Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Oprah Winfrey opening Bed & Breakfast in Hawaii

Imagine waking up to Oprah serving you breakfast in Hawaii when she retires! The TV talk show host — whose The Oprah Winfrey Show is in its last season — is renovating a 12-bedroom inn on the island of Maui to become a “low-key, rustic retreat.” Several online tabloids have announced this and unfortunately Oprah hasn’t returned any of my calls so I can not confirm the story. But you can go to this website: http://www.showbizspy.com/article/213445/oprah-winfrey-to-open-bed-and-breakfast.html or maybe you have someone on the inside who will verify the story and can share with us.

From Showbizspy.com

OPRAH Winfrey is reportedly planning to build her own bed and breakfast in Hawaii!

The TV talk show host — whose The Oprah Winfrey Show is in its last season — is renovating a 12-bedroom inn on the island of Maui that will be low-key, rustic retreat.

“Oprah’s planning on having a high-end bed and breakfast for her friends and wealthy customers who like the quiet of the Mai countryside ,” a source told American tabloid the National Enquirer.

“It will be a place for people to rest and reflect.

“Oprah plans to personally play hostess on the ranch when she is on the island.”

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Songbird Prairie and Autumn on the Lake Michigan shoreline

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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Featured in Midwest Living in the Out and About Chicago section
Romantic Bed & Breakfast Songbird Prairie in Northwest Indiana Online Reservations 877-766-4273

Songbird Prairie offers $20 gift card with every $200 Gift Certificate purchased

Complimentary Gift w/ Gift Certificate Purchase

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift? Surprise your loved one with the gift of a getaway! Gift certificates are available for purchase and are a very thoughtful gift idea. As an added bonus, with every $200 gift certificate purchased you will receive a $20 gift certificate for use in our gift shop. Add it to your gift or use it yourself when you pick up your certificate. Two birds with one stone!

Experience the beauty of Songbird Prairie Bed and Breakfast in Valparaiso, Indiana, one of the finest luxury inns in the Midwest. The natural beauty of the grounds, including the certified wildlife habitat, the common areas, and of course the grand guest suites, demonstrate that you have entered a true luxury bed and breakfast.

For a romantic weekend getaway, you’ll find no better lodging choice than our romantic bed and breakfast. And for a fun-filled girlfriends’ getaway, this bed and breakfast in Northwest Indiana is the optimum choice. Our convenient location makes access to many dining, shopping and entertainment options easy, but our secluded location virtually assures your rest and relaxation - and perfect romantic getaways.

Located just fifty minutes from downtown Chicago and just twenty minutes from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, this Lake Michigan bed and breakfast puts you within close proximity to so much! Imagine an Indiana Dunes bed and breakfast close enough to enjoy the lakeshore but far enough to ensure your solitude.

Songbird Prairie is one of the finest award-winning romantic inns in the Midwest. Our awards and accolades speak for themselves – and comments from past guests who have experienced romantic weekends away in our inn are testament to the fact that Songbird Prairie truly is one of the best luxury inns in the Midwest.

Named “one of the 20 perfect summer getaways for 2008” by Travel & Leisure Magazine
Named “one of the top 25 ‘Best Undiscovered Incredibly Romantic Inns” by BedAndBreakfast.com
Recipient of the coveted “2008 Top 10 ’ Award” from American Historic Inns, Inc.
2008/2009 winner of "Best in the Midwest" from BedAndBreakfast.com
Winner of the “2004 Hotel of the Year for the Casual Coast of Indiana” as selected by the Porter County Convention and Visitors Commission

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beyond the Beach Discovery Trail Stay at Songbird Prairie B and B

Beyond the Beach Discovery Trail
www.indianabeyondthebeach.com

Beyond the Beach Discovery Trail Northern Indiana Historical Power Association brings Steam Engines, Shingle Mill, Saw Mill, Field Tillage, Corn
Shelling, Rock Crushing, Dynamometer, Sorghum Cooking, Parade of Power, and
Antique Cars and Trucks to Sunset Hill (site 33) this weekend! September 24,25 2010
http://www.indianabeyondthebeach.com/
www.songbirdprairie.com 877.766.4273 that's 877 SONG BRD
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Scenic Drives in Northwest Indiana stay at Songbird Prairie


