Bug has caught bird watching fever. In his Zoology Curriculum, he learned all about population ecology and how habitats can be changed to be more or less appealing (and safe) for the creatures that live there, thus effecting their population.
In his science class, he built the backyard birds a feeder using scrap wood. I wish I had pictures of his process, but this is a project he did while I was at work. I am so proud of his ingenuity. Sure, we could have bought him a kit to make the project easier, but I think it was a great learning experience for him to work with what we had and to come up with a plan to build something that would work.
Once he finished his bird feeder, we installed it on a fence post. He also put together a little bird bath out of a kitchen pan and some water. Then, we took a step back to see what would happen.
The birds did find the feeder, but the squirrels weren’t far behind! He noticed quickly that the squirrels and birds didn’t share well. I love that his curriculum suggested that he also pay attention to any negative changes that may come along by making life a little easier for the birds in the yard. He learned the hard way that the neighborhood cat would be thrilled with the new birds coming to visit, and by making it easier for them to get a snack, it became easier for the cat to get a snack.
Bug has spent a significant part of the last week camped out in his tree house, watching for birds visiting his feeder, and looking them up in his field guide. I love seeing him out in the yard interested in nature, instead of camped out in front of a screen.
Overall, this experience has been a wonderful lesson. He learned about competition among animals for resources. He also learned that when you change the environment, sometimes things get thrown off balance and there are consequences. He learned that the environment effects populations by witnessing a (small scale) example.
More Birdwatching Resources
In addition to Bug’s work with Oak Meadow, we have been enjoying these resources. You can grab them online, or see if your local library carries them!