Boy Meets Bird

Audubon Songbirds Calendar
7 May 2007, 9:46 pm
Filed under: MamaPost, Teaching

Last Christmas, Grandma gave us the Audubon Songbirds and Other Backyard Birds calendar. Over the last couple of months, we’ve been looking at it now and then just to see the Bird of the Day, just to show him colorful pictures.

Tonight after dinner we played with it a little differently: First I pointed to a Cardinal and asked LittleBirder what it was. “Goldfinch!” he replied. He’s recently been seeing goldfinches, so anything he’s not certain of (that is, anything that isn’t a chickadee) is a goldfinch. He did the same thing when he was learning what a chickadee was–everything being a chickadee, I mean. But no, this was a cardinal. We talked about what color it was, and the crest, and the shape of the beak.* Then I pointed to another cardinal and ask what it was. “Cardinal!”

We went back and forth through the pages, first with “What’s this?” for Cardinals, Goldfinches, Nuthatches, Chickadees, Bluejays, and Robins**. He got more accurate with more repetitions, except for the Nuthatches.

Then we turned it around and played “Find the ______”. “Can you find a Cardinal?” “There it is!” “What color is it?” “Red!” If he pointed to something I hadn’t asked him for, I’d tell him what it was (reading it from the calendar; I don’t know most of them).

He surprised me too: I read “Red-bellied Woodpecker” for something he’d pointed to. He then pointed to the Yellow-fronted Woodpecker and said “There’s a Woodpecker!” and then (after I expressed my delight) to the Red-headed Woodpecker and said “There’s a woodpecker!” Is that cool or what? That third one doesn’t even have the same ladder-back pattern! He also labeled the Blue Jay feather picture “Blue Jay”. I’m so pleased with my kid.

* A couple of days ago, the bird of the day had been a grosbeak, so we’d been looking at beaks with different shapes.

** Specifically, male Northern Cardinals, male American Goldfinches, White-breasted Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees, Blue Jays, and American Robins. But I’m not concerned with the details of the common name. Maybe later, when he’s at that age it is when kids learn the hundreds of different dinosaurs or baseball players or cars, whatever they happen to like. What is that, 5 or 7 or 9 or something?