Birdwatching - Our Favorite Nature Study in our Homeschool



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We started birdwatching very early on in our homeschool.  When my daughter was a toddler, she noticed the birds from her bedroom window... local birds that would fly by, or land on a tree, or sometimes on our deck.....


Northern Flicker - A type of Woodpecker

In preschool - we made a peanut butter feeder, just from a large pinecone and peanut butter, and a strong to hang it with.  You could use a toilet paper roll, too.

Then, we put up a feeding station, one for the suet, which the wild birds especially liked, and one for the bird seeds....


Pileated Woodpecker (left) and Downey Woodpecker


We found suet at a frugal price at Lowes.  Then we added something for the hummingbirds.....




One day we were blessed to see a hummingbird on one of our bushes....




In the winter we saw robins....


Canadian Robin

and....

Chickadee (left) and Junco

In Elementary - we were always on the hunt for birds.  We watched for them, looked them up together, and discussed what they liked to eat.  At the library, we found books on bird nests and baby birds.

In first grade, or so, I began to teach my daughter how to identify the birds herself.  Our favorite resource for that was......the Peterson Field Guide for Young Naturalists...



This bird was the first one that my daughter identified herself, a frequent visitor to our yard....


Red Breasted Sapsucker

The next year, we started using Golden's Guide to Field Identification - Birds of North America




One day, at the park, we found a heron....


Great Blue Heron

.....and we learned that he lived there, near the seagulls....





And we tried to stop by our local streams, especially in the fall.... 




.....hoping to see salmon spawning....


                                          ............or a duck or two...................

Moving the Bird Feeder Experiment

One year, we decided to move our bird feeding station from the side yard to the back, where we could see the birds better. This led to a great math and science activity:


Our 3 Steps Experiment


1.  Make a hypothesis - First we estimated how long the birds would take to find the new feeder location

2.  Collect your data - Then we tabulating how many came to the new feeder each day
3.  Do your analysis - Then we analysed our data, to determine if our hypothesis was correct.





It took over a month for all the birds to find the new location!  Our hypothesis was wrong!  But my daughter was learning and using the scientific process, while developing a love for nature. 

Holiday Bird Count


Photo Credit - Holiday Bird Count

In December, each year, we joined the Holiday Bird Count.  This is an organized count of the number of birds found in your backyard, or your designated area.  It is sponsored by the Audubon Society, and provides vital information to help protect birdlife habitat.  

We watched from our feeder and from our neighborhood, keeping stats on what we saw.  As my daughter grew older, she became to scribe, and would submit our data herself.  Pretty soon it was her data.  If you are interested, they also have a Backyard Bird Count, which goes on periodically throughout the year, too.

In fact, right now they are hosting the Great Backyard Bird Count, this week!  Come join the fun....

Photo Credit - Great Backyard Bird Count


This became a tradition in our home, each year.  We saw, identified and counted hundreds of birds, and the heron joined in the fun...and one year...



we spotted this precious eagle.

Birdwatching provided so many learning opportunities, and built a love of nature in my daughter, that has continued through the years.

This is part 1 of my series on birdwatching.  We continued in middle school with more birdwatching activities, including entering a contest at Cornell University.  Come on back to see what happened next!

What are you favorite things to do for nature study?  Please share in the comments.


Gifted Homeschoolers Forum


Happy Birdwatching!

Betsy



Betsy blogs at BJ's Homeschool , where she writes about high school collegeand all the fun of homeschooling the early years, too.  As a former OT, and a veteran homeschooler, Betsy also offers homeschool help to families 


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Copyright @ BJ's Homeschool 2016 All Rights Reserved

6 comments:

  1. This is so cute! I can't wait to do bird-watching and bird activities with my daughter when she is older.

    Thanks for linking up at the #bloggersspotlight

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Hil D, from #bloggersspotlight!

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  2. Love this! We just got home from a camping trip and had so much fun seeing how many types of birds we could spot. We also enjoy the game bird bingo which goes along with our birdwatching activities:)

    ReplyDelete
  3. What fun! I like the idea of bird bingo! Thanks for stopping by,

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  4. What a wonderful website! Just stopping by to let you know you may use our picture and nature study link on your blog. Thank you for sharing and have a wonderful week! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, JES! Your nature study pages are so beautiful, and my post for middle and high school nature study just went live. It is here.....http://betsyhomeschoolconsulting.blogspot.com/2016/02/nature-study-activities-for-teens-and.html Thanks again!

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