Sunday, January 18, 2009

Outdoor Hour Challenge - Mammals - Squirrels

Well we finally got into gear this week and decided to actually join in on the Outdoor Hour Nature Study this week on Mammals. I took advantage of Librivox's recordings of Thornton Burgess's Animal book for Children. We listened to the first 6 chapters this week. My kids loved listening to these little stories. We did an outdoor hour study on rabbits a number of months ago when we had the opportunity to "bunnysit" our friends bunny. So we didn't join in with the bunny study last week but this week's study is on squirrels. We have a lot of squirrels in our neighborhood. So after listening to the chapters from the animal book about squirrels we headed out to find "Happy Jack".

Our mammal hunt of at first started out with the usual subjects. This is a neighbor's dog that almost always greets us when we walk by. It will often bring a ball and pass it under the fence for the kid to throw and play a little fetch.
As we walked around the block we noted that we still hadn't seen any squirrels. Usually there are squirrels running about all the time but when you go out to find them they must go into hiding.
We did spy a number of other mammals. These were the lounging type. They often found a nice chair to curl up in or a sunny spot on top of a car. My kids chased a few and most went into hiding under the cars or into bushes.

We finally spied our target mammal. We saw one run across the street and up into a tree. It was much too fast to take a picture of. But then we spotted one that we could actually catch on "film". He was just sitting quietly on a fence. Sophie noticed that he had a nut in his mouth. She had been gathering a lot of walnut shells as we walked around. They must have been the leavings of some of these little guys.
He sat still long enough for me to zoom in and snap one closer shot but then he took off.

I guess the boys who were ahead of us and had turned around to see what we were were looking at scared the little guy. He quickly scampered down the fence and across the street carrying his precious nut with him.

We really enjoyed the Burgess Animal book but I think we will take a little time this week and talk about some of the things in the Handbook of Nature study about squirrels. We have a few different color squirrels around our parts. We see some black ones (these tend to be a little more mean. We stay far away from these!) and some reddish colored ones which are a bit more rare but we see them when we go on walks up in the forests. Mostly we see the grey squirrels which my kids now refer to as "Happy Jack".


Sherry said...

Thanks for the Burgess Animal Book audio link!

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

Great squirrel study...and I am so glad you are back with us for the OH! We missed you.

I love your photos and we have a squirrel like Happy Jack in our walnut tree too. We call him Rufus because he is always on the roof. :)

Thanks for sharing your squirrel. Oh, we have a reddish one too and it is a fox squirrel. You might check it out.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

My Ice Cream Diary said...

My kids love seeing squirrels when ever we go on walks. We once sat for 1/2 and hour watching a squirrel jump from a pine tree to a maple tree, get a big mouthful of leaves, jump back to the pine, shove them in a nest (it looked like a bird nest), and back to the maple to repeat over and over. We still don't know what he was doing but it was fascinating to watch.

Angela said...

If you are short on squirrels come to my house, infact take some home! We have thousands and they eat my strawberry bed, they get in my attic and they won't leave me alone! I am disgruntled squirrel owner!