As the winter approaches in Canada and the northern United States, there is a sweet little bird that finds itself with a lot fewer neighbors than during the summertime! As other birds fly south, the black-capped chickadee sticks out the cold and is fun to watch at bird-feeders or flitting from branch to branch in the forest.
These friendly little birds are a delight to all, including children. Curious and friendly, they have been known to alight on an outstretched hand offering some food! They are a good bird to watch in urban settings, and if you put up a bird feeder close to your classroom window, the black-capped chickadees will be sure to come by!
During the summer months, chickadees feed mostly on insects, grubs, fruit and seeds and they often hang upside down from the twigs as they feed. In order to survive the harsh winter months, when food is scarce, chickadees have evolved their beaks to enable them to crack the seeds of coniferous trees, which are high in fat and oil and available year round. Chickadees also use thermoregulation to lower their body temperature at night, enabling them to conserve energy.
Biologists studying the alarm calls of the black-capped chickadee discovered that the sound of the bird’s songs signal not only the presence but also the size of nearby predators.!
So, here are a few ideas for Lesson Plans:
1. First off, how about building a bird feeder, so that you can watch the chickadees! You can build one with a Plastic Milk Container or with a Milk Carton As for food, you can learn How to attract chickadees to your bird feeder?
2. What does the chickadee song sound like - you can listen to the video posted below - have a chickadee song contest and see who sounds the most like the bird itself!
3. Chickadees, like other creatures, have to watch out for predators such as owls and hawks. This is the web of life. Invite the children to draw a web of life. A good example for them to watch is the video of the Interconnected Principle of the Little Earth Charter
which can be viewed at: www.littleearthcharter.org
Interconnections: Many species have evolved their anatomies in some way for survival or a better quality of life. In an earlier Blog about the toucan, I mentioned how toucan’s beaks actually cool them down. Hummingbirds have evolved their long beaks to enable them to reach deep into flowers to drink the nectar and in some cases plants are believed to have evolved their flowers to attract more hummingbirds!
Song! I have up-loaded the Chickadee Blues song and lyrics to my MySpace page, so the kids can sing along!
Story! There is a story that I know, which you can share with the children, but it is a little sad, so obviously it is at your discretion. It is a Cree story called
Book! A fabulous book about chickadees is Get That Chickadee Feeling! By Frank Glew
Information: More information on chickadees can be found at:
And finally I found this video of a black-capped chickadee singing! I have up-loaded it to my Myspace page, but it is also on Youtube at:
Black-capped chickadee sings!
In joy and gratitude for this life!