I LOVE homeschooling for this very reason. My children are never turned off. For them, learning and exploring a topic of interest is never something that must be done during school hours. For them, their entire life is about discovery.
So when a baby mourning dove happened to introduce itself to us the other day, it seemed only natural to ask a million questions about it and dig deeper into the life of mourning doves. At first, I did my best with what knowledge I already had, but their questions soon outstripped my abilities and we found ourselves on the internet.
One of my favorite sites, when it comes to learning about any kind of bird, is AllAboutBirds.org. Run by Cornell University, it does an excellent job of giving basic information, fun extra facts, and statistics. It helps you identify the bird you’re looking at, and for most there are even videos and recordings of bird calls.
If you’re going to encourage your kids to study birds, it’s also important to have a Bird Field Guide handy. It’s best to have a physical book that the kids can take out with them as reference. You’ll be amazed at how many birds they find with a guide! We LOVE this one. If you’re new to birding, THIS ONE is excellent.
This baby bird had recently fledged… That is, this was pretty much it’s first foray into the world beyond it’s nest. Many of it’s feathers were still sheathed near it’s neck, so we were able to discuss how feathers grow.
This baby had not learned to be nervous around us yet, so it was quite comfortable on our fingers as we enjoyed the chance to look at it up close. We compared it to out parakeets and made note of some similarities and differences.
All the while that we were enjoying the company of this little fledgling, it’s Momma and sibling waited on a branch up above. They were all very calm and patient with us. In our research later, we found out that mourning doves usually only lay 2 eggs at a time.
Before we finished studying this little guy, he kindly spread his wings out wide in a big stretch for us. We didn’t get a picture of that, but we were able to look at how the wings are structured and the different kinds of feathers that are present on each wing.
After about half an hour of up-close time, we put the baby on a perch and stepped inside. When we checked about an hour later, baby and his mom and sibling were no-where to be seen.
I’m pretty sure my kids will never forget the day this baby bird sat on their fingers and allowed them to pet and observe it so closely. But remembering the details later can be tricky. So we used these sheets to not only record what we learned but to learn more.
You can use these too, if you find a bird you’d like to learn more about. The prompts are based on information that is readily available at www.AllAboutBirds.org and most field guides.
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Sandra Modersohn is a devoted wife, mother, and homeschooler. She loves great graphic design and has a passion for creating beautiful and useful printable materials for children. Little Learning Lovies where she shares her creations with the world. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest and, of course, at the Little Learning Lovies Blog and Store.
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