Scenic Drives

1st day take a scenic drive along the coast of the Dunes National Lakeshore. This drive is sure to deliver great leaf peeping-fall drama. Climb Mount Baldy which stands an imposing 123 feet tall and is the largest "living" dune that marram grass and cottonwood trees cannot hold in place. This giant mound of sand actually moves south at a rate of four to five feet each year, burying all woodlands in its path. Or for the fainter in heart, walk the Prairie Duneland Trail and return to the Inn for a 30 minute massage and the original JellyBath experience! The 2nd day visit Valparaiso’s own Anderson Winery and return to the Inn for a light dinner with your vino. Package additional $250.00 to your choice of guestroom. 877.766.4273

Stay at Songbird Prairie, then take a road trip to see the Quilt Gardens



Stay at Songbird Prairie, then take a road trip to see the Quilt Gardens

After a restful sleep, awaken to a 3 course hot breakfast. Then roll down the windows and head for Amish Country to see the flower quilts. Our hardy breakfast will allow you time to see them all before enjoying an Amish dinner. You may also have time to get in some shopping. Then return to the Inn for a relaxing whirlpool bath. Afterwards enjoy the company of your friends while sipping hot tea or cocoa and cookies. Browse our on site gift shop with many unique items such as Mary Frances purses, Tokyo milk soap, Baubble Lulu beads, little giraffe blankets and so much more. www.songbirdprairie.com 877.766.4273
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged BEST IN THE MIDWEST BY BEDANDBREAKFAST.COM, birding, Chicago Romantic Getaway, Girlfriends Getaway, Indiana Dunes Hotel, Luxury Bed & Breakfast, Metro Indy Girls, Rural Destination, Valparaiso B&B, Valparaiso Bed and Breakfast, Valparaiso hotel | Leave a Comment
Stay at Songbird Prairie, then take a road trip to see the Quilt Gardens



Quilt Garden
After a restful sleep, awaken to a 3 course hot breakfast. Then roll down the windows and head for Amish Country to see the flower quilts. Our hardy breakfast will allow you time to see them all before enjoying an Amish dinner. You may also have time to get in some shopping. Then return to the Inn for a relaxing whirlpool bath. Afterwards enjoy the company of your friends while sipping hot tea or cocoa and cookies. Browse our on site gift shop with many unique items such as Mary Frances purses, Tokyo milk soap, Baubble Lulu beads, little giraffe blankets and so much more. www.songbirdprairie.com 877.766.4273
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged BEST IN THE MIDWEST BY BEDANDBREAKFAST.COM, birding, Chicago Romantic Getaway, Girlfriends Getaway, Indiana Dunes Hotel, Luxury Bed & Breakfast, Metro Indy Girls, Rural Destination, Valparaiso B&B, Valparaiso Bed and Breakfast, Valparaiso hotel | Leave a Comment »

Tall Ships in Chicago stay @ Songbird Prairie just 45 minutes from NavyPier


Tall Ships on Parade at Chicago's Navy Pier

FOX Chicago News Chicago - Navy Pier is launching their latest exhibit, Tall Ships. Delores Robinson joined us to talk about the event. The ships are moving in at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 24. They will parade along Chicago’s lakefront and all 20 ships will dock at Navy Pier. Once at Navy Pier, the ships can be viewed, boarded and explored. It's $15 to view, $20 to board and excursions start at $44. The ships are from around the world Canada, Germany, Netherlands, to name a few. Hollywood has dropped its anchor here. The "Bounty" will be there which once hosted such famous people at the helm as Cary Grant. Then it was taken off of the ship and put in a sound stage and used in every nautical movie from 1935-1962. John Wayne stood in front of it in Sea of the Red Witch. Marland Brando used it in Mutiny on the Bounty, Charlton Heston in Treasure Island, Monty Python in Yellowbeard and Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. And let's not forget Spongebob Square pants either.

