Monday, March 25, 2013

Science Sleuths: Bluebirds

We always enjoy Science Sleuths with Elkhart County Parks. It's for children ages 6-9 and meets once a month. The topic last week was Bluebirds! We had about 5 bluebirds hanging around our feeders for a few weeks before the class and always see the bluebird nesting boxes at various parks while hiking. We see them at Lieber Nature Preserve, Cobus Creek, and Ox Bow Park.

The kids started with a snack. It was chilly so hot chocolate hit the spot!

Then Krista Daniels shared information about bluebirds with the children. It's always informative! I like watching how she teaches and uses books too. She didn't "read" this book, but did a picture walk as it was full of good illustrations on the birds.

She then talked a bit about their nesting habits and how gourds can be used to make bird houses. I was excited to finally meet Carole Mitchell who was helping. I see her all over the place online and was happy to meet her in person!

Bluebirds prefer a hole in a nesting box of a specific size and height to feel safe from predators.

The viewing window here has been active all winter and into early spring! I love watching the children talk about what they see and try to classify the animals.

The kids got all the "innerds" out of the dried gourds. Many kept their seeds! Maybe they will plant them for their own gourds. Then it was time to paint! What I found interesting is that I was the one with paint on my coat and pants when we left--not the boys! :-)

As gourds dried, the children looked at different examples of nests and had a "test" to see if they could match up the types of nests with the birds that made them. 

I learned more about the characteristics of different birds and materials that might be used for the nests.

Later we made the trek out to check the bluebird boxes. We saw various nests and talked about what birds might have been there.

Finally we found one with a bluebird nest! My boys found plenty of scat out there too!

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