Since our exploration of birds was interrupted by the snowy start of Spring, we continued with our bird theme this week!
We started by thinking about what different birds eat. We took our observations and combined that with what we already know, to figure out the food choices of different birds. The other week we observed the Red Tailed Hawk’s beak and talons and learned she uses those to hunt small rodents and other creatures. This week we met and observed the Barred Owl. She has a similar beak and talons, so we figured she probably eats similar food. To make sure, we dissected some owl pellets! We found lots of bones in the pellets and were able to match the bones to pictures on a guide sheet. We found a lot of different skulls and bones, and were able to identify them as mostly rodent skeletons.
We realized that many songbirds have different beaks and feet than the birds of prey, which means they eat different food. We decided to help those birds find their food by making them bird feeders. We covered pinecones in soy butter and Crisco and then rolled them in bird seed. We then hung them up along the trail and in the bird blind area. When we checked on our feeders two days later, most of the pinecones were gone and the pinecone left was almost bare.
We read a book called Birds by Kevin Henkes, which talked about how birds come in many different shapes, sizes and colors, but many of them sing! We brought out an Identiflyer and used the different cards to listen to bird calls. We took it out on our hike and called to the birds that we saw.
This time of year, birds are starting to build their nests, so we compared nests build out of different materials and ones of different sizes. We also looked at many different sized eggs and tried to match them to a nest that they would fit in. Out in the meadow, we collected our own nesting material and created nests with grass, sticks, bark, and leaves. We read Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones by Ruth Heller, and found that not just birds lay eggs! Birds, reptiles (including dinosaurs), amphibians, fish, spiders, insects, two mammals and a few others also lay eggs. We learned that everyone who lays an egg is oviparous.
We tested our sense of touch by reaching into bird themed mystery boxes and guessing what was inside them without looking. We found feathers, ostrich egg shell fragments, and bird seed!