The cost is $15 for a viewing $20 for ship crawl and to board and sail to fulfill a pirates fantasy, a sailaway excursion starts at $44. Exit the hustle and bustle and come to the country to relax and reminisce from your adventure. Guestrooms start at $169.00 whirlpool and 3 course plated breakfast served here: no chance of scurvy! www.songbirdprairie.com 877.766.4274

In addition to the parade there will be a festival lasting six days. Fireworks are planned for each night.

For more information visit www.navypier.com .

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Rural Destinations for Fall Foliage at Songbird

Songbird Prairie has some beautiful vistas for fall foliage. The rustling grasses and the russet-tone hydrangeas catch the fall dew and sparkle in the sunlight. Stroll down the path to the meadow ripe with fall berries which the birds nab as one of their last suppers. During these golden days, you may site a monarch butterfly as the last of the sunflowers, goldenrod, ironweed, asters, Joe Pye weed and black-eyed Susans wane in splendor. Songbird Prairie is close to Taltree Arboretum and the Prairie Duneland trails, not to mention the Dunes National Lakeshore. You may hike or bike these trails to see the splendor in the grasses! As you are reminded that fall has sneaked up on us again. Don't be caught with the frost on the pumpkin before you get out and walk in Nature. It is truly invigorating. Book your two nights now for October and receive an American Historic Inns book as our gift. Rooms must be booked by September 3, 2010. 877.766.4273 www.songbirdprairie.com
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Midwest Living A weekend on the Lake Stay at Songbird Prairie

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)

http://www.indianatrails.org/Prairie_Duneland_Trail_Portage.htm

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
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jellybath at Songbird Prairie! Experience it here!

Enjoy the original Jellybath at Songbird Prairie: a truly unique spa experience. Jellybath turns water into luxurious encasing comfort providing the ultimate relief for stress and aching muscles.


 


Experience a Jellybath which is a virtual blanket with aroma therapeutic benefits. Jellybath exfoliates with vitamin c, black tea and reduces swelling and pulls out toxins. Enjoy a bath with Jellybath which retains its heat up to four times longer than water!


 


Enjoy a 45 minute bath and 30 minute massage for $125.00 -- and then enjoy a 30 minute relaxation with hot tea, neck wrap in a warm cozy robe. Bath only without massage is $99.00



www.songbirdprairie.com
219/759/4274 or 877/766/4273

Friday, July 30, 2010

American Goldfinch is a permanent "guest" at Songbird Prairie!




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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged American Goldfinch, bed and breakfasts indiana, BEST IN THE MIDWEST BY BEDANDBREAKFAST.COM, birding, bluebirds, Chicago Romantic Getaway, dunes national lakeshore, Girlfriends Getaway, Goldfinch, iloveinnns.com, IN B&B, Indiana Bed and Breakfast, Indiana Bed and Breakfast.org, Indiana Dunes Hotel, Luxury Bed & Breakfast, Northern Indiana Bed and Breakfast, Northwest Indiana Bed & Breakfast, Romantic Bed & Breakfast Songbird Prairie in Northwest Indiana Online Reservations               877-766-4273         877-766-4273, songbirdprairie.com, Taltree Arboretum, Valparaiso, Valparaiso B&B, What to do In Northwest Indiana, Wild Canary, www.songbirdprairie.com | Leave a Comment »

Stay at Songbird Prairie and visit the Dunes National Lakeshore

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

 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New bird exhibit in Chicago Stay at Songbird Prairie in Northwest Indiana


Posted by Amy on February 4th, 2009 at 9:42 am CST
Categories: Illinois, Museum

A permanent exhibit called “Birds of Chicago” is open at The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. The Nature Museum is located in Chicago at 2430 North Cannon Drive.

