Village Charter School

Birding continues at the Village Charter School on Orchard his year.  Sixth grade is making a study of birds in science this year, and middle math students take daily birding breaks.  House finches, lesser gold finches, sparrows, and doves make living in our classroom a delight, and binoculars are ready to be pulled out in seconds.  I love this way to being with kids; oh and we do learn math too.  

What's New

Thank you Heather and Heidi

April 7, 2018 - 11:11am -- helenfisher

Heidi and Heather:

Thank you both for all you have done for our students.  We are working on our curlew posters for the fences.  Curlews are a big topic in our 6th grade classes.  We are so sad that the trackers near the mall were just Jay testing old ones, and not urban curlews!  We were about to take a field trip!  Your willingness to take Rowan and his Mom out to the farm was outstanding.  Rowan returned to school and told us so many interesting things.  He was on fire about the male curlew territorial behaviors.  We heard about the burrowing owl, the Ferruginous and Harris hawks too. What a great morning.  You guys rock!  And then it turns out that Logan (the high school student on your fieldwork trip) was also one of our TVCS birders and 8th grade graduates a few years back.  Makes you realize that there is longevity in your efforts for Bird By Bird. 
The pollinator garden is officially on the move.  That is our school project.  It will be in early stages in May when the Bird by Bird group meets, but it is getting going!  The 6th graders with some 7th grade help, moved 4 yards of a lava fines, sand, topsoil mix into the mound area where we will plant buckwheat and other plants that will attract native insect pollinators.  This is in the middle of our bird garden.  We are very happy with the way this little plot is integrating with landscaping trees at WINCO and in the neighborhood.  Birds use the local conifers and other deciduous trees as cover when they are disturbed by people or hawks.  The two pinyon pines that we added last fall, are already providing a little ground cover for a brave visiting junco.  The American goldfinch boys are nearly done molting and replacing old body feathers with new bright yellows.  So fun for students to watch, especially with binoculars.  Our 'noc skills are getting better.  The American goldfinches are regulars at the feeders and this week one student reported a little territorial dispute near the feeders.  We are hoping that maybe there will be a goldfinch nest or two in the neighborhood.  Most certainly the house finches have identified a nearby spruce for nesting.  The females have been seen carrying pine needles and small sticks into the tree.  All so cool to see.  Thank you again for these great experiences!
Apologies for typos!


A Charm of Finches

February 14, 2018 - 9:51am -- helenfisher

Today we saw a charm of finches. One of our members was watching a game show and the question was what is a flock of finches called and the answer was a charm. We also have been sighting predators. Today two of our members were observing the charm of finches when suddenly a Cooper's Hawk swooped down into their line of vision and all of the finches scatered. A week ago we also saw a cat that was stalking the birds. A week ago that time we also saw another cat which was stalking the birds as well. Also, last Thursday a Cooper's Hawk was seen perched on a lamp post near our school. It had been watching us the whole time. We saw no other birds that day.

Heidi talks raptors

December 7, 2017 - 9:47am -- helenfisher

This week BSU ornithologist came to TVCS 6th grades to teach how to identify raptor species that we think we are seeing near school.  She taught us about Accipiters, Buteos, and Falcons.  Fastest fliers, the falcons, flap and catch prey on the wing.  They have long pointed wings that reach nearly to end of the tail.  Their wings are not designed for soaring, but fast flapping.  Buteos have broad shorter wings with finger feathers that are designed for soaring and looking down on the ground to pounce upon small rodents and grasshoppers.  The accipiters a fast and are masters of sharp turns.  Their wings are shorter and adapted for flying through trees in pursuit of song birds. Accipiters both flap and glide.  We think we are seeing accipiters or an even a merlin (falcon) hunting doves near our school.  She said that we are likely to be observing the accipiter species,Coopers hawk, or sharp-shinned hawk.  It is sometimes difficult to tell them apart unless we can see them perching.

Predators Sighted

November 28, 2017 - 9:46am -- helenfisher

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.


What we've seen this school year


Species Count Disposition Date and Time Link

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
2 Perched 04/25/2019 - 3:00pm Details

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
1 Perched 04/25/2019 - 3:00pm Details

Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)
1 Flying 04/25/2019 - 3:00pm Details

Lesser Goldfinch (Carduelis psaltria)
2 Perched 04/25/2019 - 3:00pm Details

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
5 Ground 04/25/2019 - 3:00pm Details

Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
1 Ground 04/25/2019 - 3:00pm Details

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)
8 Flying 04/25/2019 - 9:45am Details

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
3 Flying 04/25/2019 - 9:45am Details

Lesser Goldfinch (Carduelis psaltria)
3 Feeder 04/18/2019 - 3:30pm Details

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
1 Perched 04/18/2019 - 3:30pm Details


Helen Fisher, Grade 5
Boise, Idaho USA
Latitude: 43.6065
Longitude: -116.234

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