Bird Art Contest

Right outside our dining room window is a bird feeder. Actually it feeds a little nation of birds and throughout the winter, there’s this continual parade of avian visitors that we enjoy watching. Some of these feathered folk are as fat and round as ripe oranges and are absolutely adorable. They make a beautiful splash of color against the generally snowy background of January in Maine.

About 2 years ago, I took all these pictures, and had the older boys memorize the names of some of the most common birds to visit the feeder, and thought I’d do so again with Raveen. Maybe this way he’ll quit hollering, “look Mom, a fat bird!” or “a red bird” and sound a bit more intelligible about what he’s seeing. Plus it’s a good way to get him introduced to nature identification guides. The Hubster’s decided to join us as he discovered that he knows the names of a grand total of 4 (count ‘em, FOUR!) birds and that’s after a childhood of growing up in Maine! He’s convinced there’s a Finch in there somewhere too and doesn’t believe me when I tell him he’s not pointing to right one…Heheheee…

I’m going to have the boys sit down with a bird field guide next week and have them list and classify and memorize the birds pictured below. Then I’ll have them memorize a bird poem, write a bird story, and draw/paint a bird picture, and get some bird related reading from the library. Ta da…science, writing, reading, penmanship, and art all in one go (gotta make the most of it :)) Plus, this will hopefully boost my homeschooling efforts this last month before the baby comes as I must confess to being quite unmotivated lately.

I thought it would be fun to also have an art contest for anyone else that wants to do this little ‘bird unit’ with us. The boys always do better when they know their friends are doing the same thing and since we’re not part of a co-op right now, maybe some of our long-distance friends will want to join us.

So here are the Bird Art contest guidelines (participants can be between ages 6-10):
1. Use a field guide and identify the birds pictured below. Memorization is an option. (I’d also love it if you’d send us a list or better yet, photographs of some birds that you might have commonly visit your part of the world just so we can see how different regions support different bird life.)
2. Submit a drawing/painting/collage of bird art by Jan 31st for the contest. I’ll post all the entries on the blog. The winner will get one of my favorite illustrated books, The Bird Alphabet Book by J. Pallota. I love this book simply for the amazing artwork.
Just let me know in the comment section if you plan on having your kids participate so I know to expect an entry(s) from your family.

O.K. onto the birds we see most often up here in New England: (ahem, the “0″ is because our math program starts counting with the zero concept :))

Some “bird” resources we’ve used before (please share any of your favorites with us!):
I like the Peterson First Guide for Birds for pre k – 1st grade, and the more advanced Peterson Guides for older grades. The First Guide has pics of all the above birds and is great for the young ‘uns.

The Burgess Bird Book for Children (paperback) or the free online book at the Baldwin Project or the free audio book through Librivox. We started this book before as a read-aloud a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it.

The “lets-read-and-find-out-science” series has a couple of simple reads like “A Nest Full of Eggs (level 1)”, and “How Do Birds Find Their Way? (level 2)”

Online digitally recorded bird songs/sounds

Bird poems (though I’d look through these after identifying the birds using a field guide first if you want to teach them how to use a handbook as several of the poems have pictures of the birds as well as their names)

Facebook comments:

January 10, 2009 - 4:42 pm

Vicki Miller - We want in!!!

January 10, 2009 - 5:43 pm

Edward and Gretchen - What a great idea. The Carels are in.

January 10, 2009 - 9:24 pm

Amy & Bella - Count the Moody’s in. Bella is actually doing Apologia’s Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day, so we are big into birds :-)

January 12, 2009 - 12:38 pm

Sherrie - Briana’s in!

January 12, 2009 - 5:27 pm

Crystal - I love how you think outside of the box. And I LOVE the link you sent me, although i don’t take pictures myself, photography really inspires me. And like you, I can respond to good art/sewing/decor in the same way, asking myself…will I ever get there? But I think the journey is the point, not just the end result.

January 13, 2009 - 1:33 am

Travis - The Joneses want some of the action!

January 13, 2009 - 4:07 pm

Amy Moody - did you photograph all those different birds?! If so, you guys get a great variety – they are beautiful.

January 13, 2009 - 5:38 pm

Shipra - oh, how fun. I was hoping for at least 5 kids other than our own to join us!! The boys are excited to see what everyone submits and I think the head kids librarian at our local library is going to judge the contest.

And yes, Amy, I took those pics two years ago when someone let me borrow a telephoto lens. I was able to get close ups though I was indoors and shooting through one of those tinted double-paned windows! Don’t have the lens anymore but it’s on my wishlist :)

January 14, 2009 - 2:10 am

Life on The Rowland Ranch - The Rowland family is in too!

January 14, 2009 - 4:42 pm

Bridget - The McKenzie’s are “for the birds” so we want to join too!! Can’t wait!! What an awesome idea!

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