Friday, October 4, 2013

Bird Brained

Since the big kids started their science this year, we've had birds on the brain nearly every day! It started the day after we read chapter 2 in our Science text (see below) which has pictures of different kinds of vireos for you to compare field marks. Well, the day after we read about it, who should come flying into our window and stun himself, but a Yellow-throated Vireo! He was so stunned by his accidental flight into our window that we had several minutes to photograph and study him before he flew away. 
That was definitely a boost toward our interest in birds! And then there's the fact that we school right next to the window that shows our patio. We had a bird feeder that we kept moving around on the tree that grows on our patio to try to keep it away from the squirrels. They are pretty aggressive here and there were lots of times where math was interrupted so that we could go out and yell at the squirrels.
Here is spot #2 for the feeder. This lasted 24 hours until the squirrels broke the branch it was hanging on. After this, I strung the feeder up on a higher branch hanging way down and far away from the trunk. The squirrels figured out they only had to take a harrowing jump from trunk to feeder and hang on the feeder swinging dizzyingly around and then kind of do a belly flop to drop off. This was difficult enough that they still left some seed for the birds. It worked well for the squirrels until I greased the bird feeder with coconut oil. : ) Then we had a few good laughs as the squirrels jumped over and scrambled to hang on as they slid right off the feeder. That hanging spot for the feeder lasted a total of one week until the squirrels managed to knock the feeder down and break it all to pieces. : ( We still haven't put up another feeder. We'll probably make some home made feeders for a while. 
Oh, and see the hummingbird feeder? The squirrels drink the hummingbird nectar as well. They knock off the protective caps on the little places for the hummingbirds to suck and just drink it right out until it's gone. So far we just keep refilling that and hummingbirds and squirrels are able to share.
But despite of the mean old squirrels, we have really enjoyed watching the birds. The kids have started their Life List of birds they have seen and have enjoyed putting down the birds we count as regulars on our patio:
These pics were all taken by the oldest. She's great with her own camera and loves to catch birds around the yard. Three of the pics are of her prize: a Cedar Waxwing. She was attentive enough to notice when a group of them were migrating through our yard.
Happy bird watching!

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