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Friday, February 20, 2015

Fill the bill!

Our bird watching hike started off on the right foot with the spotting of this Yellow-bellied Sapsucker! It is such a neat bird to see in this area with a unique call and drumming pattern. Sapsuckers drill holes in bark to create sap wells. The sap wells attract insects which they dine on. Smart birds!
While having snack and enjoying the scenery from the wood pile, we also spotted a Red-tailed Hawk in a nearby tree. It appeared just as curious about us as we were about it. After jumping off the branch, we watched it as it soared high above us.
Sledding was on the agenda as well!
After we were fully exhausted from trekking through the snow, we returned to the classroom to learn about bird beaks. After reading a story, examining pictures, and studying the taxidermy we concluded that birds have lots of different beaks in all shapes, sizes, and colors. We learned that bird's beaks are perfectly adapted to their diet. Hummingbirds who drink nectar from flowers have long thin hollow beaks. Birds of prey like Great Horned Owls and Red-tailed Hawks, have small sharp beaks to tear apart meat. Cardinals have short strong beaks to break open hard seeds and nuts.

To help us to understand the concept further, we sketched various beaks in our journals and used play-doh to sculpt different beaks. Jonathon is pretending to be a toucan, plucking fruit from the trees.
We did a wonderful activity called "Fill the Bill". Using a variety of tools to simulate different beaks, they had to use their problem solving skills to determine the most efficient tool for eating each food source. They also had to decide which bird had a beak that functioned like the tool they chose. 
The tools included tweezers, pliers, straws, tongs, slotted spoons, and a strainer.  The bird beaks simulated were a duck, a hummingbird, a woodpecker, a Robin, and a pelican.
Next week, we examine bird feet and learn about their special adaptations!

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