News From Indiana Dunes Blog

Bikes, brews, best stays, places to play, and so much more. Define your Dunes getaway for yourself with the help of our local stories.

A Visit from a Good Luck Sparrow

December and January are ‘a visiting time’ – a time to escape the chill of winter and explore new spaces in far-away places, or to travel to see friends and family in old familiar haunts and catch up on the year that was. It’s also a visiting time for sparrows, and my grandfather always told me that…

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Four and Twenty Blackbirds Gracing the Sky

October is loud and raucous on the Kankakee Sands prairie. It can also be dark and ominous. In the early morning, you can hear them long before you see them. Off in the distance is a lone tree or perhaps a small cluster of trees. Their branches beginning to tremble. Growing ever louder, a…

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American Bittern: Thunder Pumper of the Wetlands

On this chilly May morning, I’m bundling up for a pre-dawn excursion. With binoculars round my neck and bird book in hand, I meet up with other Kankakee Sands staff and volunteers for our annual Kankakee Sands Bird Survey in the bison pasture. We are looking and listening for all the birds that…

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Shucks, No Shrikes

Well, shucks, try as I might, I have not yet been successful in seeing a northern shrike at Kankakee Sands. Even though more than 450 beautiful bird species have been documented in Indiana over the years, this winter, I had my sights set on just one—the clever northern shrike. Classified as a…

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25th Anniversary of Kankakee Sands

Twenty-five years ago, Kankakee Sands wasn’t. It wasn’t a prairie, it wasn’t home for a herd of 100+ bison, it wasn’t managed with fire, and it wasn’t visited by families and friends. It simply wasn’t. But today, it is! This very December marks the 25 th year that the Indiana Chapter of The Nature…

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If Monarch Wings Could Talk

Without a doubt, September is the month of the monarch. I am loving all the monarch photos that people are posting to social media and sending to me via text and email. The photos of the brightly colored, seemingly perfect monarchs are stunning. With their bold and bright, orange and black wings…

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Chatty Little Grasshopper Sparrows

Nature isn’t always what it seems —a chatty little grasshopper sparrow taught me that. For the first ten or so years that I worked at the Kankakee Sands Nursery, I was always looking down, either at the native plants that I was planting into the soil or at the seeds that I was harvesting for our…

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A Reason to Love Winter

A Reason to Love Winter By Alyssa Nyberg With its short days, grey skies, and cold temperatures, February in Indiana can be trying even for the ruggedest soul among us. But, I love winter. Without winter, our Kankakee Sands prairies would not be the amazing, life-filled, flower-flowing…

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The Upside-Down Bird With the Strange Song

The Upside-Down Bird With the Strange Song By: Alyssa Nyberg If you think saying the word “bobolink” is fun, you’d be right! Even more fun is seeing the bird itself. It’s the male bobolink ( Dolichonyx oryzivorus ) that will turn your mind upside down. Many birds, such as bluebirds or chickadees, are…

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Sedges Are a Buffet for Bison in the Indiana Dunes

Sedges Are a Buffet for Bison in the Indiana Dunes By Alyssa Nyberg This July we will be busy with harvesting hundreds of pounds of sedge seeds to include in this year’s prairie planting at Kankakee Sands. We will be harvesting twelve different sedges, each one so unique, and really quite lovely…

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