Bird Watching

Bird Watching

Our area recently experienced Winter Storm Jonas (does anyone else think boy band when they hear this?) and by far my favorite part was the bird watching we were able to do.

From the comfort of our warm home we threw seed onto the deck and sat back and observed.

 

They were soon  joined by the juncos, our most frequent visitor to the deck.

windy!

It was so much fun to watch the juncos. They were brave compared to the other birds, who would usually flee the moment they saw the shadow of us move in the window. They also did this cute jumping back and forth thing to dig into the snow:

A house finch or two came for a visit. (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong – I still can’t immediately tell the difference between a house finch and a purple finch, especially through a finger smudged window in a snowstorm, LOL)

I’m just here for the feast

 

Our favorites are always the cardinals, especially against the white snow.  It was much harder to catch them though, because they were more skittish than the smaller birds and would fly away at the slightest sound or movement.

My daughter caught this one after we put some suet out. I think they are common grackles.  They disappeared the moment I walked in and much preferred the safety of the local trees. They are scaredy cats (birds?) for such big birds.

 

I was surprised at how few birds wanted the suet.  I was hoping to see something new and interesting, but no one wanted any part of it.

We found some cute tracks before I had to go shovel and ruin it all.

 

My daughter spent hours watching the birds come and go throughout the two day blizzard, and enjoyed naming and describing her favorites. Her enthusiasm rubbed off on her younger brother, who took out all our Audubon birds {affiliate} and was right there with her watching and discussing them.

There were no workbooks, texts, print outs, or made up lessons to go along with this, so sometimes it feels like cheating if I call it “science” for our homeschooling.

But today it really hit me – this IS science. I’m not somehow “cheating” because I’m calling it that. I tend to forget that “school, ” with worksheets, 30 kids, and a teacher is an artificial construct designed to serve its own purposes, not really the best way to learn or be taught. It shouldn’t be the *first* thing I think of when I want to check off a box of “did science today” for our homeschooling records.

My children watched for hours and can now tell you how the birds behaved and what they liked to eat. They are starting to remember their names, and how they interact with each other and us pesky humans with the camera.

Filling out some random worksheet I found on the internet, or heaven forbid “testing them” would dampen their enthusiasm and in my mind cheapen what they already learned – they learned by a relationship between the real thing they are studying and themselves.

It is not a lesson they will soon forget.

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