Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bird Beak Buffet

"Freeze Birds" Game
Hiding in Plain Sight
Today we combined two lessons about camouflage and bird beaks. Our day started by asking several questions about blending in. "What color is camouflage?" Harry knew right away that camouflage isn't a color.  It's what an animal does to blend in to what's around it. 
"What is a real animal that is well camouflaged? What does it look like? What does its habitat look like? What colors do you see when you look into the forest?"

We warmed up by announcing that three animals (plastic snakes) were hiding nearby. Children were challenged to stay in one place as they tried to find them using only their eyes. The red snake was easy to find because it was sitting on a gray bench. It really stood out. The other two snakes were a little more difficult to see because they were blending in with their surroundings. We continued to play Hiding In Plain Sight with animal replicas. We chose a person to be the predator. They had to sit in one place with their eyes closed as the other children hid prey animal replicas in plain sight. The "prey" may be partially hidden, but it must be able to be seen by the predator. After the children hid the prey animals, they regrouped near the "predator". The hungry "predator" opened his or her eyes tried to find "prey" to eat by pointing to the animals he or she can see from their spot. 

"Freeze Birds" Game
Take Me Outside!
Many animals stay still to help them blend into the environment and hide from predators. Even brightly-colored animals, like bluebirds, can blend in by keeping still. In "Freeze Birds" bluebirds must stay very still to hide from a hawk. A "hawk" looks in one direction and counts to twenty. While the hawk is counting, "bluebirds" fly around together behind the hawk, looking for food. When finished counting, the hawk says, "Here come a hawk!" Then, the bluebirds freeze and stay very still. The hawk turns around. If the hawk sees any movement by a bluebird, that bird becomes "eaten".

Shorebirds use long, thin beaks to probe shallow water, mud and sand for small invertebrates

Bird Beak Buffet
Today we learned about the special functions of beaks. Each WILD CHILD had time to explore the station materials and bird beak tools. 

QUICK FACTS: Birds all have some kind of beak for grasping and eating their food. The size and shape of a bird's beak enables it to eat certain kinds of foods. Seed and nut eaters, such as sparrows and finches, usually have short, thick beaks for cracking open seeds. Nectar feeders, such as hummingbirds, have long, slender beaks for reaching into flowers. Flesh eaters, like hawks and owls, have powerful hooked beaks for tearing and cutting flesh and skin. Other birds my have beaks suited for filtering, spooning, chiseling, or pinching.

Here are some photos of the Bird Beak Stations...

Woodpeckers use strong, pointed beaks to drill or chisel into wood and probe for insects

Ducks use blunt, spoon-like bills that have fine combs along upper and lower edges to strain aquatic plants and algae from water

Owls, hawks and eagles use sharp, curved beaks for tearing meat from the mice and other animals they eat

Pelicans use pouch-like beaks to scoop fish from the water

Hummingbirds use long, slender thin beaks to probe flowers for the nectar they eat

Bird Buffet for Snack
For our snack today we enjoyed some foods that birds eat. We made a trail mix with goldfish, nuts, seeds, berries and gummy fish and worms.

Making Binoculars
Homemade Binoculars
We made binoculars with paper tubes, glue and coloring materials. We were able to use the binoculars to focus on a hawk invading a songbird's nest in our Secret Garden.

Fairy Houses Continued

Finger Painting in Nature

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