South Dennis, MA
Only two more classes together with this bunch of kiddos, so I thought it was definitely time to bring out one of my favorite lessons: Nest Building. I brought along a few bird nests for them to inspect, ask questions about and get ideas from. Then I set them to work, choosing their own team of nest builders. I allow them to use duct tape to set up the cardboard base for the twig that the nest will be supported by. They then have to choose from the items I've brought along: cut up old socks, yarn, strips of paper, fruit packaging, pipe cleaners, rope... I also let them innovate - which they always do.
One student in particular had a perfect idea of using the mud from the puddle next to the parking lot. I was so proud of her to think of that. American Robins, among several other bird species, utilize mud to stabilize the interior of their nest. There was another external force we were working against, besides time; the WIND! It was a breezy day, which made it PERFECT for nest building. Maybe you'd think otherwise, but it also is a demonstration of just how much of a challenge it is to build the nest in less than friendly conditions. If your nest cannot support itself from elements like wind, your eggs will not be well protected.
When you really take a peek at a nest & its intricacies, I like to believe it brings another level of admiration for the engineering work that the birds instinctively possess. Yes, we have hands and big brains and we do amazing things... but just imagine trying to construct a nest with your feet and your face. Our hands cannot complete these tasks with the precision that the birds can, but it sure is fun to try! Check out their hard work in the photos below. (double click photos to enlarge)
|Inspecting a Black-capped Chickadee nest
|Checking out an American Robin's nest
|Choosing the perfect branch for support
|Building the base
|We took over the side parking lot
|Platform taking shape
|Found feather for show & share (Wild Turkey feather)
|More show & share, a small well-preserved half of an egg shell
that fell from a tree while waiting at the bus stop.