Learn about birds native to Illinois, with nearly 100 specimens on display that date back to the early 1900s. The birds range in age, size, color and rarity, showcasing everything from the large Midwest turkey and the common blue jay to the endangered prairie chicken. Touch screen kiosks provide visitors with additional information on the birds

www.songbirdprairie.com
Tags: Chicago Romantic getaway, Indiana Bed & Breakfast, Northwest Indiana Getaway, Taltree Arboretum
Birds of Chicago
Tags: Chicago Romantic getaway, Indiana Bed & Breakfast, Northwest Indiana Getaway, Taltree Arboretum
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged b, bed and breakfasts indiana, BEST IN THE MIDWEST BY BEDANDBREAKFAST.COM, birding, Birds of Chicago, bluebirds, dunes national lakeshore, Girlfriends Getaway, hummingbirds in Northwest Indiana, Romantic Bed & Breakfast Songbird Prairie in Northwest Indiana Online Reservations 877-766-4273, songbirdprairie.com, What to do In Northwest Indiana, www.songbirdprairie.com | Leave a Comment »

Bill Geist’s Zeitgeist writes about Songbird Prairie





May 31, 2010
Songbird Prairie I’m not a huge fan of Bed & Breakfasts. I know, I know…that’s romantic sacrilege. But, most of my travel is for business, and I don’t find the culture of many B&Bs to match up with my needs when on the road. So, the times I’ll recommend one will be few and far between. Like…ummm, once.

OK…you can make that twice. Songbird Prairie B&B, just outside of Valparaiso IN is an absolute delight. Luxurious accommodations, scrumptuous 3-course breakfast and a rural setting that lives up to its name. Especially because hosts Barbara and Efrain have positioned microphones outside the dining porch to amplify the songbirds that surround the property during your time downstairs.

Songbird Prairie also has one of the best B&B websites I’ve ever seen, combining video, photography and compelling copywriting. It’s something that so few B&Bs get right.
Next time you’re in the Chicago/Northwest Indiana region, treat yourself.

www.songbirdprairie.com 877.766.4273


Monday, May 17, 2010

Baltimore Oriole At Songbird Prairie



Baltimore Oriole


Bird of Coffee and Chocolate
by Gregory Gough (November 2007)


[Bright orange bird with black head]© Gerhard Hofmann 

The Baltimore oriole is perhaps the most famous neotropical migratory bird. Its brilliant orange and black plumage is reminiscent of the crest of Lord Baltimore, an important figure in Maryland’s history, and the bird has become the mascot of the Baltimore Orioles baseball team.

But our story begins in the tropics, from Mexico to northern South America, where Baltimore orioles spend most of the year. Here they inhabit lush, tropical forests and feed on nectar, pollen, fruit, and insects. They especially favor coffee and cacao (the plant that chocolate comes from) plantations where these crops are grown in the traditional manner, the coffee and cacao shrubs flourishing under a shady canopy of natural forest trees.

Pairs of males and females form flocks of about 10 individuals, although sometimes as many as 30 or 40 are in a single flock. Apart from members of a few warbler species, Baltimore orioles are often the most common migratory bird in these agricultural forests. The birds favor the tops of trees, especially those in the genus Inga, where they forage among the numerous blossoms for nectar and pollen. Orioles have a special tongue, which resembles a brush, for lapping up nectar.

Shade grown coffee plantation, winter habitat of the Baltimore oriole.

By April, most Baltimore orioles have begun the journey north to their breeding grounds in North America, which span most of the eastern United States and into southern Canada. Here they eschew the dense forests that so many other migratory birds favor, instead preferring open forests such as those along rivers and even in city parks.

Females build an unusual grassy hanging nest that is suspended like a sack from the end of a branch. The shape of the nest may help deter predators from eating the eggs or young because the eggs and young are hidden from view and the entrance to the nest is difficult to access. The nest is often built in an elm, sycamore, or cottonwood tree. In the video clip below you can see a nest.

Because these orioles spend much of their time in the tops of trees, they are often heard before they are seen. The male has a lovely warbling song and both males and females utter a variety of chatters and short call notes.

