Homeschool Science Lessons from Junk Birds

I am not quite sure how long the moniker “Junk Birds” has been around in our family.  Maybe after we dealt with bird mites invading our house one Spring.  I’m trying to forget that experience.

We don’t hate all birds.  We enjoy watching many kinds of birds.  My kids know how to identify a large amount of birds…hawks…vultures…and other flying things.  We occasionally see the beautiful white headed bald eagle flying over and around our farm.  I was shocked the day I was driving over the creek bridge to have a very large white headed bald eagle skim over the hood of my truck and continue flying down the creek.  It was one of those amazing moments.  I had only ever seen a bald eagle at the zoo in a huge bird cage.  Now they live across the road from me at the creek.  And we look for them  all the time, and sometimes we…though rare..see them flying high in the sky.

We once raised a baby falcon and once my boys thought they saw a flying Rhamphorhynchoid Pterodactyl.

So back to the junk bird story…

They are the black, squawking, good for nothing birds that daddy called “junk birds” one day and it stuck with the kids.  They aren’t beloved like the majestic robin or the beautiful blue bird.  They aren’t interesting like the killdeer bird and aren’t mysterious like the bats.  They aren’t electric like the humming birds…so they ended up with the name “junk birds”.

Since spring, the kids have been monitoring the trees and the bird houses and know the low down on the nests goin’ on around the farm.  The junk birds moved in our large back yard tree and have been making quite a racket.

Not too long after the junk bird nest was discovered, the boys found an abandoned baby bird down on the ground in the general vicinity of the junk bird nest.  They put the bird in a bit of hay inside the girl’s play house situated under the big tree.  Well, the girls found the baby bird in their play house and being the mommies they are…they instantly adopted the bird as their baby.  Which means… by day end… the bird was hopeless.

Big sister taught the little girls how the momma bird feeds her babies and showed them how to dangle a worm over the baby’s mouth and watch him open wide and gulp down the worm.  The little girls started digging for worms and took over the baby birdie care and feeding.  It was perfect, until the 3 year old stuck a piece of dog food in the baby bird’s mouth and choked it.  Big sister, being girl she is, saved the bird’s life by sticking her fingers down the bird’s throat and pulling out the large dog food chunk.  It was back to worms, eye droppers of water, lots of holding, 3 year old singing and “rest” for the baby bird in the hay pile in the girl’s playhouse.

The next day the bird disappeared.  The girls were sad.  The boys suspect the cat got it but didn’t announce their theory too loud for the girls to hear.

Fascinating lessons learned and memories made on that beautiful Spring day of taking care of a baby junk bird.


1 Comment

  • What a great science moment. And what a fun memory. Even if the birdy disappeared.I learned early on that my daughter was going to give ever dead animal she found a proper burial. We have our own little pet (and everything else) cemetery.