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Northwest Indiana for birding or just bird enjoying

Photo:More than 15 thousand cranes stop in NW Indiana on their migrations north and south each year.  Wild birds are an important part of almost every outdoor person’s enjoyment of the natural world. Whether a person is hiking, picnicking, fishing or just sitting on a Lake Michigan beach, birds will be encountered. For some, the bird will just be a flitting glimpse, a bit of color. For others, perhaps spotting wedge of geese or a storm of swarming gulls is a momentary diversion. Birds are just a part of the overall mix which makes an outdoor activity enjoyable…

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Viewing a Moment of a Majestic Migration - Sandhill Cranes

My grandfather loved birds. He used to bird watch and enjoyed learning about them. This love of birds was passed down to my mom. It was with knowing this that our old neighbors, years ago, first took my parents to see the Sandhill Cranes at the Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area. We have since gone as a family about three times before going for the fourth time this past week. Always the week before or of Thanksgiving. Each time we are amazed by what we see. …

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Where There’s a Willow, There’s a Way at Kankakee Sands

I was standing out in a 400-acre wet prairie just north of our Kankakee Sand office, placidly harvesting seeds when I hear the crackling, sizzling Zzzzap! like the sound of an electrical circuit shorting out. With exactly zero electric lines running through that particular prairie, what could have made that sound? Then I noticed a large willow patch… and where there is a willow patch at Kankakee Sands, there may be a sedge wren (Cistothorus platensis) singing its electrical sounding song. …

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Nature Notes: The Magic of the Merlin Falcon at Kankakee Sands

Photo by Chris Davidson.   Lately we've had sightings of merlins at Kankakee Sands. Magical wizards at Kankakee Sands?! That would be incredible! But, well, not exactly. The merlins that are being seen are of the avian sort. "Lady hawk" is another name given to this majestic, light-weight, swift bird because in medieval times, it was the bird of choice for female falconers…

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Nature Notes: Called by Nature - The Barred Owl at Kankakee Sands

Photo Courtesy of: Kathy Malone In the evening, when my head feels like it is still spinning from the adventures of the day, sitting outside and enjoying the night helps me to unwind. Even during this cold time of year, bundling up and sitting outside sends waves of relaxation through me when I see the stars and hear the calls of the barred owls…

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Nature Notes: The Crow - The Smartest Bird You Know

By: Samantha Kinsman, Efroymson Restoration at Kankakee Sands Photo credit to Kathy C. Malone I'd say if there is any bird that everyone knows, it is the crow. They're big, black, and noisy which makes them easy to spot and identify. Maybe that is why for as long as I can remember, they have been my favorite bird. Many find crows to be obnoxious or a nuisance, but once carefully observed, their intelligence and prominent role in nature is uncovered…

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