The female lays 4 to 5 eggs in late spring or early summer and incubates them alone. Then, both the male and the female feed the young. Pairs make only one nesting attempt per year. And by August or early September, most orioles are on their way back to the neotropics.

Sometimes orioles can be enticed to visit our backyards.
[Bright orange bird with black head at hummingbird feeder] [Bright orange bird with black head feeding on a cut banana]
Oriole at hummingbird feeder (left), and halved banana (right) 

Orioles sometimes visit feeders put out for hummingbirds, and are also attracted to fruit such as bananas and oranges. They are also reputed to eat grape jelly! Please post your tips for attracting orioles to your backyard in the comments section below.

More about the Baltimore Oriole





Songbird Prairie's hummingbirds It's all in the tail

How hummingbirds chirp:

It's all in the tail



Friday, February 8, 2008


Christopher Clark went to Strawberry Canyon in Berkeley and got a bad case of poison oak. Then he tried a shoreline park in Albany, where his camera was stolen and sopping-wet dogs covered his field notes with muddy paw prints.

Those were a few of the hurdles that Clark and colleague Teresa Feo overcame to produce a paper, just published in a prestigious British journal, exploring the physics of how birds make sound.


The title of their UC Berkeley study sums it up: "The Anna's hummingbird chirps with its tail: a new mechanism of sonation in birds." 

Clark and Feo filmed the birds' plunges and recorded the sound they made at the end of their roughly 50 mph descent from a height of 100 feet or more. High-speed video, at 500 frames per second, showed that the birds started their dives with their tails shut and suddenly spread them at the bottom, for one-twentieth of a second - quicker than a blinking eye.

"Now we have a greater understanding of what's actually going on in really sophisticated behavior by one of our residents," said Robert Dudley, a professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley. "It's a pretty amazing sort of experiment. It took a lot of initiative, and they put in a huge amount of field time."

Clark and Feo concluded that the squeaks and beeps made by the dive-bombing birds are not vocal - as some research has asserted - but instead are created by their tail feathers.

"I found it really interesting just because these birds were basically doing mechanical sounds," said Feo, 22, who played clarinet in the Cal Band for four years. "It sort of speaks to the musician in me."

Clark, who is finishing his Ph.D. in the department of integrative biology, began the project more than three years ago. He eventually acquired a collaborator in Feo, who graduated in May and is working at Cal's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. They had to obtain an array of permits from agencies ranging from the state Department of Fish & Game to the university's Animal Care and Use Committee, which ensures that experiments are done ethically.

In the course of the research, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Clark and Feo encountered many visitors to the Albany Bulb, a former dump that is part of Eastshore State Park.

"We had a lot of people ask what we were doing," said the 28-year-old Clark, who also met up with any number of curious canines.

Before acquiring a car, he and Feo would take a bus to the Albany Bulb, hauling a duffel bag that held a stuffed hummingbird mounted on a stick and a cage they had made from netting and tent poles.

During the November-to-May breeding season, the Cal students devoted up to four hours at a time, two or three days a week, on the male Anna's hummingbird - a magenta-splashed creature that looks like something you'd see in New Orleans during Mardi Gras or in San Francisco's Castro district on Halloween.

Clark and Feo, aided over time by a dozen research assistants, lured the birds into traps, banded them and plucked or trimmed one of their tail feathers, which grow back after about five weeks and are not needed for flight. Then they captured their dives with audio and video equipment.

"It's a great example of aerial acrobatics," said Dudley, who is Clark's graduate adviser. "And what's really interesting is not only the mechanism of the chirp but also the timing. Everything is so beautifully synchronized. The males are using it to advertise to females."

He said it's an occasion where sound, color and movement come together.

"Everyone in the Bay Area can see this in our natural areas and parks," Dudley said. "We see this on campus, remarkably enough."

Clark said that people have known birds make sounds with their feathers since before the time of Charles Darwin, who wrote about it in his 1871 book, "The Descent of Man." However, the physics of how non-vocal sounds are created hasn't received much attention until recently, he said.

"The first year, I got basically no data," Clark said. "I was figuring out how to do it."

