The boys have become the best of friends lately. The other day found them walking arm in arm discussing how when they grow up they will live within walking distance of each other and they will take their families to the fair together, and ride the roller coasters together.... there was only one problem. "Mikey, to have kids we need to get married," said Del with a sigh, "and I don't know any girls who want to marry me yet!" To which Mike answered, "Don't worry Deli, I'm your brother. I'll find you a girl!"
We went bird banding at the Indiana Dunes. I think what I love most about homeschooling is all the learning I do. Who knows how much the kids learn, and who cares? I'm having a great time!
We banded 7 birds. I use the royal we because much to Josie's chagrin "we" didn't band any birds. We watched while the ranger did all the handling. Something about proper training or whatever. As soon as Josie found out that we were not physically handling the birds she was done. Out of there. Nothing to see, as far as she was concerned. It took a lot of convincing to get her to participate. Next time I'll know to be more precise with my field trip descriptions.
To band the birds, first they catch them in nets or cages, pop them in a cloth bag and bring them inside. Our job was to weigh them, measure them, figure out if they were male or female, band them and release them. The weighing (above) was pretty interesting. The ranger would be holding the birds by their feet, then quick as a wink he would upend them into a little bottle placed on a scale. The sudden upturn, the closeness of the bottle, the dark would all serve to calm the bird so it would hold still enough to be weighed quickly.
While we didn't band the birds ourselves, we did get to touch them. See above? See that sweet little bird? Look closely, where all the hands are. See? There! Right in there is a bird. We banded a goldfinch, three woodpeckers, a something else, and a couple other birds. Yes those are the official names of all the birds - the Latin, if you will. Super scientist, that's me!
Elia got to hold one in her hand before releasing it. Sometimes when you place a bird on it's back in the palm of your hand it becomes still and quiet. The ranger said it was more restful than terrifying for the bird. This bird was not restful and as soon as she was released she took off like a shot!
Did you ever wonder what a goldfinch heart beat sounds like? It's like a teeny tiny engine, or a very soft purring of a cat - fast, whirring, thrumming. Also very cool.
I'm not sure who was more scared at this moment, the kids or the bird.
Near the end, most of the children had lost interest (Josie lost it in the very beginning), but Elia stuck with it all the way through. She loved every bit of bird banding. There were a couple of very angry woodpeckers near the end who really did a number on the ranger. They bit and pecked and drew blood. We learned that in order to replicate a woodpecker's "peck" we needed to wrap our heads in a pillow, then ram our heads into a wall three times a second at 20 miles an hour. The boys did not try that at home.
Bird banding, who knew it was so much fun?
Tomorrow is Poetry Wednesday, and I do believe Julia is now hosting. For which I am so grateful. Things have been busy and crazy around here and I have not been reading poetry at the rate I was before. Before was not that much, but I could come up with a poem or two. Now it's pretty sad. Needless to say, it is with great relief that I cede poetry Wednesday to her. Her writing and her choice of poems are always wonderful. You would do well to head on over and read her thoughts. And of course, link up there!