Monday, June 22, 2015

6.22.15 - For The Birds - Wixon Innovation Middle School - Dennis, MA

Hot sun & blue skies made for a bit of a lazy Monday afternoon for us at Wixon today.  I didn't want to head into the woods, so we stayed on the lawn right next to the school and there were birds in every direction!  HUGE dragonflies were swooping over our heads, and the Barn Swallows seemed to know all about it!  They were swooping acrobatically over our heads getting an afternoon meal!  We discussed our different bird sightings for the past week and a few mentions about how to make the world a better place for the feathery treasures of our planet... feed them year round, put out nest boxes, pollute less.  I want these students to know that their own ideas can help the birds, even when they may believe they're starting on a small scale.  (double click photos to enlarge)

Our List:
House Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Barn Swallow
Chimney Swift
Northern Flicker
Song Sparrow
American Crow
Great-crested Flycatcher
American Goldfinch

Chipping Sparrow

House Sparrow - male

Song Sparrow - singing!

Song Sparrow

Young bird nerds, checking out bird guides - yes, I totally asked them to pose.

Another posed photo!  I couldn't resist!

Checking out different species in the guides.

See you next week kiddos!  I can't believe it'll be out last enrichment together!  Happy Birding!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

6.20.15 - Bird Nerd Moment - My yard - Yarmouth, MA

Saturday afternoon was beautiful and we had spent a lot of time outside.  I had been collecting things in the yard and putting them away, because it's supposed to rain all day tomorrow for Father's Day.  As I was in and out of the house, I heard a bird call that did not sound familiar to me... That always intrigues me, much to my family's dismay at times, because then that sound, and identifying who it's coming from, becomes my temporary obsession for however long it takes.  I ran in to grab my camera and binoculars and it took a while, and a LOT of neck stretching, but I finally was able to see who was making all the racket!  It was a Baltimore Oriole male, frantically trying to feed his 2 youngsters who were relentlessly badgering him to do so.  They were VERY DEMANDING even though they could fly, the babies seemed to not want to fly long distances.  Every time he got too far away for their comfort, they peeped extra loudly until he hurried back to them, beak full of something - some type of bug no doubt - to shove into those peeping mouths!  My photos are less than great, it's the best I could do with the speed at which daddy oriole was moving to appease those 2 loud, adorable, mouths!  (double click photos below to enlarge)


Baltimore Oriole - juvenile

Baltimore Oriole - male

Baltimore Oriole - juvenile

Happy Birding!

Friday, June 19, 2015

6.19.15 - Birdwatching For Beginners - Wixon Innovation School - 11 4th grade classrooms

I sure am a lucky bird nerd!  After weeks of planning I was able to visit every 4th grade classroom in this very special school - Wixon Innovation Middle School.  Each teacher was welcoming and so understanding about the scheduling of the class, and I spent an hour with each group of students and their teachers.  I either sent in birdoculars, or sent the materials for making them.  I can make about 25 on my own in an hour, but I ran out of time being able to keep up with what was needed for the visiting schedule I had planned.  The students were full of enthusiasm and questions and comments, and I couldn't possibly get to listen to each individual student - which is a bummer when there's limited time.  I asked them a favor though, that when they see me again, either at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History where I work, or at the grocery store, or at the gas station, pumping gas in my pj's, that they let me know about a bird they saw, or a question they have.  I explained that they could also do this through this very blog, and I will get back to them.  I had the BEST time with all of you!  I hope you enjoy the photos and I absolutely LOVED the Thank You cards!  Those make me cry every time... HAPPY tears, of course! (double click on photos below to enlarge)

Our Lists:
Chipping Sparrow
Mourning Dove
Northern Flicker
Song Sparrow
Barn Swallow
Blue Jay
American Crow
American Goldfinch
Black-capped Chickadee
House Finch
American Robin
House Sparrow
Brown-headed Cowbird
Fish Crow
Eastern Kingbird
Osprey
Chimney Swift
Red-tailed Hawk
Tufted Titmouse
Northern Cardinal

Spotting the American Goldfinches in the tree
right in front of the school.

Birdocular professionals


See the tiny speck on top of the school... that's the bird they
were all checking out with their birdoculars.

Inspecting the House Sparrow nest in the old school bell.

Someone's in this tree!

Students showed me a nest they'd discovered under a cedar in the schoolyard.

Where IS that Northern Cardinal?!

Brown-headed Cowbird on top of the tree.

Feather found

Thank You notes - so very thoughtful and sweet!!!
Children's art is my favorite.  
How precious is this bird?  I couldn't love it more...

See you soon bird nerds!  THANK YOU for having me in your classrooms and for getting outside to see and hear the birds!