After he contracted poison oak in the thick brush of Strawberry Canyon, he relocated to the Albany Bulb because the trees and bushes are short, the birds perch at eye level, and they stand out against the blue sky, making them easier to photograph.

"There were other issues with the Bulb," said Clark, recalling how he fell flat on his face chasing someone who had purloined his camera. It was all recorded.

"You can hear the crash of me hitting the bush," said the researcher, who succeeded in catching the thief.

Clark and Feo employed dead birds from the Lindsay Museum in Walnut Creek and live caged birds to lure the male Anna's hummingbird. The work was slowed by wind, rain and avian confusion.

"A big part of the project was sitting and waiting," Clark said. "There were short moments when it was exciting."

The researchers relied on several cameras, including a $50,000 model. They produced sounds from the feathers they'd collected by placing them in front of a jet of air or inside a wind tunnel. They decided, after painstakingly analyzing the male bird's tail feathers - 10 total, five on each side - that the chirping sound comes from the fluttering of part of the inside edge of the outer feathers.

Clark, a bird-watcher since high school, said he likes to work with hummingbirds because they are common and easy to catch.

"If I didn't study birds, I'd probably study something else that flies," he said. "Flight fascinates me. I'm jealous - I wish I could fly."

Local ornithologists and bird-watchers have long debated the source of the sound made by the diving male Anna's hummingbird.

In the 1940s, a UC Berkeley graduate student stated in a published paper that he could produce sound by attaching one of the creature's feathers to a strip of bamboo and whipping it through the air. However, a 1979 paper by the curator of birds at the California Academy of Sciences declared that the sound was vocal. Almost 30 years later, Clark and Feo have countered that argument.

"They're fascinating little creatures," Clark said. "And even though the landscape at the Albany Bulb seems kind of devastated, there's interesting research to do in your own backyard."

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cinco de Mayo Special Saves you $55 at Songbird Prairie B and B


Cinco de Mayo Special: 05/05 saves you $55!  






Offer Valid:  05/03/2010 – 05/06/2010

Savings: Save $55 on your second night 

Details:
We’re playing with the number “5″ to give you a $55 saving for Cinco de Mayo – 5th day of the 5th month. Book any guestroom for a two-night stay that includes , Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, May 3-6. Pay regular rate for your first night, and take $55 off your rate for the second night. This represents up to a 35 percent discount on your second night! Stay three nights and apply the $55 discount to your third night, too. You MUST mention this special at the time you make your reservation to be eligible. Cannot be used with any other offer. 877-766-4273 www.songbirdprairie.com


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stay at Songbird Prairie and visit these gardens and plant sales this summer

Places to Go and Things to Do Summer 2010


Saturday, May 1


 Native Plant Sale, Wild Ones Garden Club – Gibson Woods, 6201 Parish Ave., Hammond, 219-844-3188


 


LaPorte County Master Gardeners Symposium – 8:30 am- 3 pm, Best Western Hotel, 444 Pine Lake Ave., LaPorte, $28 in advance $33 at door, includes lunch 219-324-9407


 


Rise and Shine Seminar,   8:30 am, $5, Gardens on the Prairie   “A Plant Preview for 2010 and Garden Maintenance. 3242 W. 169th St. Lowell, IN   219-690-0911


 


Friday, May 7


Spring Bird Migration Hike, 8 am, Wild Ones Garden Club, see over 300 species, registration is required, 6201 Parish Ave, Hammond 219-844-3188


 


Saturday, May 8


Lake County Master Gardeners Plant Sale, 8 am – 2 pm Plants are selected to maximize drought tolerance, disease resistance and deer and slug resistance. Master Gardeners will be on hand, pre-orders picked up. Lake County Fairgrounds, Fine Arts Building, closes at 4 pm, Crown Point, 219-755-3251


 


Lowell Garden Club Plant sale, 9 am – 3 pm, Olde Towne Square Park 219-696-8282 or 219-696-6464   www.lowellgardenclub.com


 


