Liberty Elementary

What's New

Bird Magic

October 8, 2017 - 4:38pm -- amber.armstrong

On Wednesday, October 4 our class went to see bird banding at the Intermountain Bird Observatory River Banding Site.  As we are a 1st-3rd Montessori classroom and the students loop in our classroom, some of the students have now been 3 years in a row.  They are convinced, rightly so I suppose, that they have bird magic!  We have seen some pretty epic bird action on our trips to IBO, our walks to the Boise River, and even our field trip to the Boise Watershed, where we got to see a bald eagle face off with a great blue heron.  My 2nd and 3rd graders had convinced the 1st graders that they were about to be amazed at IBO.  I'm always a little nervous that their hopes will be dashed... However, this field trip only served to further convince the children of their inherent bird magic. 

I prepared the kids with guide books and binoculars as we set off and they were so excited to pull out their guide books and have any adult standing around help them find the bird in hand.  Ms. Ally and Ms. Kristin, our B3 biologists, met us there and helped us with guide books and other questions.  Ms. Heidi and Ms. Heather of IBO were there as well and the kids were so excited to see them again.  We saw at least 3 species of birds that were caught in the mist nets - Ruby Crowned Kinglet, Dark Eyed Junco, Yellow Rumped Warbler, Hermit Thrush, House Finch, and Song Sparrow.  We also had a great time looking at nature vs. non in trail cam pictures.  The big excitement came when the temperature dropped as it was raining and, suddenly, all the biologists were dashing off.  We found out that they had to close all the nets because they were catching TOO MANY birds!  When they came back, they returned with cloth bag on cloth bag containing ruby crowned kinglets.  Everyone got to release 3-4 birds that day!  It was pretty epic and I'm not sure if we'll ever convince them that they do not, in fact, have bird magic.... although they may have convinced me! Miss Amber and the Lower Montessori Crew

 

A Slow Start at Liberty

October 1, 2017 - 2:42pm -- amber.armstrong

We have moved classrooms at Liberty and, with that, we've decided to move our bird feeders.  The last few years our bird feeders have been at the back of the school near our small school garden; we couldn't see them from our classroom and they sustained some vandalism and destruction over the years.  Our new classroom is right near the front of the school and, from our cubby room, we spied a great new spot right out our door.  It's a small area and we are going to create a pollinator garden there to attract even more birds and insects.  We are sure this will be a better location, especially if we improve the area.  We have a school duck that nests right near here every year and we've often seen her walk all the way around the school to get to the ground feeder.  We also have quite a few swallows and other small songbirds that fly around the bushes.  Upper Montessori helped us out by tilling the soil and the district brought in some topsoil and mulch.  With the ground prepped, the feeders should get placed in next week.  We are so excited to observe our feeders from our cubby room!  (we're also hoping to put our bird cam in the cubby room to see what else comes around).  Miss Ally and Miss Kristin came by earlier this month to check out our new feeder site and help us with garden plans.  We are all excited!

Spring has sprung!

May 17, 2017 - 1:48pm -- amber.armstrong

May 17, 2017

It's been another very busy month in Lower Montessori and spring has sprung!  Both Upper and Lower Montessori painted curlews and had so much fun.  We can't wait to see the flock!

With our facilitators, Ally and Kristin, we tried a second year at hatching chicks. This year we had one sweet little yellow "guy" hatch, but he died a day later.  The kids had so much fun that first day watching him dry off and wobble around in the incubator.  

Two days later another little "guy" hatched! Yayy!  We were pretty nervous to see if he would survive and he has!  He was pretty lonely all by himself in the trough so we got him two buddies at Zamzows.  They seem to get along and not demonstrate too much bad pecking order behavior.

 

We loved caring for them for a few days and letting them run around our circle.  We had many pet names for them.  We think, due to the bad hatches both years, perhaps our incubator is malfunctioning.  

The same day of our second chick hatching, we were outside building our bird houses with our friends from Upper Montessori.  We got to see a mama mallard duck and 13 ducklings walking by the fence on their way to water!  Lucky day for us indeed!

 

March Madness

April 9, 2017 - 4:12pm -- amber.armstrong

We had a very busy month of March.  Ms. Ally and Ms. Kristin came in to tell us all about nests.  We then got to go outside and make our own nests.  Check out the pictures below!  We definitely found out how difficult it is and we have hands and opposable thumbs, not a beak!  

 

We also had Heather from the Intermountain Bird Observatory come out and tell us all about curlews.  We sure love those long-beaked birds!  We have been looking up their names, reading more about the ones they are tracking, and watching the trackers on the interactive map.  We got to email Heather when we saw that some of the curlews were headed back to Idaho!  She said they have now seen some of them and have observed mating and nesting behaviors!  So exciting :)  We submitted some names for the curlew naming contest so fingers crossed!  Check out pictures below!

 

We also went on a field trip to the Boise Watershed where we saw more birds!  We got to walk to the Boise River, where it wasn't flooding as badly as it is now.  They gave us great tips on using binoculars and it made it so much easier.  On our walk down to the river, we spotted a Swainson's hawk, Canada geese, killdeer, American crows, and a few other birds.  We learned that the largest Great Blue Heron rookery is located here with over 90 nests; the other one is just down the street from our school and we ususally get to walk there and see them too!  We learned that a pair of Bald Eagles used to nest on the other side of the river by the Watershed and that the tree with their nest fell down this past winter due to the big snows.  Now, the Bald Eagles have moved over to the side near the rookery and they are waiting to see what happens.  They definitely haven't seen as many Great Blue Herons this year due to the Bald Eagles moving in.  We saw Northern Flickers, Great Blue Herons, and Mallard Ducks.  We were then so excited to see the Bald Eagle and the Great Blue Heron sort of face off about 40 feet from each other up in the tree tops.  The Bald Eagle prevailed and the Great Blue Heron flew off and circled for about 5 minutes before flying away.  Wow!  Lucky us!  (we were glad to see the Bald Eagle win since that's our school mascot!)

 

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What we've seen this school year

Observations

Species Count Disposition Date and Timesort descending Link

House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)
1 Feeder 10/01/2015 - 9:30pm Details

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
3 Ground 10/01/2015 - 9:30pm Details

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
7 Perched 10/01/2015 - 9:30pm Details

House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)
1 Feeder 05/01/2016 - 9:30am Details

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)
4 Feeder 05/01/2016 - 9:30am Details

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
5 Flying 05/01/2016 - 9:30am Details

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
6 Ground 05/01/2016 - 9:30am Details

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
4 Feeder 05/01/2016 - 9:30am Details

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
5 Flying 05/01/2016 - 9:30am Details

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)
2 Feeder 05/01/2016 - 9:30am Details

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Amber Armstrong, Grade 2
Boise, Idaho USA

Bird by Bird

Educating children one bird at a time!

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