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Close Encounters of the Bird Kind

Bald Eagle swoops low over unsuspecting children and lands expertly on the crown of a nearby spruce. All eyes watch as this magnificent bird lifts its tail and gazes towards the bird feeders below. This is a real close encounter of the bird kind that we won't soon forget. Read on to discover more....

Gently falling flakes, snow covered hills, frosted trees….we love this weather! Harrington looks glamorous in winter white. Our familiar landscape is disguised, it renews our excitement, like putting on a new set of clothes. Larch tries to pounce like fox on a mouse in snow tunnels, Elk makes picnic table snow angels. Raccoon is quick to match words with action pictures and locks in the details like a scientist. Polar Bear is all eyes for clues, and follows the map carefully around the pond. Hummingbird and Daisy work together with handfuls of snow in mitts and mouths. Owl and Tamarack are just having so much fun, happiness reigns. Learning is happening while hiking along or just chatting in a circle under the cedars.

Birds continue to be our interest. On the menu today is finding word clues that describe something a bird does as part of its life cycle. We can’t just learn the names of birds, but must connect with them through the details of how they live.

Scavenger hunts involve finding things but we added another skill we are working on, reading maps. Here is a picture of the map around the pond. Check in about the places where clues were found, see if they can pinpoint clues using cardinal direction words and place names.

Of course when it snows we must go sliding!

In the library our winged inquiries continue. Mrs Eastman found a lovely book with a cardinal pair. See if you can get a retell of this story. We then experimented with making bird feeders with gelatin and water. As with all new projects we only get better with practice. Check out the recipe that came home and give it a try! We appreciate all the extra preparing Mrs Eastman does for us behind the scenes. I wonder if she lives at the library?

We try to keep the recording in our journals fun and accessible. Most recorded three different bird behaviours and may want to add to this list. Ask your child if they can identify all nine of these behaviours and demonstrate through actions or words what this means.

  • Preening

  • Migration

  • Flocking

  • Nest Building

  • Finding a mate

  • Foraging

  • Defending Territory

  • Staying warm/cool

  • Fledge

Often we encourage naming and noticing what's around us outside. This leaves us with knowledge but not necessarily connection. Think of a continuum of learning about nature; knowing - appreciating - caring - protecting. We are moving these children along on this journey with the vision that they will become the stewards of the natural world in the future. They need more than just names.

Back to our journals! Share the excitement of your child’s accomplishment and think about ways to suggest they add to it. Finding facts through research, trying an experiment or including more detail in pictures and/or words will keep your child excited about this important learning tool. Use open ended questions to get more chatter on topics in their nature journal….how do you know?, why do you think?, or tell me about?

Joy is always near at nature school.

Kids always teach us something. Raccoon showed us all how to skip a snowball across the pond. Larch gave a ted talk about how snowflakes have a nucleus. WOW!

We are so proud of our kids and can't wait to see them next week. Tamarack says it's all HAPPINESS when they are here!


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