“Mama, please remind me to say, ‘Good Morning’ to the birds tomorrow.” – Penelope, age 5
Our Window Bird Feeder was one of the best $6 spent last year. When the first signs of Spring arrived in our neck of the woods in upstate NY, Penelope started inquiring about The Burgess Bird Book for Children. I love that she associated seeing the birds come back for Spring with the stories of Peter Rabbit and Jenny Wren. Burgess eloquently introduces the birds returning from their migration in captivating dialogue between curious Peter Rabbit and his feathered folk friends in the Old Orchard. The chapters are only a couple pages long and the humor and story grab your attention so much that you don’t realize you’re learning interesting facts about different birds! It’s the perfect read aloud while my girls are eating a meal.
What’s different about this year is I added Birds, Nests and Eggs Take Along Guide (thanks to Aunt Mary– very excited birthday gifts received this March)! This book has vibrant illustrations that is a great companion to the Burgess Bird Book. Birds Build Nests is another beautifully illustrated book that’s more poetic than informational and includes birds from all parts of the world. Feathers for Lunch is one of our favorite stories that not only has labeled eye-catching illustrations, but a bird checklist in the back!
What I’m really excited about is the Backyard Birdsong Guide! If you purchase this amazing bird book directly from Cornell Lab of Ornithology, part of the proceeds support their mission of research and bird conservation. When we are introduced to a new “feathered folk” in the Burgess Bird Book, we can listen to the bird from our interactive birdsong guide. We even brought it in the backyard to compare with the bird calls we heard around us!
How does all of this relate to the Reggio Emilia Approach? The Environment is the Third Teacher. Not only has our environment outdoors naturally evoked interest in the coming of Spring, but indoors I created this bird watching space because it was a huge hit last year.
This year, my youngest is 22 months and she is showing a whole other side to the bird watching experience. Her interactions with the birds up close and far away are interesting to document. At first she was “spooked” by how close the bird came to the window, but now she’s very comfortable with them. Some of her first words were “cardinal,” and “blue jay.”
We also joined Cornell’s Project Feeder Watch this year! In 3 easy steps you 1. Install a Feeder 2. Count the birds that visit and 3. Share the data with Scientists! We’re already doing 2 out of the 3 steps so I figured why not add the third step and help a worthy cause!? Now is the time to Sign Up so check it out! 🙂
Researchers in the fields of ecology and conservation frequently conduct studies aimed at answering two questions: Where does a given species live? and How abundant is it? Knowing where species live, what habitats they use, and how abundant they are is the most basic information needed to protect a species. Knowing whether these patterns are changing with time is perhaps even more critical, since changes in bird occurrence can often be one of the first signal of more widespread environmental changes. (help.ebird.org)
As you prepare your environments for learning this Spring, don’t forget about the birds! May the birds teach us new ways of living and learning as we welcome them back.