Friday, March 12, 2010

Angelo- Birds

During this unit, I'm taking the opportunity to do some bird study. Our kids love to seek out birds and love bird call CDs and identification of birds. However, this time I'm trying to focus on how birds are different from other animals and how they are adapted for the type of food they eat and the environment they live in. We will also talk about how birds are made for flight.

At co-op this semester (we are having a super semester- I'll share more on that soon), I am a helper in a birds class for K-2 kids. The teacher is doing such a great job with it and I'm having a good time just being there. Of course, I'm using some of those ideas at home.

Yesterday I pulled out our animal box which already had the birds pulled on top. I had a wide variety of birds ready to go including some with varying beaks and feet and wings. We talked about how each bird uses them and how they are designed for where they live. The cards are a mixture of flash cards and cards I made from our Ranger Rick/Your Big Backyard magazines.

These cards were a fun find at our local consignment shop. They have lots of fun facts on the back and the pictures are really nice. We talked about the type of food a bird can eat based on the type of beak it has. I'd like to set up an investigation with different beaks and different foods and have the kids try to see if they can pick up and crack seeds with a spearing bill, etc. Last week I decided it would be fun to stop in at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to pick up a few resources. I was looking for the trail guides in particular. I was able to get the winter one and a particularly nice employee unlocked a cabinet to get me the spring version. How nice!

The front of the trail guide shows pictures of the birds and other animals you can see along the trail. They have one for each season of the year so you can enjoy all the sights and sounds in Sapsucker Woods. On the back they have more detailed information about the critters telling where you can find them and what they are up to at that time of year. We didn't actually walk the trails- it was late in the afternoon and we were on the way from the science center (post coming on a class taken there that day).

The spring version! I cannot wait until I hear the red-winged blackbird!! There is no sound that is a harbinger of warm weather more than a red-winged blackbird. Well except for the spring peepers...
As a bonus, we took home a fun bird fact game- the Professor Noggin one on birds. I went there looking for a bird toob and even the Lab of O didn't carry it. I've seen it at AC Moore but they are out. So, we compromised.
Today we are going to listen to our bird call CDs and try to identify some birds and to try and determine if we've heard that sound yet this season. I do know the year round neighbors are getting very chatty. We took a spring walk the other day and boy do we have a list of early signs of spring! Even in NY with 5 inches of snow cover on the ground still.

In fact, the snow cover is what is keeping Mr. Blackbird away yet. That's the word on the street at the Lab of Ornithology anyway...

I was laughing yesterday at how much blogging I need to do! We've just been doing a lot of fantastic stuff recently.

Another resource to use is Pigeon Watch from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. You can find out all about pigeons here and get data on them for projects. We are not in a place where we can easily participate (remember my kids got excited just to see a pigeon upon arrival in Boston), but the information on these birds is valuable- especially when one of the main characters of our book is a pigeon!

Each of the kids has chosen a bird to research so that is something we'll be working on as well this week and into next.

1 comment:

Tracey said...

We love birds! The study looks great!