Bird Brains

by Stefani on 11-September-2007

The Birds

My boys have always been really interested in birds. I can remember when Luke was not yet two and James was maybe 8 months old. Daddy was travelling and we were stuck inside on account of an ice storm.

We stayed in our pajamas for half the day, Luke balanced on the windowsill, James propped up in my lap, just watching a pair of cardinals make a nest outside our living room window.

They’ve been suckers for their feathered friends ever since.

I was thinking of getting them Bird Songs, but hadn’t made up my mind to order it yet, when I ran across these amazing birds from Wild Republic.

They make dozens of replicas of real birds. Each one is equipped with a sound chip that allows it to make the bird’s actual call when you squeeze it. They are the combined effort of Wild Republic toymakers, Audubon, and the Cornell College of Ornithology. So cool! They have started a craze in our house.



My guys are on a mission to learn all they can about the birds that they see, from their habits, to their markings, to their songs.

You know what I love about that? I love that they make me stop and pay attention too. Kids are so good that way… making you put aside your silly adultness and just be in awe of the world for a moment.

We have watched, a rather lot, lately, from Pigeons, which, as the book will tell you, are quite remarkable creatures,


to the lowly and incredibly irritating, though intersting in its own right, Grackle.


We thought it would be a good idea to put up some pinecone feeders (pinecones, slathered in Crisco and peanut butter, then rolled in seed), just outside our “Discovery Room” (aka classroom) window, to lure the neighborhood birdkind in, for observation purposes.


And that, friends, is why I have to go and scrub my kitchen now. Every imaginable surface is covered in peanut butter and Crisco. Should there be an interruption in the food supply, know that you can come over and lick my cabinets. We believe in sustainability, you know.

On another note, I feel a need to give you fair warning.

Friday will be my 100th post. To celebrate this (mildly) monumental event, I will be hosting my first giveaway contest, and will also be making a BIG announcement. It’s HUGE, people, you don’t want to miss out 😉 So, whatever you do, be back here on Friday!

Now… off to battle the peanut butter. It’s for the birds, I tell you.

mountain mama September 11, 2007 at 8:09 pm

We are bird watchers too! The previous owners were kind enough to plant some sort of flowers outside the dining room window that attracts hummingbirds. We see beautiful little birds flitting around dipping their beaks for nectar. We also have hanging birdfeeders and toss out leftovers for the birds to nibble on. The girls love to look for feathers and I get them to guess what bird it came from.

Mmmm.. peanut butter. But I’ll stick to licking the knife, thank you.

100 posts coming up!! Whoo-hoo! Let’s party! :o)

Marjorie September 11, 2007 at 8:15 pm

Oooo.. I am intrigued for Friday. I can’t wait!

Sarah Jackson September 11, 2007 at 8:34 pm

Sounds like a fun, messy day! Annika has a deep suspicion of birds, so we’ve never gotten close enough to explore the bird world. The exception is the hummingbirds that hang out in the back yard. She loves those as long as they don’t come too close. Your 100th post is going to be on my wedding anniversary – I’m all aquiver!

Steph September 11, 2007 at 9:27 pm

Ohhh can’t wait for Friday!!

I’m not into birds at all but watching them build a nest is like watching fish feeding, you just can’t help but get swept up in it. Learning their personalities just from the way they interact that one time with the other birds. And those plush birds are such a cool idea for little bird lovers!!

dianeinjapan September 11, 2007 at 9:59 pm

Crows are really fascinating. If your boys are interested in them, you should check your library for “Crows! Strange and Wonderful” by Laurence Pringle, illustrated by Bob Marstall. Our family recently met and went to dinner with Mr. Marstall, and he gave us a print of one of the book’s illustrations. We’ve since enjoyed learning more about crows and how smart they are!

Anne September 11, 2007 at 10:51 pm

We love birds as well-I really like the photos you took of them. I can’t wait until Friday!

Amber September 11, 2007 at 10:55 pm

We are totally into birds right now too! We are going through the book “Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day” for science. We don’t get too many different types since we live in Hawaii but we’re having lots of fun discovering the ones who come to our bird feeders.

Ali September 12, 2007 at 2:01 am

Dropping by from Kirstencan. I made those pinecone feeders as a craft project at a school fundraiser two years ago.

Never, ever again!! Oh, the mess. But on the flip side I had wonderfully soft hands afterwards! Hope you lure the birds successfully.

Angela (Robinson County) September 12, 2007 at 5:16 am

Ok, that’s it…I can’t stand it anymore–can I please enroll in your home school!? You never cease to amaze me with more ways of making learning fun!

I can’t wait for Friday. I love BIG announcements…and contests!

Amy September 12, 2007 at 6:08 am

Whenever we hang out something like that we get completely mobbed but nasty squeaking starlings. But I love the IDEA of it anyway. And that bird drawing? Eeeeek!!

Fritters on your grandma’s quilt below — too, too good. Making a grandma/grandpa book is such a wonderful idea!

kirsten September 12, 2007 at 6:27 am

love it. child-led learning is the best. i do like how it makes you pay attention. i catch myself saying ‘ooh, look a train (or police car, or digger, etc.) when my kids aren’t in the car with me!

Sarah September 12, 2007 at 6:54 am

I’ve seen that bird songs book at Costco, it is totally cool and Jack adored it.

Eren September 12, 2007 at 7:07 am

You know of course, we love birdies here too. We got a great tape of bird songs from Dover Publishing that was on sale last month…not sure of the exact price, but it was less than $5 and the boys love it! It drives our “bird dog” nutso, but we are now able to identify a few birds by their sounds. So fun!!!

shula September 12, 2007 at 7:42 am

They do a line of these in Australian Native Birds, too. We drove the shop girl nearly insane, playing with them.

Heather September 12, 2007 at 5:02 pm

We so love birds in this household too! I could go on and on (and some day I will) about my own personal history with birds. I just read about your momo today… so touching, I just wanted to sit and cry with happiness. I am so glad that you had a woman like that in your life. Everyone should.

Vanessa September 12, 2007 at 5:04 pm

the first bird photo in your post is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!

Molly September 12, 2007 at 6:26 pm

I’ve always wanted to know more about birds. To be able to identify birds by sight and sound would be amazing. Alas, I haven’t been able to convince my children to pick up this avenue of study. Maybe one day.

kristin September 12, 2007 at 8:06 pm

we have some of those birdies…regular sized and the minis…my husband is a bird-guy and is amazed at the realistic sound they make…

oh, you continue to inspire me…

kristin September 12, 2007 at 8:06 pm

by the way,

i am oh so eager for friday…wow.

leslie September 13, 2007 at 6:13 am

“grackle” ??? that bird looks cool, i just heard a reference to a grackle in an audio book the same day i had read your post. not sure if we have these around my house, he looks very mischevious to me! our peanut butter birdfeeder was picked over by our resident squirrel!

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