Backyard Bird Count educational

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Dennis Clay

The backyard bird count is a free bird-counting event. It is scheduled for Feb. 15 through 18, 2019.

This Backyard Bird Count is easygoing because it can take place in the family backyard, with the family group simply looking out the back window. Even the 3-year-old can participate, as well at the 12, 15 and 40-year olds.

A homemade bird feeder can be made with an empty toilet paper roll, peanut butter and bird seed. Heat peanut butter on a paper plate in the microwave, then cover the cardboard roll with the peanut butter by first rolling it on the peanut butter plate, then the plate with bird seed. Finally, slide the completed birdfeeder onto a branch of a tree.

Youth who arenít familiar with the way nature works, may not be prepared to watch a hawk kill a backyard bird. Be sure and talk with the youngsters about the possibility of having a hawk appear and take one of the smaller birds. There may be 100 or more small birds feeding when they will all disappear.

This is the time to take a close look at the fence or in the trees. There may be a hawk perched, motionless. The first unsuspecting small bird to visit the area will be caught, killed and eaten.

The hawks donít kill the bird outright, but put all of their weight on the bird and they keep rolling it into a smaller ball, until it suffocates. Then it enjoys the meal. Hey, the hawk needs to eat, too. Plus, this becomes another educational opportunity.

A false belief involves suddenly stopping the bird food. What will the birds do without food in the feeders? Will they starve because there is no bird seed available? No.

The answer is they will simply find another food source. Birds in the wild will locate food, perhaps a field of weeds with lots of seeds. They eat the food until it is gone, then they find food in another location.

Donít let these outdoor-learning opportunities escape your grasp. After counting your backyard, fill the thermos with hot tea or other beverage, make sandwiches and/or soup. Purchase or checkout a bird book for identification and begin a lifetime list of birds observed by the youth in your life.

Make a list for each day of the count and you are sure to create memories which will last a life time.

Beginning and continuing a lifetime animal count as well as a lifetime bird count is super idea. Include these counts in a family journal of the family journals, including the bird and animal counts.

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