Monday, October 17, 2016

10.17.16  Birdwatching - Wixon Innovation Middle School
Dennis, MA

THIS WEATHER!!!  October sure can be quite the gorgeous month here on the Cape and today was simply PERFECT!  I was so thrilled to get this young flock out on the school grounds to see and hear whatever we could today.  The enthusiasm seemed contagious, particularly, when one student first heard the bird...and then another student spotted the bird... and yet another student correctly identified the bird!  It was the state bird of Massachusetts, the Black-capped Chickadee! We "chased" one who was darting here and there among the tree tops that bordered the playground.  The playground was noisy with happy climbing and playing children - these birds have adapted well to the proximity of humans, proof of their hearty survival adaptations and familiarity to most people.  They are bold little birds the chickadees!

The next bird we heard and spotted was a White-breasted Nuthatch, doing his/her upside down balancing act and scaling the tree looking for food, peeping that laughing sound that makes the nuthatch endearing to many.  The kids noticed how s/he went upside down and all around the branch... it was a great moment.  As we edged out of the trees we noticed many things, woodpecker evidence in tree trunks, spider webs, pine cones & pine cone cobs, earwigs on the ground and tucked into pine cones! (so gross and interesting all at once!)  We observed the ground cover and discussed how it's all working with this habitat that these birds seem to be thriving in.

We were able to fit in a quick round or two of the habitat game as we discussed the four aspects that make a particular section of an ecosystem a viable habitat: Food - Water - Shelter - Space.
We ran out of time before I could ask for ideas and thoughts on the habitat we were surrounded by... but we have time.  We even caught a glimpse of a Blue Jay flying off in the distance.  It turned out to be an ideal way to end a school day Monday. (double click photos to enlarge)

Our List:
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Downy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
Hairy Woodpecker
One of the Black-capped Chickadees we
were chasing from the ground

Pine needles, leaves, tiny branches
all vital pieces within this habitat

White-breasted Nuthatch

Woodpecker evidence!

Those Black-capped Chickadees just 
WOULDN'T stay still!

Black-capped Chickadee

Pitch Pine pine cone

Camouflage lesson... where is the Black-capped Chickadee...?

THERE s/he is!

Why did this piece of tree bark fall off?

The left behind dead branch

Pitch Pine cone cob - looks like a mini pineapple

Crowd pleaser...the Roly Poly bug

Happy Birding young Bird Nerds!

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