Counting Birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count

 

http://gbbc.birdcount.org/

 

We have been counting birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count. It started on Friday and will continue through today. We have had all the usual customers at the feeders and a few surprises too!

The white-crowned sparrow usually feeds in our front yard in the forsythia bush which has a blackberry vine tangled in it with some of last summers berries all dried up and ready for eating.


The dark-eyed juncos are a frequent visitor to our feeders and they enjoy both the platform feeder and eating from the ground beneath it.

The hanging feeders were filled with sparrows, finches, and the occasional nuthatch.

Here is our official bird count for Friday:

  • 5 Western scrub jays
  • 2 titmouses
  • 1 red-breasted nuthatch
  • 1 spotted towhee
  • 2 California towhees
  • 6 white-crowned sparrows
  • 12 dark-eyed juncos
  • 1 house finch….probably more we just didn’t catch them when we were counting
  • 7 house sparrows


Those were in the feeders but we also saw in our yard:
1 American crow
2 American robins

In our travels yesterday, we saw:
3 turkey vultures
40+ Canadian geese
6 wild turkeys

This is a great family project that we have participated in for the past three years. If you miss it this year, mark your calendars for next February so you won’t forget!

Outdoor Hour Challenge #1: Nature Walk Notes

Outdoor Hour Challenge 1

We successfully completed Outdoor Hour Challenge #1 yesterday. We decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and go for a nature hike. I had seen a sign a couple miles from our house that looked like it was the beginning of a trailhead. How could I have never put the effort into stopping and finding out before? It seems strange that such a gorgeous trail could be that close to my house and we had never walked it before. The Green Hour Challenge put it into my head to go ahead and give it a try. Here are a few photos of things we saw.

lavender flower
Delicate lavender flowers among miner’s lettuce.
Fern 1
Ferns lined the trail on the way down the canyon.


unusual bloom 1
I have no idea what this bloom is but it was so unusual that I decided to try to identify it when we got home. Did you see the insect on it?
After we hiked this trail a bit we made our way back to the car and went down to the river to explore.


rocks 2
So here are some rocks along the river’s edge. We decided that this week we are going to try to identify the pink and the green rocks in this photo. I have an idea of what they are but we are going to do some research and find out for sure.


green rock 1
Here is another shot of the green rock.


American River 1
Here is a photo of the American River where we spent some time on our Green Hour Challenge. Can you believe this river flows about 4 miles away from our front door?


throwing rocks
Who can go to the river without throwing a few rocks in?


river 2
It was getting late but we were enjoying ourselves so much that we lost track of time. The dog in this photo just appeared at the river’s edge and convinced the boys to throw some sticks into the water so he could jump in and fetch them. My boys loved this added feature of our nature walk. :)

So that ends our first Outdoor Hour Challenge. I got my reading done (I’ve read it before but I took the time to reread it.) We spent our time walking outdoors together. We found two things to investigate further. We had a wonderful time.

Success.

http://handbookofnaturestudy.com/2009/02/announcing-outdoor-hour-challenge-ebook.html

Outdoor Hour Challenge #1: Let’s Get Started

http://handbookofnaturestudy.com/2009/02/announcing-outdoor-hour-challenge-ebook.html

Outdoor Hour Challenge #1
Let’s Get Started!

1. Read pages 1-8 of the Handbook of Nature Study.
Sections to read:
“What Nature Study Is”
through “Nature Study in the Schoolroom“.

Highlight or underline anything that you as the nature study teacher find will help you in your guiding your children. If you read a sentence that you agree with, mark it so you will remember to come back to it when you need some encouragement.

2. “In nature-study the work begins with any plant or creature which chances to interest the pupil.” So here is your challenge this week. Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors with your children, even if it is really cold and yucky. Bundle up if you need to. Take a walk around your yard or down your own street. Enjoy being outdoors. After you come inside, sit the children down and ask them one at a time to tell you something that they saw on their walk. Ask them what was interesting to them. Maybe they picked up a leaf or a stick and brought it back indoors and now they can really take a look at it. Make a big deal about whatever it is that they talk about.

3. After your discussion, come up with two things to investigate further. For instance, if they saw a bird on their walk and they came inside and talked about it, ask them if they want to know more about that bird. You have a whole week to spend some time looking it up. Maybe they found an acorn or a berry on a bush that they were interested in. That could be your focus for the week.

4. After your nature study time with the children, pull out your Handbook of Nature Study and see if the item the children are interested in is listed in the index. If it is, look up the information for yourself and then relate interesting facts to the children sometime during the next week.
Charlotte Mason knew what she was talking about when it came to nature study. Somehow in our modern life we have forgotten the simple pleasures of outdoor time. For this challenge, just go for a walk. Don’t worry about taking any tools or supplies with you. Enjoy the outdoors and your children and then spend some time talking about your experiences together.


This challenge is part of the Getting Started ebook that is available with every level of membership. In the ebook you will find the same instructions but custom notebook pages to use in your nature journal.