Borah High School

"There are many benefits for our school participating in the Bird by Bird Program!  The equipment and seed provided by this program allows students to learn about birds by actually observing them directly through the classroom windows.  Thus far, biology students have been able to study bird interactions, changes in populations over time such as wintering birds versus year around residents, and food preferences.  Some students have also learned how to build and where to place bird nesting boxes, were able to go on field trips to study birds, and plan school gardens to represent the four Idaho ecosystems.  Being able to observe and identify live birds engages students in learning more than learning from a text. 

Students have learned a tremendous amount by participating in this program. They appear to develop an appreciation for the outdoors and organisms that live there by being able to observe the birds at the feeders. Other more specific things students have learned include:

  1. Squirrels are creative thinkers when it comes to figuring out how to get to the bird seed.  They even come to the classroom window to let us know that they are out of bird seed!
  2. More ringed-neck doves visit the feeders in the fall than any other species.
  3. Doves only feed at the ground feeders while finches will feed at both the hanging and ground feeders. 
  4. Birds feed at different times of the day.  We do not see the same number and type of birds all day long.  There appears to be a morning feeding time and late afternoon.
  5. The ground food needs to be replenished more often than the others, probably because of our resident squirrel population.
  6. The increase of juniper trees in the Owyhee Mountains has negatively affected sage grouse habitat and sage grouse populations.

Most of students have enjoyed observing birds and identifying them the three years we have been involved in this program. Students who participated in last year’s sage grouse field trip had a great time especially when they were able to watch the male sage grouse on the leks and use the radiotelemetry equipment to locate a bird transmitter.

Biology students are looking forward to the third quarter student projects this year where they will have more opportunity to do hands-on projects instead of writing science lab reports! Some of the students will have the opportunity to build bird nesting boxes for the school grounds with BEST students at our school and place them around the school campus to determine what organisms use them in the spring for nesting. Some students may take on the project of presenting the Flying High activities to one of Borah’s elementary feeder schools.  Most students are also looking forward to more bird identification at school, the possibility of taking biking field trips to Kathryn Albertson Park and MK Nature center to observer different types of birds not found at school, and designing and building gardens representing the four Idaho Ecosystems (aquatic, sagebrush steppe, grassland, and forest) to see what new bird species may be attracted to school."

 

What's New

Bird Feeders

November 4, 2016 - 11:01am -- Kris Stone

Borah biology students officially start their birding projects second semester (January).  However, the feeders are up and the game cameras are recording birds visiting the feeders every 5 minutes during the day.  We are seeing house finches, morning doves, and dark-eyed juncos on a regular bassis as well as hungry squirrels.  The cooper's hawk has also made a few visits.  We observed one flying by the window and have found at 2 dove feather piles near the feeders!

JANUARY NEWS

January 31, 2016 - 6:05pm -- Kris Stone

We have lots of birds visiting the feeders and the game cameras continue to snap pictures every 5 minutes.  Students have started to learn to identify birds common to borah both visually and by sound in preparation for analyzing the game cam pictures and conducting the bird census counts in the spring.  The average number of birds students could identify visually on the pretest that included 37 birds was 10.9!  The average number of birds students could identify by song was 4.5. 

We had one male house finch visit the ground feeder that appeared to have conjunctivitis.  The bird was acting funny at the feeder and moving slower than others.  When we went out to check, he sat on the limb of a nearby shrub and let us give within a couple of feet of him. The eye toward us was closed.  As a result, we cleaned the feeder to try to prevent the spread of the infection.

Borah students will start to add bird sightings from the game cam pictures sometime before springbreak and will start to enter the sightings into the B3 database.

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What we've seen this school year

Observations

Chris Jones, Grade 11
Boise, Idaho USA

Bird by Bird

Educating children one bird at a time!

Participating Schools