Monday, March 16, 2015

3.16.15 - For The Birds - Enrichment Class
Wixon Innovation Middle School - Dennis, MA

It's still SO COLD here on the Cape and we bundled up again and headed out into the sunshine... still no birds to speak of, or listen to.  Part of the issue is the time of day.  The birds know that there is a lot of noise and activity near the end of the school day.  The buses show up, cars pull in for parent pick-up, and the anticipation of the end of the school day, even though it's a Monday, is evident.  No doubt the wildlife in the area basically steers clear of the schoolyard during this time, particularly on cold days.  I am confident, as the Northeast starts to warm, we will be able to observe more avian activity.  As if growing up on Cape Cod wasn't enough, one of the incredible benefits to being a 5th grader in this school district is getting to travel to the NEED Academy in Truro with your classmates and stay over 4 nights in Truro!   What an experience and a right of passage for these kids.  They retain so much from their stay there, and that experience encourages a deeper understanding and appreciation of this naturally spectacular area we call home.   We discussed the school yard habitat we were visiting and compared much of the information they've learned while at NEED.  So - what do we do when there are no birds about?  We searched for and discussed evidence of birds and/or spaces they may use for shelter, what they may use for food, and what they could possibly use for nesting.  See the photos below to see some of our discoveries. (double click photos to enlarge - enjoy the spontaneous photo bombs!)

Old Man's Beard Lichen

Oak Apple Gall remnants

Acorns - important to Blue Jays, Wild Turkeys & of course, squirrels

Heart-shaped ice

Hugging and respecting the trees for their importance

Spotted a nest cavity

Who might live in there?

Trees are WONDERFUL!

One student compared the tip of this branch to a bird's foot - so true!

One in tact pine cone & one picked apart for seeds as food

'Til next time... Happy Birding!

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