Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Outdoor Hour Challenge - Starting our Bird Focus

We started our Focus on Birds last week. Rather than jumping right into the Handbook of Nature study or a non fiction book about birds I picked up a great story book about birds Albert. After reading Albert the kids were all excited about learning more about cardinals and I just so happened to have a book about cardinals that I had borrowed from the library. I also broke out a coloring book of all the state birds and we counted how many states have the cardinal as their state bird. We then discussed what our California state bird is. We don't see either Cardinals or Quail in our neighborhood so of course we talked about what birds we do see. Since we almost always have a bird feeder outside our front window we are well acquainted with the House sparrow and once in awhile we see a House finch.
We then went on a walk around our block to see what other birds we could see. We could see and hear a lot of Crows in the trees they often sounded like they were talking back and forth. Somehow I forgot to take a picture of them. I think we are going to have to focus on them next week since we have so many of them around. We saw a lot of pigeons too.

We could hear a lot more birds chirping away in the bushes but we couldn't see most of them.We did try to peek into the bushes to see them but they quickly scattered. We did see a few clumps of twigs wedged in the bushes that must be a nest. I think they are sparrows like we living in our carport and visiting our bird feeder. We needed a new feeder since our last one was rather weather beaten due to all the rain and wind we have had recently. (It was being held together with tape). We actually put up two new feeders. And both were filled at the beginning of the week and a few days later......
this is all there is in each of the feeders. We have had quite a few birds visiting.

Also as part of our focus on birds I decided to also learn a little about John James Audubon. I picked up a number of picture book biographies about Audubon. Today after reading one of these books Sophie decided she needed to give drawing birds a try so we broke out some field guides and other books and she set to work and I decided to join her.

Here is my drawing of a Mocking bird. One of the birds we see all the time in our neighborhood. They are hard to get a picture of however. I am glad the field guides had a good picture of one.

Here is Sophie's drawing of Humming birds. We saw some on our walk yesterday. They sure loved the bottle brush bush so she added a bottle brush to her drawing.

We are enjoying our focus on birds. We listen and look for birds all the time. Sophie spots different ones all the time. I am showing her how to look them up in the different field guides we have collected. It will be a fun few weeks as we take some time to study each of the different birds in our neighborhood.

I know we are supposed to look for Robins, Cardinals or the House Finch as our Challenge for the next few weeks. We don't usually see Robins around our neighborhood but do see them as some of the parks we visit so we are going to have to make sure we go to those parks and hope some robins are about. We don't get cardinals where we live so we will have to content ourselves with books about cardinals. We do see a House Finch every once in awhile visit our feeder so we will have to keep a close eye to see if they come around. We haven't seen them a long time.


Sherry said...

I didn't know you and Sophie had such great drawing skills! Beautiful birds. :)

Karen said...

That is one thing I love about living in NC. We watch cardinals out our glass door as we eat our meals.

Field Trip?

Bibliophile said...

Birds are an interesting subject. We get lots of birds here, but I don't know what they are. You will have to tell me what kinds we have when you visit us.

Angela said...

I love birds and can't wait for them to sneak over our direction- We have a ton of blue jays and woodpeckers in our yard- so that has been nice. We occasionally get to see a cardinal.

Alison said...

What fun! Be sure to watch and listen for the parrots in the neighborhood. They are bright green and I see and hear them in the tall palm trees and on the power lines. Their cry is less than melodic, but very distinctive.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Very smart, reading a fun fiction book to get the kids excited first.

I didn't know that Audobon was a person. Now I'm curious.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

What a totally thorough bird study you have going on at your house! I love that you picked a bird that you might see and then went with the interests of the children as the day unfolded.

I really am glad that you are participating in the bird challenges so other families can see how to adapt and mold their own study to fit their area. We have an occasional robin but lots and lots of house finches so we were lucky this week. :)

Thanks for sharing your link,
Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Mrs. Apple said...

Sarah, you guys do so much - I love it! Great job on the drawing, Sophie! That's way better than I can do :)