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

The Snow-pocalypse and Birding

January 24, 2017 - 3:56pm -- helenfisher

We all now how the Boise Valley snow affected school days, but the birds keep coming, even when the food runs low and the snow covers the ground-feeder.  American goldfinch seem to have replaced our hoards of lesser goldfinch.  Dark-eyed juncos are now frequent and numerous visitors.  The juncos will dig beneath shallow snow to find buried seeds, and the doves quarrel over freshly spread seed.  The first signs of territorial behavior is happening among the doves.  Although the mourning doves are more numerous, the Eurasian collared doves thrust out their chests and throw their larger size around.  Surprisingly the house finches are fewer these days, perhaps because the sunflower feeders have run out first on snow days.  A large flock of robins move in the neighboring trees past our windows, geese fly overhead, and bird life is ever present despite the extreme cold and snowy conditions!  

"There is a New Bird!"

December 5, 2016 - 4:37pm -- helenfisher

Leave it to the 6th grade math class to notice a new bird.  Xanden and Spencer K noticed right away that there was something different about our lesser goldfinches today.  The new birds were noticeably bigger, less yellow, and had two very distinct wing bars compared to our normal lesser gold finches.  We were lucky to notice both species together so that we could compare sizes and color-pattern more easily, and quite sure that we were now watching American goldfinches too!  We are looking forward to more visits!

Juvenile Hawk Hanging Out in Zen Garden

December 2, 2016 - 1:18pm -- helenfisher

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?

Discovered! By Sofia (5th grade)

November 29, 2016 - 3:27pm -- helenfisher

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 and a half inches deep, and two stacked bricks was fifteen inches.  We also had a photo of the hawk perched on our garden wall.  Using the picture we measured the head to tail length and compared that to the two stacked bricks.  We discovered that our hawk was about 13 inches long, smaller than the height of the stacked bricks. This was our clue!  Cooper's Hawks are usually bigger than 15 inches.  In our books, we found that the Sharp-shinned Hawk was usually about 14 inches or smaller.  We are more certain now that our bird is a Sharp-shin hawk.  So we concluded that our song bird hunter is a Sharp-shinned hawk!




What we've seen this school year


Species Count Disposition Date and Time Link

California Gull (Larus californicus)
4 Flying 11/13/2017 - 9:30am Details

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
1 Perched 11/09/2017 - 9:45am Details

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
33 Ground 11/07/2017 - 9:00am Details

House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)
15 Feeder 11/07/2017 - 9:00am Details

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
4 Feeder 11/07/2017 - 9:00am Details

Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)
1 Feeder 11/07/2017 - 9:00am Details

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
3 Ground 11/06/2017 - 2:30pm Details

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)
1 Perched 11/06/2017 - 2:30pm Details

California Gull (Larus californicus)
1 Flying 11/06/2017 - 2:30pm Details

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)
25 Ground 11/06/2017 - 9:15am Details


Helen Fisher, Grade 5
Boise, Idaho USA


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