Tuesday, November 10, 2015

B is for Birds

When I was a little girl, back when we lived in North Carolina, my mother introduced us to bird watching. I remember walks through the words on bird sighting excursions. It developed an appreciation of birds deep in my heart, which grew to be the genuine love of birds and bird watching I have now.

It has become important to share that love enjoyment with my children, which I hope blossoms into a deep-seated passion as great as my own. If you've read my blog for awhile or are friends with me on Facebook, you'll know that I share occasional photos of my bird sightings. I'll admit, though, photographing flowers is a whole lot easier!! Flowers don't fly away! <grin>

My 9th grade science fair project was about conservation. I researched and shared about three animals: the Passenger Pigeon, which has been extinct for decades now; the American Bison; and the Whooping Crane, which nearly became extinct. Ever since, I have had a passion for the Whooping Crane. Imagine my excitement when, years later after my kids and I had moved to Florida, I learned about Operation Migration, and their work to bring back the Whooping Cranes to some of their native nesting areas in Florida...with a flyover at the Dunnellon airport, within miles of where my parents lived!
The work that the OM team does is amazing, awe-inspiring, and so very important. The trike pilots as well as the ground crew are all so dedicated to these birds. They begin training while the birds are still in the egg! They are introduced to the sound of the trike motor. Later, after they are hatched, they are transferred from Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland, to the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin. Read more about the work of Operation Migration here. While you're at the website, be sure to sign up for their Field Journal.

Be sure to notice that these birds never see humans out of costume, and are always protected from contact with humans in "human form." The humans who spend any time around them, don't even talk while caring for them.

This fall, I began a focused bird study with Little Bit. We are using The Burgess Bird Book for Children, along with a study guide, Learning About Birds With Thorton Burgess, which I purchased through Simply Charlotte Mason. (The Burgess Bird Book can be purchased through Yesterday's Classics, and on Amazon. You can also download a free Kindle version through Amazon.) You can also purchase an ePub version, as well as a free ePub version. 

For this study, you will also need a copy of Blacky the Crow, and Fifty Favorite Birds coloring book. I'm also using Audubon's Birds coloring book

More resources we will use for more bird studies will be some note packs from In the Hands of a Child: Eagles, Owls, and Penguins. From Homeschool Bits (via CurrClick): Owls, Hummingbirds, Whooping Cranes, maybe Eagles, Turkeys, and Robins. A couple years ago, we enjoyed learning about Cardinals when we "Rowed" the book, Albert. Ever since, I've taken great pleasure in watching these brilliant birds visit our feeders.

If you wish to observe birds, be sure to put out bird feeders for them. Make sure it's squirrel proof! The little buggers have destroyed a couple of our feeders. The birds also like a water source, such as a bird bath. I'm always working to improve our backyard habitat in hopes of attracting birds.

When we moved here to Mississippi, imagine my delight when I learned, that first fall, that we were on the Ruby-throated Hummingbird migration route! We were swarmed with the precious little feathered creatures. Ever since then, I anticipate the end of August and September, sometimes well in to October, almost to November. It certainly takes a lot of sugar to feed the "hungry little beasts!" My camera is also kept busy, and my blog and Facebook are inundated with photos. I hope to attend a hummingbird festival sometime, so I can watch someone band a hummer.

About the time hummingbird migration is ending, OM is beginning the trike-led Whooping Crane migration. This, I have to watch online. This year, Little Bit is more interested in watching along with me than he's been in the past. The rest of the kids never have wakened early enough to watch with me. Maybe in a few years, when Little Bit reaches high school age, he and I will see if we can spend a season volunteering with OM. It would be a dream come true for me! *Remember to read the petition, and sign it if you're inclined.*
I hope you'll take the opportunity to learn more about yourself, and introduce them to your children as well. 

By the way, my Seventh-day Adventist friends, yes, we are working on earning our Birds and Birds Advanced honors as well.

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  1. Great pictures of the Operation Migration. I need to find out what kinds of birds we can expect to see in our new location and put out a bird feeder.

    1. You know, Cristi, we pretty much just put out sunflower seeds here. I have gotten some corn for the squirrels, and I've seen crows, blue jays, and even cardinals eating the corn. I know finches like thistle seeds. Anyway, we tend to just keep it simple. :)

  2. My kids enjoying watching birds. I really need to get some field guides and get into it with them!

    1. Megan, a really great resource for bird identification (and I'm surprised at myself for not mentioning it in my post! LOL) is the Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/

      I'll go add that, and links to field guide apps, to my post. :)

  3. We have a great love of birds in our family!

  4. visiting through blogging through alphabet. We do bird feeders here, though... after not feeding them for a month they haven't rediscovered the feeders are full yet....


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