One of the best things we did in our homeschool last year was to particpate in Project Feederwatch. Between Nov and April people from all over North America count birds at their feeders and report the data which is used by scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to study winter behaviors of common feeder birds. We signed up again this year and it started this week. My boys were so excited yesterday that it was bird counting time again and our school day today was frequently (and happily) interrupted with cries of “A Bird!”. Everyone would rush to the kitchen window to identify it, something we are much better at this year than last.
It’s not too late to sign up if you are interested. There is a nominal fee but it’s well worth it even just for the support materials you receive. You can choose to count birds every week of the season or only one week. You can also choose which days to count (you can count a maximum of two days in any 7 day period).
To go with the bird-watching we had some bird books (of course). First is this gorgeous new book by Tim Jessell. As a boy imagines what it would be like to be a falcon we see the world from the perspective of the falcon as it flies over the countryside. The paintings are visually stunning and it’s a neat idea to look at the world from a literal bird’s eye view.
Lita Judge looks at all the different ways that birds communicate in this new book. Yes, the singing and chirping and bird calls. But also the dancing (the blue footed booby). And the communication between mother bird and chick before the egg even hatches. David is a bird lover and he really liked this one. There is enough information to satisfy the kid who love birds and wants to know a lot but it’s presented in a very accessible format. The illustrations alone kept my three year old’s attention.