fledging ,after which they are attended to by both parents for several more weeks. They are very active in their territories in summer,  especially here at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast so if you want to watch for their fluttery fly catching flights and listen for their loud zapping calls, give us a call come for the weekend, come for the night, or come just for breakfast. The old myth that eastern kingbirds prey primarily on honeybees resulted in many of these birds being shot. Studies have now shown that the kingbirds eat relatively few honeybees, mostly drones.

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Mowing the lawn here at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast can sometimes cause me alarm. As I stir up the bugs hiding out in the tall grass, the barn swallows descend with grace, darting after insects and chattering incessantly. One early naturalist estimated that a barn swallow that lived 10 years would fly more than two million miles, enough to travel 87 times around the earth. This species seems to define what it means to be at home in the air, and it has been compared to an albatross in its ability to stay effortlessly aloft. One of the most familiar and beloved birds in rural America, the barn swallow is welcomed everywhere as a sign of spring. Here at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast, you won’t miss them in constant flight as you approach the meadow. Glossy blue-black above and orange below, the barn swallow is the only American swallow that has a true “swallow trail”, with an elongated outer pair of tail feathers. Males and females are similar, but females are not quite as glossy or highly colored, and the fork in their tails is not quite as pronounced. Like all swallows, they have short legs and rather weak feet used for perching, and not walking. A bird of rural areas and farmlands, Like the terrain at Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast here in Northwest Indiana, the barn swallow may be found over any open area, such as pastured, fields, and golf courses as well as lakes, ponds, and rivers. Basically anywhere they can fly unencumbered and where there is abundant insects. It has adapted well to humans and is not shy of people, nesting close to settled areas as long as it has open space for feeding. Barn swallows travel in great flocks during migrations, often in company with other swallow species. They arrive in most of their U.S. range in April and leave in early to midfall. Foraging almost entirely on the wing the barn swallow takes a variety of insect prey, from flies and locusts to moths, grasshoppers, bees, and wasps. YES! So they won’t sting me. Nothing says “country” more than a pair of barn swallows zipping in and out of the open doors of a working barn. Sometimes two or three pairs will share a favored site. The nest itself is a cup of mud and grass, lined with feathers and placed on a rafter or glued under an eave. Besides barns, barn swallows may use other open buildings, covered porches, or the undersides of bridges or docks. During second nestings, immatures from the first brood help feed and care for their younger siblings. During breeding season, you may bring barn swallows into close range by throwing feathers into the air near a flock of soaring birds; the graceful fliers will swoop in to snatch them up for nest linings. Barn swallows also enjoy eating bits of baked eggshells (crumble them first) during breeding season.

www.songbirdprairie.com www.indianabedandbreakfast.org

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