Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Learning To Identify Birds and My Bird of The Year 2021

If you recall my 101 Things in 1001 Days List, learning to identify birds by sight and sound is #9 on my list. 

Identifying birds is something I've been doing since our homeschool days, but have gotten away from in recent years.  I even came across a form I made up just a few short years ago, for sighting a bird for the year as well as for noting other birds I observed and discovered.  I've updated that form, and if you're interested in printing out a copy, I'll provide a link below. 

Choosing a bird for the year is a fun tradition this time of year that I first heard of from my good friend and fellow seasonal blogger, Dawn. Dawn traditionally chooses hers based upon which bird she first spots each year. I did that for awhile, but as I often almost always first spotted chickadees, I began simply choosing a bird for myself. In the past I've tracked monthly sightings of chickadees, robins and even crows. This year, I've decided upon the cardinal. 

There are often meanings associated with different birds, and for the cardinal they include loyalty, as cardinals mate for life, good luck, it is believed in some cultures that you will have good luck within twelve days of the sighting, and the Indians believed they were spiritual messengers, and that upon sighting one the spirit of a loved one was nearby. Such a lovely bird with even lovelier sentiments!

In our homeschooling days there were a number of books that we enjoyed that taught us a lot about birds. I thought I might revisit a few of these and even use them to aide me in my sightings. Here are a few.

- Bird Neighbors by Neltje Blanchan (A personal favorite!)
- Birds Worth Knowing by Neltje Blanchan

In addition, I wanted to put you on to the sweetest little series of books, The Robin Redbreast Series by Madeline Leslie. Written in 1860, our Kate adored hearing the tales of the little robins when she was a little bird, herself.

They really are just the sweetest little books, and revisiting them brings back many pleasant memories. Before I discovered The Internet Archives, Google Play provided us with a large library of books from days gone by that added so much beauty to our curriculum. Sharing some of the resources we used in our homeschooling years is one of the things I've been considering sharing with you here. I once had a separate blog to house it, which boasts a pretty large archive. I can't decide whether to include it as part of this blog, or simply to reopen it and direct you there. What I do know is that there are many worthwhile books  that could easily be incorporated into your curriculum, or simply enjoyed with the littles in your life! Or, if you're like me and believe you will never outgrow children's literature, are equally as enjoyable as adults! I did want to mention that almost all the books linked above are also available at the archives. I chose to link them from Google Play because that is where most of my online library we used for homeschooking is housed. However you may find the format at the Archives more agreeable, in which case you could simply search there with the title of each book.

In the days to come I hope to craft a few bird treats to hopefully help attract a few cardinals and other winged friends, as well. I'll be sure to share! :) In the mean time if you want to select a bird for the year and track your sightings over the next twelve months, as well as keep a record of other birds you spot, you can download my updated form below.

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