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Story Submission

Submitted By

Anne Lowry

Reno, NV, United States


A quick sampling of activities in a 4 – 5 year old class once they spot birds beginning the nesting process!


Habitat Helpers

Award Winning Entry: Pennington Habitat Hero

Bird activities w/e Feb 21, 2014

Bird Activities w/e Feb. 21, 2014
Penguin Classroom Reno NV

Bird Identification:
The children identified birds commonly seen on / near the playground:

Canada goose
Mallard duck
Red tailed hawk
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Scrub Jay
Mountain Chickadee
Mountain Bluebird

We're keeping a checklist each day of which birds we seen or hear, and hope to add new birds as the weather changes!

Nesting Help:
After watching two scrub jays gathering twigs and flying up into a pine tree, we decided to investigate nests.

Using books, they looked at pictures of nests (with adult help to match) and came up with a list of materials commonly seen in nests. They gathered those or similar materials from home, classroom, and playground. A long discussion was held as to where to place the materials. The children pretended they were specific kinds of birds and then used their bird observations, decided the best location for each type of material. (We did have to change one location - none of us could reach that high in the tree! We compromised on the tops of some bushes (~ 4 feet high). )

Over the next several days, the children kept track of what materials disappeared, and from where. They compared that with the weather, and decided that without any wind to move the materials, birds probably took the materials. The materials that disappeared the fastest were the string/yarn and hair. The paper strips disappeared, but more from the tops of the bushes than others. The cotton disappeared fastest from the ground.

In the classroom, the children used many of the same materials with a pretend mud of flour/water to make their own nests. Later, they added paper eggs and paper birds and acted out bird life in the classroom. We have lots of "baby birds" just hatching and learning to fly!

We put up one commercially bought nesting box on the playground, and put together another from a kit and hung it in a different part of the playground. The children talked about which direction the bird houses should face. The first consideration was the wind. Our playground gets most of the strong winds from the south and the west. The children didn't think having a bird house face those directions would be comfortable. Then they read that many birds like to have the birdhouse face east, so we remembered which direction the sun rises and checked it with a compass before hanging the birdhouses.

Due to wildlife seen in our area regularly, we do not maintain a feeder on the playground. We will occasionally spread food out or hang homemade birdseed balls.

However, we did plant a perennial herb garden last year that is popular with the birds. This year we have constructed two additional garden beds and are starting vegetables, herbs, and flowers inside for transplanting later.

When we have passed the date of the last frost, we will put out a bird bath in our herb garden.

: Putting out nesting materials

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