Portage Plant sale 9 am – noon, Woodland Park, Willowcreek Road,   Portage   219-762-1732 or 219-762-0861


 


Wednesday, May 12


Rain Gardens, 7 pm, Master Gardener, Dolly Foster, provides information and tips on how to utilize and set up Rain Gardens, Munster Library, 219-836-8450


 


Saturday, May 15


Miller Plant Sale,   9 am – noon, Miller Beach Home and Lumber Center, 875 Lake St. & Rt. 20, also selling garden books, tools, baked goods and knick knacks, 219-938-6880 www.millergardenclub.net


 


Build an Annual Container Workshop, 8:30 am, $30, Garden on the Prairie, 3242 W. 169th St., Lowell 219-690-0911    www.gardensontheprairie.com


 


International Friendship Gardens, Opening Day and Plant Sale, Mothers in free all weekend, 2055 U.S. Hwy 12, Michigan City, free admission to plant sale, master gardeners on hand. 219-879-3564 or 219-878-9885   www.friendshipgardens.org  


 


 


 


Tuesday, May 18


New Plants to Try, Central Library, 7 pm, 1919 W. 81st Ave., Merrillville, sponsored by Lake County Library, Master gardener, Zann Wilson. Pre-register


 


Thursday, May 20


Rose Gardening, 6:30 pm, Master Gardener, Wayne Barnes will talk; meet the 3rd Thursday of every month at the Highland Branch Library, 2841 Jewett St.  Field trips are planned for June-August, call 219-838-2394


 


Friday, May 21


            Munster Plant Sale 8 am-1 pm, 1101 Oriel Dr., Munster   219-923-1255


 


Saturday, May 22


Rise and Shine Seminar, 8:30 am, $5, “DIY Paver Projects to Enhance your Home and Maintenance” at Garden on the Prairie, 3242 W. 169th St., Lowell 219-69 0-0911, www.gardensontheprairie.com


 


Friday, May 28


Wildflowers Walks – 9am-2pm, Wild Ones Garden Club, see over 300 species, meet at parking lot kiosk, Gibson Woods, 6201 Parish Ave., Hammond,   219-844-3188


 


Saturday, June 5


Rise and Shine Seminar, “Behind the Scenes of garden Design, Planting & Maintenance”, 8:30 am, $5.00, “DIY Paver Projects to Enhance Your Home & Maintenance”, Gardens on the Prairie, 3242 W. 169th St., Lowell, 219-690-0911


 


Sunday, June 6


Art in the Garden, $5 per person, Art Fair 10 am – 4 pm, Taltree Arboretum & Gardens, 450 West 100 North, Valparaiso, 219-462-0025, www.taltree.org/events


Wednesday, June 9


Shade Gardening, 7 pm, Master Gardener Daryl Dorton provides information and tips on how to grow a shade garden.  Munster Library  219-836-8450


 


Friday, June 11


Wildflower Walks, 9 am – 2 pm, Wild Ones Garden Club, see over 300 species, meet at parking lot kiosk, Gibson Woods, 6201 Parish Ave, Hammond, 219-844-3188 


 


Tuesday, June 15


Hydrangeas, 7 pm, Central Library, 1919 W. 81st Ave., Merrillville, sponsored by Lake County Library in cooperation with Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service. Preregister at 219-769-3541 x317  www.lakeco.lib.in.us


 


Thursday, June 17


Lawn Care, 6:30 pm, Master Gardener, Jim Colias will talk about fertilizing, aerating and organic lawns. Highland Branch Library,  2841 Jewette St., meet the 3rd Thursday of every month. Field trips are planned for June-August so call 219-838-2394.


