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Who's Been Here?

Updated: Jan 31

I am the smallest of my species but have sharp claws and a strong neck. I lay 4-5 penny sized white eggs. Who am I? Get down to the facts (10 precisely) about our creature feature today. Did our group guess this animal on the first try? What about after we reviewed some clues like detectives do?

Consider all the skills that we use when trying to figure something out with a group. Loads of reading, supporting, drawing from our bank of information and eliminating initial guesses that don't make sense. Not to mention the physical exertion in searching and using keen observation to follow all kinds of tracks along the trail. Ask your child to tell you some cool things about Downy Woodpecker. See how many of these they can recall...

What tracks did we find along Crayfish Creek and how did we tell them apart from other tracks. Rosie’s footprint looks like a fox but has some real differences. Your child should be able to tell you about counting toe imprints and comparing size, and the way the animal moves to figure this out. Animals also leave other kinds of signs that can confirm our guesses.

Our day was filled with mystery and stories. Ask your child to tell you the about these.

Helpful nudge: dead opossum, deer beds at night, injured Goldfinch

What we see around the farm makes the predator/prey games we play very real. What animals did we add to our food web in the fox/rabbit game replay.

Learning about woodpecker is exciting through hands-on practice. In woodpecker pairs, one person put the red bowl on their head and one person did not. Why did we add some red on our heads?  Pretending to be woodpeckers, the males went out to find a good tree for a woodpecker home while the female woodpeckers stayed in the log circle.  How did the male woodpeckers let the females know they had found a good tree? Can you show how woodpeckers talk to each other?  

Cardinal and Blue Jay marked over twenty trees with some chalk to help us remember what kinds of trees woodpeckers like. Do you think Stoneridge Farm is a good home for woodpeckers?

In the afternoon, the woodpecker adventures continued. This time we thought about nests and where a good spot would be. What materials did you use for nest building? The eggs were made out of snow and about the size of a gumball. Was this easy or hard? Blue jay was using whittling skills to shave down a snow ball into the size of a woodpecker egg. How many eggs does a downy woodpecker lay in a nest? The Saplings group also looked for food under leaves, logs and plants. Chickadee and Raccoon found most of their food at the bird feeders.  Do woodpeckers use bird feeders too?  What other things do woodpeckers eat?

We didn't get a chance to add Woodpecker to our journal this week. Your conversation will help all the facts stick until we meet again to do this next week. We did fit in lots of other fun. Check out all the happiness happening at the farm this week.

Ask about how your child's walking stick is progressing. They may even be able to tell you about a wish list of things they would love to carve out of wood. We shared a couple great books for beginner whittlers. A surprise visitor, Junco (Linda), who is a master at carving and wood burning (and mate to our BIG Raccoon). We learned some neat tricks of the trade from her including how to sharpen our knives. See her inspiring creations below. Thank you for coming out to nature school.

We loved celebrating Salmon's 9th birthday at the farm. Thank you to his mom who made some yummy cupcakes for our group. We couldn't do this HUGE day without our ever joyful Daisy and nature guru Dragonfly. Big Raccoon kept us rolling along with our whittling project.

Enjoy the sun that's coming this weekend Forest Friends:)


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