Boy Meets Bird

I made it!
25 December 2007, 11:29 pm
Filed under: Age-appropriate, birdwatching, KidPost, Practice, Teaching | Tags: ,

Grandpère and I made a bird feeder together this morning!

LittleBirder and Grandpère Make a Bird Feeder


8 May 2007, 7:02 pm
Filed under: Age-appropriate, Goals, MamaPost, Teaching

I find myself pretty jazzed up a little with the new project. (As if I needed a new project…) One reason I took us to the Birds of Vermont Museum today was that I was thinking about a new notebook just for LittleBirder to draw ‘birds’ in (at the moment, he draws sprawly lines and dynamic scribbles, and likes to use blues).

But there was enough to do that we didn’t get a notebook — didn’t really even find an opportunity to ask him whether he’d like to draw birds.

And this is OK. Good even. Let me temper and pace my exuberance to his ways of joy and discovery. Let me not create pressure to perform (there will be plenty of that as time goes on; and even now, let me keep that pressure to–oh–not screaming in restaurants, say). Let his interests and developmental levels guide our pace and participation. Let us be open to so much more than birds.

8 May 2007, 8:04 am
Filed under: Birds Seen, MamaPost, Teaching

LittleBirder is watching an episode of Wild Animal Baby* in which the characters say “Look, there’s a hawk!” Then the video shows an Osprey. I pointed to it and said “That’s an Osprey”. LittleBirder said, “No, it’s a hawk!”


So I added, as the image changed to a Redtail then to a Kestrel, “That’s right, an Osprey is a kind of hawk.** You can tell which kind by the colors on the wings and tail.”

* No, we don’t always watch TV in the morning or even every day. I was living up to a promise and a request made without any whining at all. Lest you worry! And besides, he’s asked me while watching whether we can feed the birds later. OK, yes, I feel a little guilty!

** Is an osprey a kind of hawk? I guess I better go check. Close enough for a 2-year-old, regardless, I hope.

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?