Monday, June 15, 2015

6.15.15 - For The Birds - Wixon Innovation Middle School - Enrichment Class

We started off inside today for a change because the weather was iffy.  I wanted to discuss Carrying Capacity and the meaning of the concept.  We discussed the definition and then what it meant for local birds.  Wixon is surrounded by woods, an ideal habitat for year round avian residents as well as stop over migrants and/or summer inhabitants who've migrated from other areas.  We set out to play our carrying capacity game, a game I learned at a fantastic workshop at Clark University, run by MITS.  4 students were birds, 4 students were in charge of the aspects of the supporting habitat: food/water/shelter and we adjusted the "space" as needed.  The other students were in charge of choosing the bird species; they chose:  Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, American Crow & American Robin.  I wish I thought to get more photos of the game, but I was busy running it and I only got a few pictures with my phone.  The first time the "birds" flew into the "habitat space" it was large and each bird was able to obtain sufficient "food", "water" & "shelter".  Before I sent the "birds" back into the "habitat space", we made it smaller and I took away some "water", "food" & "shelter".  The kids were starting to get it.  When habitats are threatened, and/or taken away - the birds do not have a sufficient habitat to support their lives, they suffer & even perish.  

I also wanted them to have hope though, because I assured them that they could very well have some answers and ideas as to how we can provide a healthier habitat future for the birds.  I do not assign homework for our enrichment class, but I did ask them to think about ways in which we could make the world a better place.  I wanted them to know that for the most part, their younger minds are not jammed up with paying a mortgage, fixing the roof, or coming up with insurance payments.  It's wonderful to be a kid!  Kids have wonderful ideas! 
I can't wait to hear what they come up with!


Northern Cardinal - male

See you soon young bird nerds!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

6.9.15 - Cape Cod Museum Of Natural History - Tuesday Tweets - John Wing Trail
Brewster, MA

We had a windy Tuesday to contend with, but we were insistent upon getting as close to Cape Cod Bay within our hour long walk as we could.  I had to leave around 10:30 so I never made it to the bay myself, but I know others did and I'm sure the views didn't disappoint.  It was nice to see both familiar faces and some newcomers to Tuesday Tweets! Our walk began with a nearly immediate sighting of a Great-crested Flycatcher - a summer migrant.  I realize I start saying, "...one of my FAVORITES!" on almost every bird walk.  I'm more enthusiastic about certain species, mostly because I have a personal story that I associate with that particular species.  One thing thing, I'm sure I've mentioned before, is that even if you're not obsessed with birds, you usually have a memory, a story or a question about birds.  It's that same old story, they're everywhere...  how lucky we are that is the case.  What fun they are to share.  Don't miss Rick's incredible photography - credited per photo as you'll see if you take a peek.  Thank You Rick! (double click photos to enlarge)

Our List:
Great-crested Flycatcher
Tree Swallow
American Goldfinch
Song Sparrow
Barn Swallow
Osprey
Northern Flicker
American Crow
Gray Catbird
Pine Warbler
Northern Cardinal
Black-capped Chickadee
Turkey Vulture
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Mockingbird


Great-crested Flycatcher

Great-crested Flycatcher
Silhouettes are an important tool when identifying birds.
With skies like this - we got some great silhouettes.

Great-crested Flycatcher (photo credit: RICK) 

Barn Swallow (photo credit: RICK)

Song Sparrow (photo credit: RICK)

Barn Swallow (photo credit: RICK)

Osprey bringing fish back to the nest

Momma Osprey

Turkey Vulture


Can't beat this Cape Cod Bay View

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing (photo credit: RICK)

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird FEEDING BABY!  (photo credit: RICK)
Wonderful!!!

Song Sparrow

Opsrey pair taking a small parental break

Next opportunity for Tuesday Tweets: 7.14.15 9:30am $2Members/$4Non-members
Happy Birding!

Monday, June 8, 2015

6.8.15 - For The Birds - Wixon Innovation Middle School - Enrichment Class

We started out with high hopes... sadly the wind and the drizzle took over and it was too much for us to use our binoculars and I can't use my camera in the rain.  We had to seek shelter in the school lobby and opted for quizzing each other on bird ID's and what specific species might eat.  Everyone was cooperative and adapted well to our change of scenery. I'm hoping for sunshine, or at least non-raining skies this coming Monday.
We did see a few species during our brief time outside, but we were out there for such a short time, I didn't write down any bird names.  This photo, I believe, was when the students spotted an Osprey in the distance...


Happy Birding!



Thursday, June 4, 2015

6.4.15 - Cape Cod Museum of Natural History - Birdwatching For Beginners
Brewster, MA

I don't think I've ever written a blog post following this particular workshop that I present monthly at the museum.  There was SUCH a fantastic bunch of folks there today, I just had to share this photo I asked if I could take (with my phone) of them, birdwatching with the birdoculars I gave them, and a few true binoculars.  We were checking out the osprey's nest and one of the adults had just lifted their heads so we could see...
I just love this photo!

Next opportunity for Birdwatching For Beginners: 7.16.15 10am   Included with museum admission/Members-Free

Happy Birding!