You know the old saying: birds of a feather flock together. Well, we wanted to observe whether that was true. Turns out, it is!
We spent our month bird watching. We found an awesome book that helped us get started and then just spent time watching. We stumbled across this book at the museum and when I saw it, I KNEW it was THE BOOK for the theme of The Great Outdoors with the Poppins Book Nook virtual book club.
The book is “Look Up! Bird-watching in Your Own Backyard” by Annette LeBlanc Cate.
Written in a cartoon-ish style that is conversational, the book begins with the do’s and don’t’s of bird-watching. For example: Do only go to places you know are safe. Do give birds their space! Don’t ever frighten or bother parent birds and their babies. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way, ever!
Early on, Mrs. Cate hooked me with “no matter how small your corner of the world, there will be some birds in it.” Yep. More than I imagined once I started observing! She talks about how to start and where to start. She encourages you to begin sketching birds at once, as that helps you notice the details of the bird and will help you keep a record of what you have seen and how long you have been participating in this hobby later on.
Throughout the book, the birds keep you laughing as you read their conversations designed to help you learn. The charts in the book are tremendously helpful, such as the “A Rainbow of Color” chart and the “Shapes are Clues” chart. While reading through the book, you learn tons of proper terminology AND exactly what they are referring to. Crest – you know it is not the toothpaste by the time you finish the page. You know that it is the top part of the head and its’ unique shape which will help in identifying birds such as cardinals, roadrunners, and woodpeckers.
There is so much information in the book. I wish I could share more but it is pretty hard to without pictures. The copyright is clear on this one and so I cannot take pictures of the book. I sure wish I could because it is amazing! I cannot possibly do this book justice. You really need to go get this book!!
Our favorite place to sit together and watch the birds was our backyard. Now, we have no trees. But, the property behind us has some and the birds love them! So, we’d sit out on the back patio watching the birds and spending time together.
I was in for some surprises. My youngest giggly girl only wanted to play with the binoculars. It was fun to see the birds for a few minutes but she didn’t want to sit and observe. This surprised me because she loves to look at animals. All the time! This was the one I expected to spend the most time with sitting and observing. Surprise! Turns out that E, the oldest giggly girl, was the one who loved to sit and watch with me. We spent hours together, just enjoying the outdoors and each other, finding joy in spotting a bird and excitement when we could identify the bird.
As recommended in Look Up!, we also picked up a field guide to familiar Texas birds. It ended up being terribly helpful. We kept both of the books next to us as we sat and watched. Once in a while, one of us would grab the field guide and try to identify a bird because we got a good enough look at it that we found some detail. Some of the birds we saw this month: cardinals, mockingbirds, doves, ladder-backed woodpeckers, chimney swift, house finch, American robin, and barn swallow. I am not certain but we think we saw a scissor-tailed flycatcher, a hawk of some sort, and some kind of hummingbirds. And these are just the ones we came somewhat close to identifying!
Although plans for other outings were hampered by rain, we did head up towards the dam on the lake to see what we could see. While we could hear a lot of birds, we could not see very many of them. There were a couple that had some interesting shapes but we couldn’t get close enough to get any details on them. E saw one big bird flying and was able to identify it as a hawk of some sort because she had read about looking at the tail. She was able to recall that it was a fan shape and had a band of white on it. That was enough to go through the guide with and she was able to identify the hawk. Fun! For me and her! She was so proud of herself to have noted that and been able to use that to help her identify the bird.
I intentionally spent the month with a project that was not crafty but rather observational. It allowed us to be with each other instead of focusing on an activity. We got a lot of chatting in quietly while waiting for a bird to show itself. It encouraged being outdoors on an ongoing basis and is something that we will continue for weeks and hopefully months. I have high hopes for this because the other day as we were driving along, E called out “Mom! I saw a bird! Can we turn around and go look?”
Be sure to visit the co-hosts for Poppins Book Nook and see what each of them did for this month’s theme of The Great Outdoors.
Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God’s Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy’s Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy’s Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for Learning ~ Ever After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Raventhreads ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A “Peace” of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama