Use the links above to find out more information for the birds included in this Outdoor Hour Challenge. You’ll find links to listen to each of these bird’s beautiful songs and I highly recommend that you listen to each one carefully for future reference. Also, there’s a link to a free bird coloring book that many families have found helpful in their bird nature study as a follow up to viewing each bird.
In our area, we have several kinds of finches to observe as the season warms up, so we’ll be learning about finches in preparation of their arrival at our feeders.
Do you have American goldfinches, Lesser goldfinches or both in your feeders?
This yellow bird challenge is from the Learning About Birds ebook here on the Handbook of Nature Study. It’s found in the Ultimate and Journey level memberships for you to download and use with your family. If you would like to gain access to this ebook, you can purchase a membership now and have instant access.
Use the discount code BIRDLOVER5 for $5 off an Ultimate Naturalist Membership.
The Outdoor Hour Challenge tied for second place in the Elementary Science category in the Practical Homeschooling Reader Awards!
Lesser Goldfinches- in the sunflowers and birch trees
Western Scrub Jay
Great Horned Owl
American Ravens – what huge birds with big pointy beaks!
Mallard ducks at the lake
Osprey – heard it but did not see it (Yosemite)
Snowy egret – out and about
Our list is pretty much the same as it was last month…summer birds. I am guessing that this month we will begin to see a change in the birds we have visiting our feeders. I think this is the most interesting aspect of keeping a monthly list…it brings into focus the cycle of birds and they rhythm of the seasons.
Now our exciting bird story!
We were able to observe a Lesser goldfinch sitting on a nest in the bushes at my dad’s house. Mama was sitting on the eggs but when I came a little too close with the camera she flew away to a near-by branch. My dad says that there were two little birds that hatched. He has a whole flock of goldfinches in his garden so it doesn’t surprise me that he had a nest this year.
We have a beautiful songbird in our backyard that sings to us as we garden. He often is seen in our finch feeder but he also has another part of his diet that is interesting. The Lesser goldfinch eats our sunflower’s leaves! They must be so very light because they can land on the leaves and they hardly dip under the weight. They nibble the green parts of the leaves and leave holes and skeleton leaves on the plants.
I found this video on YouTube.com that shows what we observed in our garden.
I caught this Lesser goldfinch in our birdbath….bathing and singing.
There is a lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study (Lesson 10) and a previous Outdoor Hour Challenge (Yellow Birds) for the goldfinch which includes this link: Get Gorgeous Goldfinches! The article gives you tips for attracting and then feeding your own goldfinches. If you would like to hear the goldfinches song, you can listen at AllAboutBirds.com.
We used a photo and the notebook page from the June Newsletter.
We read on AllAboutBirds.com that the Lesser goldfinch sometimes makes its nest in among grapevines to shade the nest from the sun. We think our finches are nesting in our grapevines that are near our back birdfeeder. I never thought to look there.
We love these little birds and even though they cause a little mischief in the sunflower patch, we hope they stick around for awhile.
Outdoor Hour Challenge Birds #3
Goldfinch and Meadowlark (Western and Eastern)
Inside preparation work:
1. Read the Handbook of Nature Study pages 29-33 about feathers. Another great link is found here: Feather Structure. Here is another link to Bird Wing Shapes.
2. Read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 53-57 about the goldfinch.
3. Read the Handbook of Nature Study pages 80-82 about the meadowlark.
4. Backyard Birds: Read aloud with your child pages 16-19. Use the illustrations to point out the field marks for each bird and for the goldfinch, the differences between the male and female birds.
5. Peterson Field Guide: Make note of the wing and tail shape illustrations on pages 18 and 19(W) 24 and 25(E) Look up in the index the goldfinch and the meadowlark. Observe the illustrations carefully and read the narrative descriptions and explanations. Notice the beak, the tail, and the wing shape for future reference. (See links at the bottom of the post for the particulars on these field guides.)
Outdoor Hour Time
Practice your quiet observation skills for at least part of your 10-15 minutes of birding time. Remember the focus from challenge two and make special note of the shape of the beak and the way the bird uses it. Also, make note of the wing and tail shapes of any birds that you observe during this challenge.
Shape of the tail: Square tip? Rounded? Pointed? Notched? Shape of the wing: Rounded? Pointed? Slim? Long? Short?
Sometimes a bird’s wings and tail look differently when they fly. Observe a bird during flight to see if you can notice different colors, shapes, or stripes when they fly. Remember to make these observations for any bird you see during your outdoor time and not just for the meadowlark and/or the goldfinch.
Follow Up Activity for the Goldfinch and the Meadowlark
You can make a nature journal entry for the goldfinch and the meadowlark if you would like. There are several styles of journal pages in the NotebookingPages.com set below.
For something different in your nature journal, copy the John Keats poem on page 57 of the Handbook of Nature Study. Many families like to include poetry in their nature journals and this poem about the goldfinch is a perfect addition.
If you are using NotebookingPages.com’s bird nature study set (shown below), you can use the pages on feathers to record your feather observations or you can draw a feather and label its parts.
If you would like to hear the bird calls for this week’s birds, here are the links:
Also I am highly recommending that you purchase the Bird Bundle from NotebookingPages.com as a great supplement to your study of birds using the Outdoor Hour Challenge. Note: These are affiliate links.
Use code discount5 to save $5 on any purchase $10 or more from the NotebookingPages.com Shop. (This does not include membership purchases.)
Outdoor Hour Challenges for families since 2008!
Join other homeschool families growing a love of nature with Outdoor Hour Challenges.