Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New Little Birders

As part of a thematic unit on birds, Jops and I were invited by his teacher friend to give a talk to grade schoolers about birdwatching. The multi-age class we visited was composed of 14 very eager 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders, raring to share what they have already learned about birds and also to learn something new.

After meeting their Science teacher, we entered the classroom and as we brought in our scope, camera, and binoculars, we already saw their eyes grow big and their mouths go round. As Jops was setting up the laptop, I asked the kids to share what they already know about birds. It was so much fun seeing so many little hands shoot up with matching excited faces saying "Pick me! Pick me!" 

We really enjoyed hearing their excited answers:

"Birds can fly!"

"Birds eat insects!"

"Birds eat fruits and seeds!"

"Birds have feathers!"

We proceeded in giving them a short introduction about what birdwatching is, teaching them the difference of a pet bird versus a wild bird, and why they shouldn't buy wild birds even if they want to set them free.

Jops discussing different habitats with the kids.

We also shared with them the different habitats the birds live in, the things birders use for birding, proper birding behavior, and also asked them to observe and share the "field marks" they see in a couple of bird photos we showed them.

We didn't really expect to do actual bird watching but as the lecture was winding down, a little boy called my attention and started saying "I see a bird! I see a bird!" He was excitedly pointing outside their classroom window to a couple of Yellow-vented Bulbuls perched on top of their school's water tank! We put the birds on the scope and let the kids see them. They were all so excited! 

Everyone gathered by the classroom window to spot the
Yellow-vented Bulbuls.

Jops also let the kids try taking some shots with his camera!

They all wanted to try taking photos!

We also had some time to go out to their small playground and spot a Zebra Dove and some Eurasian Tree Sparrows. 

Falling in line to see the birds in their
playground!
It's always a great thing teaching children, especially if it is something you are passionate about. Talking about birding is always fun and even funner with young kids. Their curiosity, honest reactions, and genuine delight is... refreshing! 

We said our goodbyes and exited the school to questions of when and where we will be birdwatching next! I guess, based on that alone, they enjoyed the morning as much as we did =)

Oh, and we got an awesome "bonus" from our morning with the kids: our first Brown Shrike of the season =)

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