OHC Winter Bird Study – Looking at your resident winter birds.

Winter bird watching can be rewarding! Even when the landscape is covered in snow or ice or mud, there are always birds that will come to visit if you create a little bird friendly habitat with some seeds, suet, and fresh water. You can observe birds right from your window if the weather isn’t friendly. Or, if you have the right conditions, take a bird walk in a near-by wood. Winter is an amazing time to stroll your neighborhood looking for resident or visiting birds.

In addition to just enjoying your local birds, this week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge helps you to learn a little bit about bird migration using the information in the Handbook of Nature Study and couple of online resources. Click over to the original challenge and see how easy this nature study can be for your family.

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I’m enjoying Project Feederwatch which helps keep me motivated to look for birds at my own feeder. Use this challenge as a way to motivate your family to look for birds during the winter months.

 

Looking at your winter resident birds nature study

Winter Bird Nature Study Handbook of Nature Study pages 35-37

Make sure to note the links and additional resources suggested for your tree study.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Bird Nature Study Index of Challenges @handbookofnaturestudy

Check the Handbook of Nature Study index for the bird you observe this week or use the bird tab at the top of my website to see if there is an archived Outdoor Hour Challenge for you to use in your study.

Make sure to click the link below to read the entire Outdoor Hour Challenge with helpful links, nature study ideas, and suggested follow-up activities.

Winter Bird Nature Study Handbook of Nature Study pages 35-37

Cornell Bird Coloring Book Dove

Additional Ideas for Bird Study

Download and save the Cornell Feeder Bird coloring book. This book has many of the most common birds you will see in your backyard and it makes a perfect complement to your family’s bird nature study.

Earlier this year I wrote about the book Birds, Nests, and Eggs as part of the Nature Book Club. You may wish to click over and read that entry and use the printables available in that entry for additional study.

 

Winter Nature Study ebooks graphic and promo

Please note this challenge is found in the Winter Series ebook found in the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership. Log into your membership and scroll down to the ebook download link. Included in the ebook, there is a custom notebook page for this challenge.

Learning About Birds 3D cover

You can find even more bird nature study ideas in the Learning About Birds ebook from the Outdoor Hour Challenge. This ebook is available to both Ultimate and Journey level members here on the Handbook of Nature Study.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

 

Winter Tree Study – Our Ponderosa Pines!

“Of all pines, this one gives forth the finest music to the winds.” John Muir

Ponderosa Pine Winter Tree Study

Our local forest is populated with predominately two different pines: the lodge pole and the ponderosa. Of the two, the ponderosa is my favorite! When the forest is cleared, either by man or fire, the ponderosa pines are so beautifully placed just like in a park. They give each other enough room to grow and flourish. Their colorful bark is highlighted especially with snow on the ground. We decided it was about time we took a closer look at this special tree.

Ponderosa Pine in the snow

In the winter season, with a proper frosting of snow, the ponderosa pine is like the quintessential pine of your imagination. It grows with a beautifully colored straight trunk with limbs reaching out at just the right intervals. Plus the needles are long and bundled and the cones are just the right size for holding in the palm of your hand.

ponderosa pine cones at tahoe

Image from my archives – Fun day at Tahoe

I remember learning that little trick to identifying the cones….palm size = ponderosa.

So, using our field guide, we set out to learn some new facts about the ponderosa pine. What an incredibly important tree here in Oregon! Not just for lumber but also as a part of the habitat for many birds and animals.

La Pine State Park big tree

Big Ponderosa Pine at La Pine State Park, Oregon

We just happen to have the largest ponderosa pine in Oregon not far from our house and it’s a pleasant stroll out into the forest to see it.

Ponderosa Pines in the snow

I love the habitat of the ponderosa pine and the creatures that live there. Some of my favorite family times hiking have been under these amazing trees not just here in Oregon but in California, Utah, and Nevada.

Ponderosa Pine nature journal

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You can read our ponderosa pine cone study here: Ponderosa Pine Cone. You can download the printable notebook page here: Winter Cone Study.

If you would like to complete your own winter tree study this year, you can click the button below for suggestions using the Handbook of Nature Study.

“At least one pine tree should be studied in the field. Any species will do, but the white pine is the most interesting.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 674

 

Do you have a pine to study this season?

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Here are two books I own and love. Please note they are Amazon.com affiliate links.

OHC Winter Tree Study Using the Handbook of Nature Study

This week, read in the Handbook of Nature Study about winter tree nature study and then use the suggestions in the lesson as you take a few minutes outside with your children. You might want to consider looking at an evergreen tree this season since the Outdoor Hour Challenge this past autumn was to look at a deciduous tree. Make some comparisons!

tree cones snow winter

Simple Suggestions for Winter Tree Study

1. Pick a tree in your yard or on your street and view its branch patterns and silhouette.
2. Find a tree that has lost its leaves and sketch its shape in your nature journal. This activity can be done from a window if your weather is too cold or snowy.
3. Collect some seeds from trees that may still be left over from last season. Look for sweet gum, locust, yellow poplar, ash, mimosa, or sycamore. If you’re studying an evergreen tree, look for cones! See this OHC for more ideas to use with cones: Winter Tree Cone.
4. Collect twigs from different trees and compare them.

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Read the original challenge here: Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Tree Study.

Make sure to note the links and additional resources suggested for your tree study.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Tree Nature Study Index @handbookofnaturestudy

Check the Handbook of Nature Study index for the tree you observe this week or use the tree tab at the top of my website to see if there is an archived Outdoor Hour Challenge for you to use in your study.

Winter Nature Study ebook @handbookofnaturestudy

Please note this challenge is found in the Winter Series ebook found in the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership. Log into your membership and scroll down to the ebook download link. Included in the ebook, there is a custom notebook page for this challenge.

OHC Plan 18 to 19 Join Us

 

You can find the complete plan for this school year in all levels of membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study. Also, if you have an Ultimate or Journey level membership, there’s a file in your library that has all of this year’s notebook pages in one file.

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