BirdSleuth Action Map

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Story Submission

Submitted By

Christopher Weber

Hyde Park, Chicago, IL, United States

Description

An overview of bird-focused improvements on the two-acre campus of a Montessori school on Chicago’s South Side.

Category

Habitat Helpers

Campus makeover under way

Our BirdSleuth Habitat Heroes grant has catalyzed an array of bird-habitat improvements across our two-acre campus. These are part of a larger effort to draw wildlife, specifically birds, and foster environmental stewardship among students and families. It's an exciting adventure for the whole community, and we still have a long way to go.

To date, we have completed these tasks:

We installed bird-friendly plantings in school garden, including American holly, serviceberry, red-osier dogwood, gooseberry, weigela, scarlet runner beans, sunflowers, coneflowers, and prairie natives like mountain mint.

We installed feeders and houses around campus, including four provided by Cornell Lab, a window feeder purchased with grant funds, three student-made birdhouses, and four student-made hummingbird feeders. The feeders currently draw mostly house sparrows, but have attracted cardinals, goldfinches, and black-capped chickadees. We continue to fine-tune our squirrel proofing.

Students built brush teepees adjoining feeders to provide cover for small birds from raptors.

A birdbath purchased was purchased with grant funds and monitored and tended by students.

Birding activities (including habitat improvements and bird walks) were incorporated in our two-week summer ecology camp.

In winter 2017, we held a 2-hour "Feed the Birds" activity for a 14 primary students that included a bird walk and the making of pinecone feeders.

In the near future, our goals include:

We will purchases and plant red flowers (such as bee balm, cardinal flower, and trumpet vine) to support the local hummingbird population.

We will plant native thistles to draw goldfinches to campus.

Students will plant more native trees on campus.

Students will build and hang a mourning dove nesting platform following instructions on the Cornell Lab website.

First- and second-grade students will study birds as one of their feature subject for the 2017-18 school year.

Tweeting our progress

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