Friday, May 6, 2011

Our Garden is For the Birds!

The month of May always amazes me. The month begins with only a hint of greenery, looking more wintry than springy. By the 31st, however, the trees are fully leafed out, and the world looks like summer. Even since the 1st, the changes in the garden have been incredible.

Malik and I planted our snap peas today, and are gathering "branchy branches" for pea-staking them this year. The inside of my house is starting to feel neglected as we spend more time outside. Oh, well...

We bought a new thistle seed feeder, and repaired the bin feeder (a big wind in the fall blew it down), and have been enjoying the many birds that come to them. We also cleaned out and filled the bird bath, which gets a lot more traffic now that we moved it into the corner of the garden.

In homeschool, we have begun a bird study, since we see so many of them (this surprises many people, who think a city lot would only attract English sparrows).  Our study is a meandering one, and includes identifying bird calls, site identification of birds, learning the parts of a bird's body, and (because my son was interested in it), a food study to see what kind of food they prefer.

If you want to try out your own bird food study, here is the journal page.

The Notebooking Pages Treasury has a beautiful set of notebooking pages for a bird study (we love data tables, so that is the only thing I wanted to add to the set). The Treasury has some free pages, or you can download collections for a charge (very economical for what you get). Or, you can do as we did, and pay an annual  fee of $52.95 for unlimited access to the entire treasury.

If you want some other kinds of pages for your bird journal, check out Enchanted Learning. There are some free pages, or you can pay a $20 annual fee for unlimited access (that's what we did). They have all kinds of bird pages, from bird anatomy to comparison between birds and dinosaurs, to life cycle pages. Good stuff.

Here's our bird list for the month:
  • Catbird
  • Cardinal (a mated pair)
  • Flicker (a mated pair)
  • English sparrow
  • Common grackle
  • House finch
  • Goldfinch
  • Whitethroat sparrow
  • White-crowned sparrow
  • Wren
  • Mourning dove
  • American crow
  • Phoebe
  • Northern oriole (nests in the oak in the corner every year)
  • Downy woodpecker
  • Warblers that we haven't seen yet...

Check out my other recent web pages (I've been busy):

Science Skills: Making Observations and Asking Questions -- I added another activity called "No Place Like Home," a study of the secret life under a rotting log
Books We're Reading in Homeschool-- a running list of the titles that we are using for homeschool
Road Trip! Field Trips for Homeschoolers -- a list of our favorite outdoor experiences away from home
Lucky, the Wonder Dog and How He Lived Up to His Name -- about our doggy :)
Literacy 101 -- the basics of literacy instruction, using The Daily Five
Living Math: Beyond Math Facts -- a description of The Rule of Four


Here is a link to a fellow gardener's page, with lots of garden lay-outs and information about different styles of gardens.

I also love Better Homes and Gardens for their Garden Planner and downloadable garden plans. Check them out and make a wish list!