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.  

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The Tiny, but Adventurous Bird By: Berkli, Grady, & Katie

May 18, 2016 - 9:53pm -- helenfisher

The Tiny, but Adventurous Bird     By: Berkli, Grady, & Katie


We went Birding at the BSU birding station with Heidi Ware. We saw, heard, and caught many birds. The one bird that interested us most was the Black-Chinned Hummingbird. The Black-Chinned Hummingbird is fairly small, Heidi said it weighed about the same weight as a penny. It’s green with a black head and chin with a purple tint (that you can only see in the light). They didn’t have a band for it, but Heidi told us about it’s age and where it probably came from. She said it was probably about 1 year old, and that it most likely migrated to Mexico, and then came back. When it was time to set the bird free, everyone in the class got to let it go. Some of us noticed the sound the wings made when it flew off. Instead of flying out of sight, it flew to a nearby tree and perched there for a few minutes.


A Yellow Warbler Encounter

May 18, 2016 - 9:37pm -- helenfisher

Myles, 7th Grade 

It was a sunny day at the Intermountain Bird Observatory near the Boise River.  I was looking at quartz crystals on the ground when I heard a chirping noise.... it was a Yellow Warbler!  I ran over to Heidi, and there it was.  It had red stripes on its breast which told me it was a male.  Heidi was banding it, and when she was done, me and my classmates set it free.  In conclusion:

Fly free little birdie!

Warblers At Breakfast By Emily and Ainsley

May 18, 2016 - 3:15pm -- helenfisher

Emily and Ainsley from TVCS 7th grade, were at the Intermountain Bird Observatory on Tuesday, May 17. They were able to release a yellow warbler after its data was written down by Heidi Ware and her team.  We learned that female yellow warblers don't have the same chestnuts streaks on her stomach like the male does, and she isn't as brightly yellow. Yellow warblers migrate to Canada and Northern USA, as well as down into Arizona and a small bit of Mexico and California in the summer. In the winter, they go to Central America and Northern South America, as well as Baja California. The male as a darker back and wings than females. Females have a more brown tint. Over all, the trip was amazing! Thanks Heidi Ware for teaching and showing us all the cute birds! 

Digging into e-bird

May 8, 2016 - 5:37pm -- helenfisher

Seventh graders at the Village recently explored the amazing maps and graphs of   Each student was trying to discover the movement patterns of an Idaho bird, using observation data.  We discovered a treasure trove of information to dig into, barely touching the possibilities.  Our main explorations utilized Species Maps and Line Graphs.  Students learned what e-map means by "frequency" and "abundance".  With the species maps, students could look for seasonal differences in frequency data, inferring long distance migration patterns when high frequency patterns moved from regions in Central and South America to regions in North America, including Canada and Alaska.  We asked more particular questions with the Line Graphs.  We could search up to 5 birds at a time in this tool, then choose a state, and narrow down to county level.  We wanted to know how Ada County birds moved between seasons in Ada County.  Using these tools we discovered some species were frequently observed by birders, but only in small abundance, or low numbers.  Although American robin seemed like a ubiquitous U.S. bird when looking at species maps, we found that the peak counts (abundance) of birds in Ada county were in the winter months, and the birds all but left the valley after breeding, for the month of August.  We inferred a short-distance migration to the higher elevations where berries were ripening, before robins returned again in fall. Students were challenged to ask deeper questions with these tools, then to try to write their own paragraph, describing the migration patterns of their bird.  This was an engaging activity, coupled with a paper collage project for service learning.  Thanks Heidi for challenging us to explore this database!


What we've seen this school year


Helen Fisher, Grade 5
Boise, Idaho USA


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