Birds at Burnley Moran

Posted by on Feb 19, 2020 | Comments Off on Birds at Burnley Moran

Birds at Burnley Moran

Something that we get asked a lot as garden coordinators with CSG is “What do you do in the winter?” While it is true that there have been days during these cold and rainy months that I wish it were spring already, there is still ample exploration going on in our gardens and in classrooms this time of year. We use this time to do activities that are adaptable to both indoor and outdoor, in case we have a nice day that allows us to get outside (which has happened a lot this winter). Some of the activities we’ve been doing are bean dissection and sprouting, seed starting, and of course worm exploration. But my favorite winter garden lesson is our Bird and Binocular walk.

Throughout the months of January and February, Burnley Moran Elementary’s kindergarten and first grade students came to their garden and tried out being bird watchers for the day. We started with a discussion about what animals do in the winter when there are less plants available for them to eat. Students shared what they knew about hibernating animals and migrating animals, and learned about a third category that we called nibble and napping animals who rest during the winter but are still active in finding food. 

Once we talked about what different animals do in the winter it was time for students to go on a walk around the school with their own pair of binoculars to spot the nibble and nappers at Burnley Moran. We set off out of the garden in search of birds, squirrels, and nests in the trees. When we got to our first stopping point students excitedly exclaimed “Nest! Nest! I see a nest!” We talked about the difference between bird nests that are usually made of straw and grasses, and squirrel nests that usually have a lot of leaves. Students decided that the first nest they found was a squirrel nest!

As we continued on our walk students enjoyed spotting more nests, birds on trees and flying in the sky, and using the compass on their binoculars to figure out what direction they were walking. All of the classes that came out spotted all 6 of the nests that dot the tall trees on the backside of the school. Each class also saw a lot of birds including robins, turkey vultures, cardinals, and blue jays! Many students wanted to keep the pair of binoculars and when leaving the garden to return indoors I heard a lot of “LOOK!!! Another bird!”

I enjoy doing this activity with students because of how much it brings out their excitement about the outdoors, exploration, and animals. Especially during these months of less sun and more time indoors, it is a fun reminder of the adventures to be had even when it seems like nature is sleeping.