Our Thursday Foxes have spent a couple of weeks chasing questions about birds. There is a lot of interest in this group: what birds do we have in the spring in Huron Natural Area? What birds do we hear when we're in the forest? What do birds eat? We've been hearing chickadee calls, and finding mallard ducks in the woods. Are they nesting? Are they mating? We wondered...
This past week, our focus was on nests. We talked about different kinds of nests and different places to nest. Some birds nest in tree cavities made by woodpeckers (screech owls, wood ducks). Some nest on the ground (Canada geese, mallard ducks). Some nest up high in nests made of big sticks (great blue herons, eagles, egrets). Some build nests in trees made of smaller twigs, pine needles, string, hair, with moss or soft seeds lining them. We looked at a weaver bird nest from South Africa that hangs from a tree. We talked about different jobs and male and female birds have in nest building. It is amazing to learn about the diversity of nests!
We worked together to gather materials to make a nice, cozy nest for our friend the robin:
Then we set off on a hike to Coyote Corners. Look what we found on the way! Can you see what we spotted high up in the trees?
After our snack, we worked to find nests for our other bird friends. Some were high up, and some were nesting on the ground.
Over the last 2 weeks, we have shared several great books about birds and nests:
But guess what!? The climax to our time together came as a total surprise to all of us! We had a few extra minutes to spare, so we thought we would play a short game of Eagle Eye. So several friends ran into the bush area to hide, and were surprised by a female mallard duck who flew away. She was very well camouflaged in the dry brown grasses. So we stopped what we were doing, and look what we found:
A nest of mallard eggs! We're going to try to leave them alone so that the mother stays nice and calm from now on!
Hammers, Huge Swings, and the Freedom to Play