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Brand New Outdoor Hour Challenge: Raven Nature Study

Brand New! Outdoor Hour Challenge

Forest Fun – Raven Nature Study

Ravens are a common sight to many of us here in North America. This week you can use the link below as well as the challenge in the new Forest Fun ebook to learn what ravens look like, what they sound like, and what their diet includes. Your children should be able to identify the raven by sight and by their sound after you finish your raven nature study time.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Raven Study

  • Choose a resource to learn more about ravens.  A terrific website for bird information is All About Birds: Common Raven.
  • Ravens are often mistaken for crows so a study of this similar bird might be helpful. Lesson 32 in the Handbook of Nature Study will help you learn more about the crow. In addition, there is an Outdoor Hour Challenge for the crow in the archives: Black Birds.

Please note that I will not be posting the complete challenge here on the blog, but you’ll find the detailed challenge in the Forest Fun ebook that’s available both in the Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level memberships. Sign into your account and download the ebook for the details, more links, and notebook pages.

Forest Fun ebook cover graphic

We are working through the Forest Fun ebook which is a brand new series of nature studies featuring things you might find in the forest. It’s not too late to join us by purchasing an Ultimate Naturalist or Journey level membership.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist decenber 2019

If you don’t have a membership yet, you can click the graphic above and join today for immediate access to the 24 ebooks and so much more! Remember that all levels, even the Discovery level membership, include access to all of the archived newsletters!


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Bird Stories for the Week: Hummingbird, Hawk in the Feeder, Raven, and Doves

Spring is a time for the birds. They seem to be everywhere and always making beautiful songs or calls to get each other’s attention. We have been keen to look out for new birds but the birds that came along this week were totally unexpected.

3 11 11 walking trail hummingbird

First, there was this Anna’s Hummingbird along our walking trail….he was giving his little squeaky sound which caught our attention. (If you click the link, there is a button to listen to what he sounds like.) I’m surprised that we were able to snap a good image of him before he sped off up the hill. I love that it is getting closer to hummingbird time in our yard….time to clean up the old feeder and get it hung on its hook.

3 10 11 Raven

Here is another bird that we heard before we saw him in our front yard. This Common Raven was up atop the utility pole across the street making a terrible racket. HERE is what he sounds like. There is a distinct difference between the sound of a crow and that of a raven. We have never had a raven here before at the house but I have seen them just up the road a bit so perhaps he was just passing through. (Sorry for the blurry photo but he didn’t let me get ready before he flew away.)

Mourning Doves on the Wall

The mourning doves have made themselves a common visitor to the frontyard feeder. They show up in a pair and strut around under the feeder to clean up after the sparrows who spill seed. The doves took a break on the new retaining wall, perhaps they felt at home with the metal quail sculptures there along the edge. It was worthy of a photo.

Mourning Dove 1

Here is a close up of one of the doves in my front yard under the feeding station. They are typically found scratching around the base looking for a little nibble. The sound they make as they fly away is like a whirring, you can hear it on the Cornell page.  (Scroll down and listen to the “wing whistle” clip.)

Swainsons Hawk

This one is hard to see but it is a Swainson’s hawk that is tormenting the birds in my yard. It has been here every day and is getting bolder and bolder. Mr. A saw him swoop down and get a sparrow and fly away. I have seen him making a move to the birds in the feeder and he actually perched on top of the feeding station one time. Today he landed on the ground near the feeder and looked right at me. Although I really think he is a beautiful, fascinating creature….I wish he would eat his lunch somewhere else.

“Their eyes are remarkably keen; they can see a moving creature from a great height, and can suddenly drop upon it like a thunderbolt out of a clear sky. Their wonderful eyes are far-sighted when they are circling in the sky, but as they drop, the focus of the eyes changes automatically with great rapidity, so that by the time they reach the earth they are nearsighted, a feat quite impoissible for our eyes unless aided by glassses or telescope.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 108 (section on hawks)

We had robins and cedar waxwings pass through again which is always interesting. There was also a honking V of Canada Geese that flew overhead this morning.  So ends our bird week in review….

What have you seen this week? Leave me a comment with your most interesting bird observation this week. I love to learn about new birds.