We have had a great week talking about birds. The weather has been beautiful, if a little chilly still in the mornings, and the birds have been very active and have been singing their hearts out. We looked at some bird images flying by at bird speeds (held by a teacher running by) and practiced seeing what identifying factors we could notice, like color, size, speed, beak shape. We read a beautiful book called Nest, about a pair of robins and their nesting process, and we played a fun nesting game where the kids as birds gathered resources and worked together to chase away nest predators. Yesterday we read Baby Wren and the Great Gift, a sweet, whimsical book about the origin of bird song, and we practiced listening and copying some bird songs. Then Shanley Narens, Luna's mom, came to play viola for us at lunchtime. That was a fun time! We heard some classical music and some old favorites and had a jam session.
Today all planned lessons were scrapped when the kids found 7 owl pellets and heard the pair of barred owls call to each other in our play area during lesson time!!!! The owls were executing their very distinctive call "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?", and the kids could hear the different intonations of the two different individual owls as they called the same call to each other from different locations. Their pellets were full of interesting, tiny bones. Some were mostly mammal and fur, and another had larger bones and some feathers and was a different consistency, rather clearly indicating some variety in their diet. It appears that they are nesting in our play area, and the fact that they are more active in the daytime than many owls means that we will likely keep seeing and hearing them.
Thanks so much to everyone who came for conferences last week, and a special thanks to Amy, Melissa, Stephanie, Renee and Austin who helped watch kids and provide care so that everyone could focus on talking with all of the teachers about their child at school and have a chance to ask questions. It was wonderful to meet with all of you who could come, and for those who couldn't we hope that the evals were interesting and informative.
We have begun this month of birds! I am particularly excited, because I love birds. It's going to be a lot of fun. We have already talked about feathers, nests and spring migration. We've read Dinosaur Feathers, and How Do Birds Find Their Way? Today Arielle read Feathers for Lunch, and the children practiced stalking birds like cats (because who better to learn birdwatching skills from than a cat?). Tomorrow they will be practicing using "beaks" during cooking day (various sizes of chopsticks and tongs for picking things up.)
It's been bird crazy in the park! Every day at snack in the forest we do a forest check in, where we sit in silence for 30-60 seconds and see what we can observe with all our sense about the forest today. The bird noise is entirely captivating at this time of year. Flickers are calling and drumming. On Monday the class heard and saw a barred owl! It appears that in addition to the great horned owls that nest in the park, there is a pair of barred owls that is at least considering a nesting site right in our play area. Wednesday we saw and heard a Hutton's vireo checking us out. And many more exciting feathered creatures surround us all the time, it's a fun time of year.
We have some upcoming events that I wanted to share with you. During this month of birds, we will also be talking more about sound and music. Next week on Wednesday the 11th at 12:30, Luna's mom, Shanley will be coming to school to play violin for the kids. All families are welcome at 12:30, even if your child is not usually at school that day. It was a beautiful mini-concert last year, and I encourage you to come if you can.