“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of
strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
- Rachel Carson
I observed this Cooper's hawk (above) catching prey the other day.
"A Cooper's Hawk captures its prey with its feet and kills it by repeatedly squeezing. Falcons tend to kill their prey by biting it, but Cooper’s Hawks hold their catch away from the body until it dies." Read more at Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Making a mind-body-soul (spirit) connection
I love good surprises and this was one of the best. I unexpectedly got to spend the day and night with my granddaughter over the weekend. I live in the city during the winter months, instead of in the mountains where she's used to visiting me. The first thing she wanted to do was go for a walk so we headed to my favorite pond where a lot of geese and ducks live and play. We, of course, took our cameras.
She'd been told by someone (an authority figure in her life) that geese would attack her so she was at first a bit trepidatious, but a friendly goose walked right up to us. Someone had obviously fed him before. He stopped about a foot from us and I was able to show her how there wasn't anything to fear. I put up open palms showing no food and the goose immediately understood and began foraging for blades of grass and roots. (At my cabin, she's used to the gray jays landing on her hand.) I then taught her how to observe when geese got frightened or when they felt threatened and explained other things like what they were eating. I showed her how they often travel in pairs since geese mate for life. She quickly relaxed and felt completely comfortable.
It's important to teach children safety around wild animals but I don't agree with instilling fear. Teaching a child to be wise is much different than teaching him/her to be fearful. I spend a lot of time around geese. I've never had one charge me, but I recognize their warning honk when they get upset. These are the things a child can learn and from which they can benefit. I don't agree with teaching a child to be fearful.
“What do parents owe their young that is more important than
a warm and trusting connection to the Earth?”
- Theodore Roszak, The Voice of the Earth
My granddaughter with a gray jay - by B. Seeton - CLICK TO READ ABOUT GRAY JAYS
Taking walks with your children is a great way to have fun while teaching them about life. Depending on what's available, you get to introduce them to all kinds of birds, vegetation, animals and insects. It can give them a lifelong love and appreciation for all living creatures, as well as develop an ongoing curiosity to explore the outdoors. It's a perfect time to chat about anything, not just what you're seeing. It also presents opportunities to teach about things like weather, conservation, nature, the seasons, or recycling, and it's a great way to naturally exercise. I think it feeds the whole mind-body-spirit.
This woodpecker (below) was in the area I took my granddaughter on our walk, but we didn't get to see him the day I took her there. I wish she could have seen him chipping away at this tree! You could see him flicking the bigger wood chips off with his beak.
So why does a woodpecker peck wood?
“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity
belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong,
we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
When my granddaughter and I ran across a trash sack blown into the weeds and another in the water, it was the perfect opportunity to talk about giving up plastic bags at the grocery store and to tell her why they are so bad for the environment. To quote the Surfrider Foundation: "...more than a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die every year from ingestion of or entanglement in plastics."
I took the pledge to stop using plastic bags on March 10, 2010. It took me a long while to change my ways and to remember to bring my canvas bags. Countless times I had the best of intentions but I would find myself at the grocery checkout and then remembered that I forgot my bags! What I chose to do to retrain myself was to buy new bags at the register instead of using plastic sacks. I bought a lot of bags! I was frustrated that I wasn't able to just make the change over night. But I never gave up trying and now it's something that is almost automatic. I'm at least much, much better at remembering to use them nearly every single time.
Another thing you can do with your child is to bring your own trash bag and pick up trash you see along the way so that you leave the park or the area you're traveling through better than you found it. Picking up one item that someone else left behind teaches compassion, respect and is an expression of generosity.
“As a child, one has that magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unselfconsciously to the soughing of the trees.” -Valerie Andrews, A Passion for this Earth
baby red fox squirrel - Wikipedia
"Squirrels breed once or twice a year, and give birth to a varying number of young after three to six weeks, depending on species. The young are born naked, toothless, helpless, and blind. In most species of squirrel, only the female looks after the young, which are weaned at around six to ten weeks of age.
Female red fox squirrels can live up to 12.6 years and males around 8.6 years. They have excellent vision, with a well developed sense of hearing and smell." Source: wikipedia
“Without continuous hands-on experience, it is impossible for children to acquire a deep intuitive understanding of the natural world that is the foundation of sustainable development. A critical aspect of the present-day crisis in education is that children are becoming separated from daily experience of the natural world, especially in larger cities.” -Natural Learning, Creating Environments for Rediscovering Nature’s Way of Teaching, Robin C. Moore and Herb H. Wong
Here are a couple of things you can pass along to your
kids the next time you see some geese and ducks:
Come Give Aunt Rita a Big Hug! - by Betsy Seeton
"While many people only hear the trademark “honk” when geese make noise, there is evidence that Canada geese can communicate with different sounds. Scientists believe that there are as many as 13 different Canada goose calls for things like greetings, warnings and contentment.
Canada geese may be one of the most talkative animals after humans. Goslings, or baby geese, begin communicating with their parents while still in the egg! Once hatched, there is also evidence that they respond differently to different calls and noises from their parents, indicating a sophisticated level of communication." Read more from www.ducks.ca
Birdwatching is your lifetime ticket to the theater of nature.
Click the link above
click to read HOW BALANCE IS KEY IN LIFE
Mallard ducks (male with green head and female with the brown and tan) are considered to be the most abundant ducks on earth. Source: National Geographic
WHERE DOES THE WORD "DUCK" COME FROM?
Wikipedia: The word duck comes from Old English *dūce "diver", a derivative of the verb *dūcan "to duck, bend down low as if to get under something, or dive", because of the way many species in the dabbling duck group feed by upending; compare with Dutch duiken and German tauchen "to dive".
Duck Facts by funshun.com
Physical Differences: Crows average around 17 inches long, and ravens about 24-27.
Here's a great link for parents, teachers and children on Cornell Edu website:
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/celebration/birds/brooklyn-new-school-kindergarten Or you can click on the image below to enter their website. There's a great article about what bird watching teaches children.
Here's an excerpt:
The Brooklyn New School kindergarten has been studying pigeons! Teacher Kori Goldberg writes," We have been studying pigeons this fall by observing them in our Brooklyn neighborhoods, reading about pigeons, comparing them to other birds through a focus on bird's feet and beaks and by creating pigeons out of found materials. We also sing a song about pigeons! We are having a great time and will conclude this part of our studies by inviting families to our 'Pigeon Museum'.
A few years ago I asked a child why he thought pigeons bob their head when they walk. At first he said, "Kori, I don't know." But then he thought and added, "Maybe the wind is their music and they are keeping the beat with their heads."
Below are typical winter images that you'll see in Colorado. They're great subjects to photograph because of the textures and colors.
It's easy to see why it's called The Great Outdoors!
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I visited the Tiger Temple in Thailand & later found out it is under investigation for tiger trafficking and animal abuse. Read full story. In 2015 it was raided. More than 100 tigers and protected bird species in Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua, popularly known as the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province were impounded by authorities following complaints that the temple was alleged to engage in illegal wildlife trading.
"The moment one gives close attention to anything,
even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious,
awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself."
~ Henry Miller
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Read about life in the woods with Chippy & the crew...