Schooling for the birds

One of the nice things about homeschooling is that you get to do all kinds of cool projects or illustrations with your kids.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We study science in the evenings and lately we’ve been reading about birds. Now, generally birds are, well – they’re boring. No offense to all you feathered fowl out there, but you don’t really lead lives of mystery and intrigue.  At least, that’s what I used to think until I actually started reading about them with the munchkins.  But we’ve learned so many different things about birds, many of which are actually quite interesting.

For instance, Black Herons makes an umbrella shape with its wings, shading the water it wades in to help it look for fish.  (This is the bird of the “Nighttime, daytime!” infamy.  If you don’t know what I mean, check out this video. It’s hilarious.)  Flamingos aren’t born pink, but get this color from a natural chemical in its food.  In general, most female birds are a drab color to help camouflage it and protect it and her young from hunters.  A female Cuckoo will lay an egg in a Reed Warbler’s nest after dropping one of the Warbler’s eggs out.  When the Cuckoo chick hatches before the other eggs, it will shove the Warbler’s eggs out of the nest, even while still blind and naked.  The Reed Warbler feeds and takes care of the Cuckoo chick, thinking that the chick is its own, even when the chick outgrows the adult Warbler.  An owl can turn its head in almost any direction, even upside down!  And then of course there’s the many various and beautiful kinds of Birds of Paradise (like the neon smiley face one).

We’ve had a lot of fun illustrating various things about birds.  The kids curled up in a ball on the floor, pretended to “hatch” and then follow the first moving thing that they saw to learn about how goslings “imprint.”  We tried eating “fish” (a.k.a. marsh mellows) upside down like a flamingo.  We tried tossing up our fish and catching it in our mouths like a Snake Bird.  We tried flapping our wings in a figure eight movement like a hummingbird.  And we saw how much water a Pelican can hold in its pouch.  The videos below lets you join our class for this special project.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


One Response

  1. Thanks for being such a great science teacher for our kiddos!

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