He (Peter Rabbit) was only just beginning to find out that no one knows all there is to know, especially about the birds. And no one ever will. (Burgess, p.255).
We had a little melancholy moment at lunch today. Today’s the day we finished reading the book, The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton W. Burgess. We started reading this book in April. We read half a chapter, sometimes a full chapter during lunch time. The interactions we had with the text were always energetic and lively. Burgess brings these characters to life and honestly, he made bird watching and learning about birds rather exciting! Peter Rabbit is the main character and the reader joins him in curiosity and wonder about these feathered folks and their funny ways. Since we started this routine 4 months ago, we became quite attached to Peter Rabbit and Jenny Wren, the main characters of the book.
My girls looked forward to listening to this book every day…from April to August! This book peaked our interest in birds. So I created a bird basket and as time went on, our materials for exploring birds also grew. Here’s what was in our basket by the end of the 4 month exploration:
- A DIY birdwatching book. I googled imaged some basic backyard birds of our area, hand wrote the name of the bird under the picture, laminated, hole punched and put a ring on the pages to bind them together.
- A kid camera. Our camera was a gift from Target. It’s a Discovery Kids Digital Camera. But you can also find them here.
- Magnifying Glass (We not only saw bird seed up close, but sometimes insects and spider webs).
- Kaleidoscopes (because we’re next to the window with natural light and why not!?)
- Sibley Backyard Birding Flashcards. We used these cards to match up the descriptions of the birds mentioned in the Burgess book. The Burgess bird book did not have colored illustrations. These cards were a great companion to the book because we liked posting the birds we learned about on the wall. We also used these cards to identify the birds we witnessed in the window feeder and the backyard. You can find the bird cards here.
- A Bird tally chart from Allyson Speake’s Free Spirit Kids Winter Curriculum Guide. Check out her Etsy shop and other nature based education materials at TanglewoodHollow.
- A bird anatomy chart, also from TanglewoodHollow.(See below).
- A toy egg from my childhood that had a stuffed bird with a light activated chirping sound. I found this when cleaning my basement a couple months ago! Score!!
- Homemade binoculars made by Penelope herself. Take two toilet paper rolls, tape them together and paint! Decorate all you want! They are fantastic for bird watching.
The most enticing piece that brought it all together: The bird feeder! Best purchase from Amazon this summer!
We placed our bird basket under the window bird feeder. What’s most amazing about this experience is this window bird feeder is right in our dining room where we eat every day! So nearly every meal, the birds join us. Now THAT is the best entertainment while eating a meal together. The birds even entertain baby Everleigh!
When listening to the Bird Book, Penelope became comfortable with engaging with the text. In other words, this may look like interrupting while reading, but conversing with text is something our thoughts do silently in our minds whereas children are taught to do this out loud. Towards the end of the book, the birds begin to migrate south for winter while other birds migrate from the north. After I read about such an instance, Penelope said, “Mama birds migrate south for winter, but do birds migrate east and west?” I’ve never thought of that so we are in the process of researching the answer.
Did you make any bird discoveries this past spring or summer? We’d love to hear them, especially any bird gossip from Jenny Wren. 😉