Sept. 20, 2018: Living Like Birds

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The construction crew.

Birds are so present in our woods, but often go unnoticed, aside from the occasional song or visit at the feeder.   This week, we decided to think a bit like birds.  We started off with some snacks that birds might enjoy, such as grass (veggie straws), fruit (clementines) and seeds (pumpkin).  We thought about eating insects, but no one was quite ready to do that.

In our groups, we were tasked with finding as many worms (strips of colored yarn) as we could within a defined area.  We walked the perimeter of the area as a group, then split into two smaller groups to turn on our bird senses in search of worms.  There were 40 worms hiding in the forest, and we were able to find most of them with about 15 minutes of hunting.   Each team found 15 or more, so enough food to survive for the day.  We had to hone our sense of sight because the worms came in 5 different colors – some that stood out from the surroundings, and others that were better at blending in with the forest. Our worm hunt was a fun way to cooperate while thinking about the challenges of finding energy to survive.

Worms collected, it was time to talk about shelter and engage in some problem solving and construction.  Part 2 of our day entailed building a few bird houses to put up at Owl Woods.  It wasn’t easy to wait patiently for a turn to hammer, nor was it easy to hammer those nails straight into 1-by.  But we persisted, and we came out with some just right bird houses to welcome our winged neighbors as they look for shelter or a place to nest.  Now experts in construction, each child took home a birdhouse kit so they may add a birdhouse to their own yard.

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Attaching a birdhouse wall.  (Photo by Britt Nielsen)

 

I’ll end with a few fun bird facts we discussed:

  • Bird bones are hollow which helps with flight.
  • Ostrich are the biggest birds, although they do not fly.
  • Bee Hummingbirds are the smallest birds, and many hummers can fly backwards!
  • Many birds need to eat more than their own weight (some eat 2x their own body weight!) each day to support their activities.
  • Birds have no teeth, and two chambered stomachs to help digest food.
  • Bird nests are where birds raise their young, but are not year-long homes like the ones most of us live in.

And a “one week later” Cecrophia Moth shot…

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The large green caterpillar spotted last week has undergone an amazing transformation!

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