When I lead bird walks, rain cancels any scheduled walks. This morning was cold, rainy & dark, so I had been prepared with an indoor activity for the Wixon Bird Nerds. I understand that 9, 10 & 11 year olds would much rather RUN around than walk around, particularly during the last class of the school week. I get it. Who isn't ready to let loose by 2pm on a Friday anyway? They love Toxic Tag and of course we'll play that again. Today I had a lesson plan based on bird nests. In the spring, I attended a fantastic bird workshop at Clark University in Worcester through MITS (Museum Institute for Teaching Science). One of the many fun & interesting activities I participated in was nest building. Birds are engineers, and when I present my Birdwatching For Beginners class, I pass around some bird nests that people have donated to the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History to illustrate that concept. Imagine a bird's nest you've seen on a tree branch or one on the ground. Now imagine constructing that nest with your feet and your face. That's what they do. Some nests are SO elaborate with the materials they incorporate! Tennis rackets have been featured in the Osprey nest behind CCMNH, as well as Barbie dolls! Our avian friends are resourceful and they will use trash & other discarded materials un-natural materials along with natural materials if they feel it will support their precious egg(s). It's all about making more...birds that is. Nests are REMARKABLE.
Nest building was our objective today, as you might imagine... I brought along a fan to test the final constructions in "wind", thinking we'd be indoors. Turns out I didn't even need the fan because I decided to take this activity outdoors. The natural breeze did the trick on testing the sturdiness of their creations and THEY WERE INTO IT! Please view the photos below so you can see their hard work! These students were amazing today with their willingness to cooperate with one another, not only as separate pairs, but also as a group...of bird nerds. They were so focused and thoughtful (and quiet!!!) and we talked about what kinds of materials the birds might use, and which bird might use what. I brought along yarn, pieces plastic bags, cut up old socks, shredded news paper, & cardboard rectangles and cardboard tubes for duct-taping together for the bases to hold the true branches. I collected "eggs" (rocks) from around the edges of the school yard to be placed in the nests when they were completed. Some of the eggs were even decorated! One nest even got a fun tire swing installed on a nearby branch! All thoroughly enjoyed this activity! Some students were missing enrichment today because they had been at the fifth grade seashore trip (NEED Academy) this past week, an INCREDIBLE opportunity for 5th graders in the D-Y district! I asked if those present if they'd enjoy revisiting this project another time, perhaps on another rainy day so that every Bird Nerd in this enrichment class can have an opportunity to test their engineering skills by nest building like the birds. They agreed. These students are an inspiration! (double click photos to enlarge)
Getting to work, making the bases and gathering materials
Imagine the focus on a Friday afternoon...
their dedication was impressive!
Dedication and determination
The nests needed to support 3 "eggs" each
Proud nest builders!
This nest's nearby branches got a tire swing installed!
Working together is rewarding!
Another proud pair!
Bird Nerds with their accomplished nests
Happy Birding Young Bird Nerds!!!