Our entire 100 first graders had the great experience of visiting the Bird of Prey Center! The kids loved it! We've been having so much fun seeing the cute Gold finches at our feeders. Next week, we are scheduled to take a green belt bird walk with some birding grandparents!! I hope the weather holds, but I'm sure the kids would love to bird watch in the snow!
Talk about being in the right place at the right time...yesterday the school bell rang and everyone was on their way to their cars or to the buses. Coincidently if you go out the front door you have to walk right by the ornithology classes bird feeders. Not an accident on our part. I just walked out the door and it happened to be hailing right at the moment but the sun was shining. It was the kind of hail that stung when it hits you but was the kind that makes you hold up for a minute before you realize it is light and it won't hurt if it hits you. So I glanced out and saw that all the...Read more
I have spent the morning watching a young hawk watching for prey and even "foraging" in the shrubbery and long grasses of our walled school garden, known as the Zen Garden. Of course no birds are at the feeders since the hawk returned. Wondering if this is normal behavior? Looking for birds or perhaps mice?
Our morning birding session included a wide variety of species! At the feeders, we sighted California Quail, Lesser Goldfinch, one Dark-eyed Junco, House Finch, and House Sparrows. A Mourning Dove flew over, so we got to discuss field marks for this bird. A small flock of European Starlings went over, also. Later, one of the students spotted a huge amount of birds sitting on the power lines in the distance. We estimated between 100 and 120 starlings on the power line. It was a treat to see so many species in a 25-minute session!
This month we have been making a calendar for our parents. We will be giving them to our parents for Christmas. For every month we have a different bird and background. For example, for October we have trees and an owl. For April we have rain and bluebirds. It's a great project! Mr. and Mrs. Luque have been teaching us how to make our calendars once a week. We can't wait to finish our calendars!
When I was outside I found what looked like a Cooper's Hawk, but when I went away there were two more sightings. Another student took pictures of the bird on the wall around our garden. The hawk was perched on top of a wall of bricks. Our problem was that we could not tell if our hawk was a Cooper's, a sharp-shin, or a even maybe a merlin. The birds look so similar in the field guides. But one difference is that the birds decrease in size from Cooper's, to Sharp-shin hawk to merlin. How could we measure our bird???
We measured the bricks on the garden wall. Each brick was 7...Read more
Monte and Slim's visit to TJCS was educational and interactive. Monte brought in a Golden Eagle to the school. He has had Slim for over twenty years. Monte told us about how Slim can fly at one hundred twenty miles an hour. He said Golden Eagles can knock big animals such as a cow or sheep or even a human down in one hit at 120 miles an hour. Slim eats 2-3 pounds of meat in one day. That's over 400 pounds of meat in a year. Slim wears a hood that keeps his eyes safe from bright lights and other such things that could damage his eyesight. His eyesight is 8 times stronger than that...Read more
My students enjoyed dissecting an owl pellet that I found in the mountains. I prepped it by baking it before bringing it to class. Then, using the document camera, we worked together to find and identify the bones. We decided that the owl had recently eaten two field mice. The bones have been a popular and fascinating attraction all week! Also this week, Mr.Willadsen visited with a great feather experiment. Students tested the temperature of ice on their skin with no protection, with feathers as a barrier, and finally with feathers and air. This brought home the concept of fluffed up...Read more
Yesterday I saw at least 50 house finches! If something or someone spooked them, they would all fly off together. It was incredible to watch due to the sheer quantity of them. I also saw three mourning doves in a row on the roof. All of them had their feathers fluffed up so that they looked like puffballs.
I apologize for the lateness of my class post.
We have been very busy learning more and more about birds this year. Here is a log of our activities from this year, so far.
September 30th - Today we met Miss Mia. She was so much fun and we had a blast learning bird parts and singing Crown, Wings, Eyes and Beaks (to the tune of Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes). We labeled birds parts and took many breaks to practice this new song. Miss Mia was kind enough to deliver our Bird by Bird equipment that Mrs. Podolsky and Mr. Aumiller set up!
October 14th - Field Trip to the...Read more