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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The birds and the bees

We've been studying birds this year in science. Our main text is Apologia's Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day, which I highly recommend. I am generally very anti-textbook, but I make an exception here. This book is incredibly well-done, and rather than skimming many topics, it delves deeply into just a few topics (birds, bats, flying dinosaurs, and flying insects). We have been learning everything we can about birds since September. Before we started this, I thought birds were just okay, but now I think they are truly fascinating and beautiful. Yet another benefit of homeschooling--Teacher is learning as well!

Some of the topics we've studied include flight (drag, lift, air pressure), types of feathers, bones, nests, identifying markers, and more. Today we read about types of flight: flapping, gliding, soaring, and briefly discussed seabirds and their special wings. We set off to the local Audubon Society at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve to see if we could catch some birds in action. And while we only saw a little flapping and gliding (and no soaring), the kids did get to see some action!

It's nesting season for the Canada geese. We saw 5 nests already being tended and while we were watching the geese (far, far away from the nests so no one was hissed at), two geese started to mimic one another. Whatever the first one did, the second followed suit. Lo and behold, birds have been known to court in this manner. The birds mated, and perhaps there will be another nest soon!

This is the mating dance. They were taking turns poking their heads under the water.

The kids identified a number of birds today using the field guide. We had a lesson a few months back about using the parts of the bird and their varying colors to identify species. It turns out they really understood it and can now use that information! I was so proud of them.

We went on a short hike through the woods where we could hear a lot of birds, but couldn't see any. I did manage to find bloodroot flowers, and I snapped a photo.

My lovely friend Heather knows all about wildflowers (at least more than I do!), but sadly, she wasn't with me today. I broke out my Wildflowers Fandex and quickly identified it!

Science has really become one of my favorite subjects!


  1. We have that book and I'm planning on using it next year. My kids and hubby are already big into birds, so I know they are gonna love it!

  2. I love this post! I was never a big fan of bird either until we got the bird feeder, and now with it outside the kitchen window we see all sorts of birds and the kids are learning all sorts of different kids. It's so cool. You should come back and visit soon, there are always vultures soaring around our house. Lots of soaring... I'm just saying.

  3. I'm so happy to read that last sentence it brings a tear to my eye. Sniff.
    That first photo made me laugh. I first saw it as a whale coming out of the water instead of a goose butt.


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