Sunday, May 22, 2011

Birdwatching in Bermuda.

Jordan's class has spent a considerable amount of time these past few weeks learning about the native birds of Bermuda. There are several quite unique to the island, including some that were once thought extinct. Among the birds we see regularly, include the Great Kiskadee, Starlings, Sparrows, White-eyed Vireos, Long-tails, etc. Some are rarer - including the Eastern Bluebird. That little guy has faced some major problems with predators. It's making something of a comeback, in part through bird enthusiasts who build special blue bird houses.

Jordan takes bird watching very seriously. We've had several adventures over the past few weeks, including trips to Spittal Pond, the Botanical Gardens, and the Arboretum. I'd like to plan a trip to Nonsuch Island, where great effort has been done to help revive Bermuda Petrel (Cahows) colonies. These birds were thought extinct until a small colony of 16 birds was found residing in Bermuda.

Jordan really likes to become one with the environment, so he can study his subjects up close.

I'm not sure the birds are quite ready to accept him as one of their own yet.

Even when he tries to fly like them.

On Friday, we spotted some Eastern Blue birds..

Grey Catbirds..

And of course, the ever-present feral chickens.

Bird watching is pretty tiring.

Look how worn out we are.

Over the weekend, we had a rainy morning, so we made our own bird mobile. The template is here; we printed it in black and white and the kids colored it as they wanted. What I loved best was Jordan colored his birds to match the actual colors of a Great Kiskadee, a Long-tail, a cardinal, and an Eastern Bluebird. And he did it from memory.

Jordan's interest in birds had me curious to find other ways to learn more about the topic. One afternoon, I had an hour to kill before picking up the kid's from art class, so I stopped by the video store to see if they had any documentaries that were bird-related. I couldn't find anything on my own, but the clerk suggested this series produced by the BBC called "Life."

First, I was floored by the extremely helpful and knowledgeable advice I had just gotten. I'm pretty much used to being ignored here when I walk into a store. Thumbs Up for Phase One Video!

But after viewing the segment on birds on the DVD, I was really impressed. It's a great series. Particularly if you're like me - sort of a closet nature geek and love the shows on the National Geographic (hello, Shark Week!) or History channels. The kids enjoyed it, but I think Jeff and I were mesmerized. It just amazed me to see birds thriving in such extreme environments, each adapting to its surroundings as it had to.

And the photographic detail with which each segment was filmed was astonishing. These birds were amazing. Of course, a lot of their astonishing behavior was done in part to lure the females of the species. And like so many nature specials, what starts out as a G-rated movie quickly degenerates into the kind of behavior reserved for what "only married people should be doing," as my mother used to put it so eloquently.

Thankfully, all that bird flapping feather stuff went right over our kids heads. I think.
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