“To the nature-lover February is the winter month of special charm. The forests on the snowy hills take on many lovely tints varying from dull to dark blue and from lilac purple to amethyst. The snow is toned with purple shadows and the skies in the morning are dull blue at the horizon and rosy and misty above until the blue of the upper skies is reached. Let us enjoy every day of February whatever the weather and then will our spirit be strong for blustering March.”
Anna Botsford Comstock, The Nature Study Review.
Yes, we really do get snow here in our part of California…..not much and it doesn’t stick around too long but this was the second of our snowstorms of the season and we are expecting a much bigger storm over the upcoming weekend (predicting 4-8 inches). We will get to enjoy some winter nature study and winter walks in our own neighborhood.
For now our focus outdoors is observing birds as part of the Great Backyard Bird Count but now that the counting time has passed we will continue to enjoy our feathered friends.
I already shared our first list of birds spotted on Friday and pretty much our list didn’t change for Sunday and Monday except to add Lesser goldfinches and Canada geese. I love sharing my snow day with the birds.
I think part of the charm of participating in the GBBC is that we get to see what other homeschooling families observe along with their list of common birds. Apparently this is something that has held its charm for over a century. I read this excerpt in the Nature Study Review….copyright 1917. It was titled, “A List of Birds That Easterners Would Like To See”.
“The editor is recipient of the following record from Miss Barbara Marx, eleven years old, and a member of this bird class.”
“I am enclosing the list of birds we have observed. We means the fifth and sixth grades of the Catilleja School of Palo Alto, California. The other morning Miss Hayes, our teacher, divided us up into groups so that we wouldn’t frighten the birds away, and it was then we the owl, cedar waxwing and woodpecker. The only peculiarity we have found worthy of note is that the towhee scratches with both feet at once.
White Crowned Sparrow, Gold Crowned Sparrow, Oregon Robin, California Robin, California Towhee, Willow Goldfinch, Bush-tit, California Jay, Crested Jay, Anna Hummingbird, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Bluebird, Woodpecker, Barn Owl, Cedar Waxwing”
It warmed my heart when I read that little letter. I realized that watching birds was an activity that children enjoyed a century ago and today we still enjoy taking a few minutes to observe the many birds we have in our own neighborhoods. Let’s hope that in another hundred years children are still taking time to learn about the birds in their world….whatever that world may look like.