 


Saturday, June 19


Rise and Shine Seminar, “Reclaiming Water in Landscapes,” 8:30 am, $5, “DIY Paver Projects to  Enhance Your Home and Maintenance”, Gardens on the Prairie, 3242 W. 169th St., Lowell  219-690-0911


 


Friday & Saturday, June 25, 26


Crown Point Garden Club Garden Walk, Sat – 9am - 4 pm, Sun 12:30 pm – 5 pm, Crown Point, 219-663-0386 or 219 -663-7678


 


Saturday & Sunday, July 10, 11


Lakeside Garden Walk, Saturday, July 10, 11 am – 5 pm. Lakeside, MI, for more info see


 www.thelakesideassociation.org


 


            Lowell garden Walk Sat-9 am – 5 pm and Sun 11 am – 5 pm. Tickets are $8, children under 12 free.  Includes historical museum tour at Homestead Museum.  There are 7 gardens. For more info call 219-696-8282 or 219-696-6464   www.lowellgardenclub.com or  jsmutt@att.net


 


Sunday, Monday & Tuesday, July 11, 12, 13


Day Lily Days, Garden Open, 1:05 pm– 6:35 pm (eastern time), Twin Starz Gardens, 10072 North 650 East, New Carlisle  574-654-9124


Wednesday, July 14


Herb Garden, 7 pm, Master Gardener Karen Hix provides information and tips on how to grow and give herbs as gifts. Munster Library, 219-836-8450


 


Saturday & Sunday, July 17 & 18


Sat., July 17 Porter County Master Gardeners Garden Walk, 9am – 4 pmmaster gardeners will be on hand at each location to explain plantings. For more info www.pcgarden.info  219-465-3555 x26


 


Miller Garden Walk,  Sat & Sun 10 am – 3 pm both days, $8 in advance, $9 at the door, featuring 6 gardens.  Shuttle busses from the Aquatatorium at the National Lakeshore Park.  10 am – 3 pm, box lunches available at Miller Bakery Café, tickets at Ayres Realtors at 646 S. Lake St., combines with Miller Art Fair Miller Beach in Gary, IN  219093806880  www.millergardenclub.net


 


July 18-24


            LaPorte County Fair, LaPorte, IN


 


Heirloom Kitchen Garden, Master Gardeners plant and display a Heirloom Garden at Pioneer Land during the LaPorte County Fair.  219-324-9407


 


Tuesday, July 20


            Attracting Hummingbirds, Central Library, 7 pm, 1919 West 81st Ave., Merrillville, IN, sponsored by Lake county Library in cooperation with Purdue University Cooperative Extenstion Service. Pre-register at 219-769-3541 x 317,  www.lakeco.lib.in.us


 


July 22 – August 1


            Porter County Fair, Valparaiso, IN


 


Friday, Saturday & Sunday, July 23, 24, 25


Living Watercolours Pond Tour, Fri 8-10pm, Sat 10 am – 5 pm, Sun noon – 5pm.  Visit 12 ponds and gardens in Northwest Indiana and Illinois Southern Suburbs.  www.illianagardenpond.org or


219-663-2365


 


August 6 – 15


            Lake County Fair, Crown Point, IN


 


 


 


 


Sunday, August 8


August Tea, Classic high tea, classic music. Gardens benefit, $25, International Friendship Gardens, 2055 U.S. Highway 12, Michigan City  219-870-3564 or 219-879-9885  www.friendshipgardens.org         


 


Monday, September 13


Plant Swap, bring your perennials and take perennials, 10 am Lake County Parks Greenhouse, 8305 Randolph St.,  Hobart    219-947-1958 or 219-769-PARK


 


TBA


 


Mid June  Whiting in Bloom, please call for dates 1-4pm, 6 homes, advance tickets $10, day of tour $12.  Tickets available at corner of 119th & Calumet Ave., sponsored by Arts Alive   219-659-0292


 


Annual Fall Plant Sale, Portage Garden Club, 9 am – noon, Walgreen’s on Central Ave.,  Portage  219-762-1732 or 219-762-0861


 


 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Moms are special at Songbird Prairie Mothers Day Special

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

 Indianapolis Getaway, Metro Indy Girls, Mother Daughter Special, Mother’ Day Special, Northern Illinois Getaway, Pandora Beads, Southern Michigan Getaway, The Good Bead, Troll Beads |Mother daughter getaway, girlfriends getaway