Bird Babies Are Back!
I saw my first ducklings of the year swimming in a little pond near my home. For weeks I’ve had my eye on the nest box that stands at the edge of the pond. Then this morning seven wood duck babies greeted the world on a perfect spring day!
The ducklings, covered in fluffy down, had just hatched the day before. Using their tiny webbed feet they had climbed out of the duck nest box and jumped 12 feet into the water. Just one day old and so independent!
Not all birds are as fully developed as ducks upon hatching. Songbirds for example, including robins, wrens, and finches, are born with closed eyes and without feathers. They’re kept warm and fed by their parents for several weeks before they’re ready to leave the nest. Unfortunately, some baby birds can fall out of the nest before they’re ready to be on their own.
What do you do if you find a baby bird? Maybe you’ve heard the warning, “Don’t touch a baby bird. The mother will smell you and quit feeding the baby.”
There are many reasons why it’s not a good idea to touch a bird, but this is not one of them. Most birds have a very poor sense of smell and a very strong instinct to take care of their young. A mother bird will not abandon her baby if you touch it. But your scent will rub off on the baby, which could attract predators.
However, don’t touch a baby bird unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you find a baby bird that’s fallen out of its nest, follow these Baby Bird Tips.
Inside: Physical Flit-ness
Tell children that although it is the smallest bird found in eastern North America, it flies non-stop for 25 hours as it migrates across the Gulf of Mexico to Mexico and Central America. That’s a long way! The hummingbird has to be in top physical condition to make the trip.
Explain to children that they will “flit” from station to station around the room. At each station they will perform a bird-related physical activity. Demonstrate the activity at each station around the room before beginning.
Station 1—Flap wings like the Ring-billed Gull: children do jumping jacks
Station 2—Peck at food like the Northern Cardinal: children reach up and down touching their toes
Station 3—Lay eggs like the Bald Eagle: children toss ping pong balls into a box or waste basket
Station 4—Hop on the ground like the American Robin: children jump rope
Station 5—Paddle in the water like the Mallard: children run in place while moving arms.
Divide the class into five groups and assign each group a beginning station. Play lively music and have students perform the physical activity until the music stops. When the music stops, shout “FLIT,” and have the children move to a new station. Continue playing until the children return to their beginning station.
Source: The BLUES Go Birding Clubhouse
Outside: Observation Game
Children love to see wild birds! Prepare for a bird watching outing by playing a game that practices careful observation. It’s a quiet game that involves very little talking. The only prep is to choose an area that has a diversity of plants and animals, such as bushes and trees as well as birds, bugs, or butterflies.
It’s important that children can easily hear each other during the game, so arrange your group close to one another. If you have a large group, children may stand in a circle or you may have them sit in two or three lines. Alternately, you can divide them into smaller groups.
Have children sit quietly and look around the area. Ask them to use one of their senses to become aware of something in the area. Explain that each person will take a turn completing the phrase, “I am aware of . . .” Give an example such as, “I am aware of the clouds in the sky,” or “I am aware of the pattern of shadows under the tree,” or, “I am aware of the wind blowing on my face.”
After each sharing, have children silently take a moment to appreciate each other’s awareness. They may need to turn around to see what’s been identified. Remind children that the only person who talks is the one who is sharing an awareness.
Sitting quietly and looking around the environment is good practice for bird watching. The quieter you are, the more you will see. Keep the activity fun by doing it only as long as children are engaged.
Source: The BLUES Go Birding Clubhouse
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