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Weekly Challenge for #EnviroEd # 55 – Building a Better Birdfeeder

December 10, 2014

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As we get into colder weather more than one school will be considering placing birdfeeders in their school yards and while I am in full support of feeders I do feel it is important to maintain it for the season if at all possible. Your feather friends will appreciate your class’s support but one could argue that they may also count upon it once it is started as well. I cannot think of many better ways to study animal behaviours than looking at bird feeding habitats. Grade 2 animal adaptations, both structural (ie beaks) and behavior (ie Jays making a mess of seed on the ground) can be studied easily from inside the class or on a short jaunt to the feeders on the other side of the school yard.

Maps, graphing, recording time and language arts can all fit in nicely with a local bird study.

  visual from Cornell Labs

Habitat for these birds is an important consideration as well. Having the bird feeder close to hedgerows and trees and avoiding squirrels and other would be predators are an important considerations. As such, have a look at your school yard, kinderpad or local park and give some thought as a class as to what you could do to attract birds. You should consider not only what type of feeder we place but also the best place for it and the types of birds you are trying to attract. The birds do not wish to fly too far to and from your feeder and wind protection makes it easier to land on an otherwise swinging feeder as well. Consider how close is too close to a building as well.

visual from Cornell Labs

visual from Cornell Labs

Sunflower, niger, cracked corn and mixed seed mixes will all attract different types of birds. One could also consider suet as well for those species that enjoy some meat along with their seed as well.

You could use recycled materials as well – though if considering paint or art of any type, please ensure you are using something that would not be harmful to those diners you are trying to attract in the first place.

You can even take part in Bird Studies Canada events like Project Feederwatch.

A simple challenge this week but one that I hope will create a lot of enjoyment, show ingenuity and lead to discussions on how we can help our feathered friends as we get deeper into the colder weather … design, build, maintain and perhaps even modify some birdfeeders this winter for a multitude of outdoor learning experiences!

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