Thursday, May 14, 2009

God's Classroom: Baby Birds

About a week ago I hung my Spider plant on my front porch as I do every year. This past weekend I pulled it down to water it and lo and behold there was a perfectly round little nest inside. I was a little disappointed because of the possibility of mites killing my plant, but excitement overwhelmed that disappointment because I saw the potential for a lesson in 'God's Classroom'.

I had noticed some House Wrens flitting around the front porch and wondered if they had chosen someplace close for their nest. Sure enough, in my Spider plant. Oh well, hopefully it will survive the mites... We had begun studying birds this spring in Science so this would be a great lesson for Riley.

Little did I know the House Wren had neighbors in our little acorn bird house hanging next door to the Spider Plant. That little acorn house has been hanging there for about two years and finally some little bird has chosen it for her home! I was elated! It turns out it is a Black Capped Chickadee that moved into the acorn house.

It was funny, to me it seemed like a little country house for the House Wren and a fancy little suburban home for the Chickadee! What a cute idea for a story! Well.....I digress.

On Monday of this week the little acorn house became alive with the chatter of Momma Chickadee and her chicks. In and out and chattering all day and lasted until Tuesday! It was really quite cute. The whole time Momma Wren just sits quietly as if she is knitting booties for her baby, ignoring her chatty neighbor.

Today, the little acorn house was very quiet. I thought the babies had probably flown the coop but said a prayer that nothing bad had happened. Later this afternoon I went out through the garage to get something. Noticing a very large weed I stepped on it with intentions of pulling it up. As I did, this round, baby Chickadee hopped out and just set to chattering. "Hey! Watch what your doing you silly human!" she seemed to say. I just spoke softly to her and then went to get Riley. He came out and immediately started calling her "Little Girl" and trying to calm her down. "Come on 'Little Girl' it's OK." he said softly. He desperately wanted to touch her but I cautioned him that if we touched her I was afraid Momma Chickadee would neglect her. Riley did great and kept a safe distance still calling her 'Little Girl' and talking softly to her. Riley said, "Is this bird watching momma?" I said, "You bet! We are bird watching." He seemed to really enjoy it and will later make an entry in his bird journal we created earlier this spring.

What a great lesson! God's classroom offers so many wonderful lessons for our children if we take the time to find them. Of course this one seemed to find us but hopefully we can follow it for a day or two. If Riley has learned anything it is to identify a Black Capped Chickadee which is common here in Northern Alabama. He also learned what their habitat is and how they rear their young. While we were discussing the importance of leaving her alone and not touching her, we reviewed what instinct was. Her instinct was to hide someplace safe till Momma came back. She also flew a few times stretching her wings as she was learning.

God's creation is awesome and full great lessons like this one. If you are finishing up school for the year or continuing on through the summer look for lessons like this one in your own backyard. You never know what you will find. If you are looking for ideas on Nature studies or maybe not sure where or how to start, check out this E-book from The Old Schoolhouse Store. Just click the link below, it will take you there. It is full of wonderful ideas that will get the creative juices flowing!

E-Book: Creative Nature Study for Homeschoolers