A Note To Parents: We make every effort for Roxanne's blog to be a SAFE site for children. Whenever possible, activities are in pdf format or link to safe sites for children. Please feel free to use the information in these posts for homeschool studies! All rights reserved by author and nature photographer, Virginia Parker Staat.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Birds, birds, and more birds!

Missy watches birds with binoculars.
It is a cold day in Texas.  We are having another winter storm with sleet and a little snow.  All the schools and many stores are closed.  We are staying inside where it is warm.  Missy tells us that it snows a lot in the winter in Colorado.  We rarely have snow in our part of Texas.

Today is a good day for Missy to learn about Texas birds.  We always have lots of birds at our bird feeders.  This time of year we also have many very special birds visiting Texas.  These birds have two homes.  They nest in one home and winter in their other home.  Twice a year, the birds fly from one home to the other.  This is called migration.

Many birds migrate to our part of Texas in the winter.  They leave their homes in the cold country and migrate here to stay warm.  Some of these birds fly all the way from the Arctic ocean!

Central Flyway Migration map (courtesy Texas Parks & Wildlife)
The most famous Texas migratory bird is the whooping crane.  Whooping cranes nest in northern Canada and migrate to the Texas coast every winter.  They fly over 5,000 miles to get here!  In 1941 only 14 whoopers were still living in the wild.  People in Canada and Texas began to work together to save the whoopers.  It worked!!!  Now there are over 250 whooping cranes that come to Texas every year.

At our house, we have many migratory birds that visit us every winter.  Hawks and hummingbirds migrate here.  We also have many warblers and flycatchers.  Sometimes we even have spoonbills and the bright red scarlet tanager.

We knew that the birds would be hungry today because of the cold weather.  We filled our bird feeders early this morning.  Soon many, many birds came to visit.  Here are a few that Missy saw:

An American Goldfinch poofing up his feathers to keep warm.
Red Cardinal
Black-capped Chickadee
Mourning Dove
Downey Woodpecker
Red-breasted Robin
Blue Jay
Carolina Wren
Missy and I had fun watching the birds today.   We learned a lot about Texas birds and migratory birds.  If you would like to know more about Texas birds, we have found some great information for you.

Just click here to learn more about Texas backyard birds:  Texas Backyard Birds

Here's a great activity book about Texas birds:  Texas Birds Activity Book

If you would like to learn more about whooping cranes, click here:  Whooping Cranes

You can also check out these great books from your library:
  • Backyard Bird Watching for Kids by George H. Harrison
  • On the Wing:  American Birds in Migration by Carol Lerner
  • The Peregrine's Journey:  A Story of Migration by Madeleine Dunphy
  • How Do Birds Find Their Way? by Roma Gans
  • Whooping Cranes by Karen Dudley

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