This was a great month for birding at Star. When Mr. Willadsen visited, everyone got to use the field glasses to bird watch with him. We also reviewed common birds of our area and began to use the Indenti-flyer to hear the different calls. We rolled out our birding library, and it's very popular for independent reading time. We even added 3 new birding books. We spent some time studying Arctic habitats, so we focused on Snowy owls and thier adaptations. Then, students created their own Snowy Owls as an art project.
We have been working hard to identify field markings on different birds. We decided to make Black-Capped Chickadees for our hallway art project and they turned out so cute! I was happy to see students looking into their bird field guides to look up close at the field marks and draw them into their drawing! We are looking forward to a cold greenbelt walk soon and started our bird reports! Such a fun birding month.
This week Mrs. Coffman came to Grace Jordan to teach the 6th graders about bird watching in the winter. She described the 15 most common birds that we might see during this season. The students used identification techniques that they have learned this year to make predictions. For example, they looked at the shape of the beak to determine what the bird might eat and use that information to guess if it was a finch, sparrow, woodpecker, or in another category. The students were engaged and excited when they were able to correctly identify the pictures. We continue to see lots of...Read more
Before Thanksgiving break, Susan Kain came to visit our classroom. She shared information on bird migration. We learned that birds migrate for food. They use the sun, moon, and landmarks to navigate. Some birds may even have an internal compass to help them find their way. We also learned that birds can fly so high because they have very efficient lungs. Finally, everyone in the class got to make a pinecone bird feeder to take home. Thanks Susun, for coming to visit. We are looking forward to your visit in December when we get to learn more about owls.
We have lately seen a hawk that is harassing the local pigeons and doves. We have not yet identified it but possibilities are: Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Merlin, and possibly the Coopers Hawk.
Mrs. Hugo taught my students about habitats this month. She held a presentation, and then we took a walk around our school to determine various habitats near us. Afterwards, she passed our an aerial map of our school so students had a visual of the habitats. She even gave them an assignment over Thanksgiving break to draw a map of habitats around their homes. It was another awesome lesson!
We went to the MK nature center last week and played Fill The Bill with Sara. Children learned about the different kids of beaks, and how they work! This week while children watched the birds at the feeders they were able to idenity the different beaks each bird had. We're seeing lots of tweezer beaks and cracking beaks, but would like to see more sucking beaks (hummingbirds!). Maybe this Spring we can figure out a way to get some hummingbirds to us!
The nut hatch was constantly going to the feeder collecting one sunflower seed to stash it in a nearby tree. The gold finch was feeding at the finch seed feeder and stayed there until a car drove by. The mourning doves were also feeding on the ground feeder and actually flew on top of the water bath.
Miss Vicky was in the classroom yesterday teaching about owls and owl pellets---perfect timing with Halloween! The kids got to see a live owl and dissect owl pellets. I'm having parent-teacher conferences today, and I've had several parents tell me how excited their kids were to bring home their baggies with bits of bones from the pellets. I've received several comments from parents about how much their kids enjoy all the birding activities!
Lake Ridge finally has plenty of birds visiting our feeders. We have lots a house finches, house sparrows, mourning doves, collared doves, and junkos. We also have to ration the food in our ground feeder to one scoop a day because we have several chickens from the neighbors who LOVE to visit our feeders and our pollinator garden. We have even made an identification chart for the chickens that visit our feeders. While they are not wild birds, their feeding behavior is fun to watch.