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

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!



The Coopers Hawks are Coming! By: Sofia and Evahn

November 9, 2016 - 2:54pm -- helenfisher

Today there was a coopers hawk on a ledge by our bird feeders, it was very large. It had a white chest, and brown dots/stripes on it with blackish brownish wings. It had short legs and kind of glided when it flew away after a few seconds. We are hoping it will come back so we can take a better look at it. We weren't sure at first but now we think we know that its a Cooper Hawk!

House finch disease concern

November 5, 2016 - 11:26am -- helenfisher

At school we noticed a finch with particularly untidy feathers on the head and one wing.  We wondered if the bird had been attacked and survived,or if it was molting late.  On Thursday, students from 5th grade reported a new window collision and dead bird.  It was our untidy finch.  On examination, I noticed that the flight feather was irregular because of a swollen lesion at the base; a tumor like swelling on the forehead, and another on the foot.  Today at my home feeder, I saw two more finches with prominences on their foreheads.  I will post more information about an eye disease for us to watch for.


What we've seen this school year


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


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