Saturday, April 27, 2013

For the Birds

       Evan was thrilled to once again have soccer practice this morning and I was thrilled to be able to watch him and take pictures.  He worked really hard on his ball handling skills and showed a remarkable amount of concentration. 

         Alec and Ian grumble and complain about coming but they often find things to do to occupy themselves since it's a big field and the team only uses a small portion of it.  The older boys and I were standing around talking and heard a funny whistling sound.  It took us a while to figure it out but we finally saw a boy siting on the rocks blowing through a blade of grass.  The boys wandered off and I returned to watching Evan.  Next time I did my sweep of the field looking for the older boys I saw Alec and Ian talking to the boy on the rock.  Alec, who's never shy and always curious has asked the boy how to do that and was trying very hard to learn.  He even found the boys mother standing next to me on the sideline and asked for her help in figuring out what he was doing wrong.  His hard work really paid off when he finally got the grass to whistle.  He was so proud of himself and couldn't wait to show off his new skill!

      After soccer I took the two younger boys to the Horizon Wings Raptor Rehabilitation and Education center.  I had read about their Earth Day celebration through a homeschooling group e-mail and thought it sounded like something Alec would just love.  We stayed for 3 hours and the place was actually very small but they had so many wonderful programs and people handling the birds so the kids could see them up close.  It was wonderful-- and cheap too!  Once we paid our $9 admission pretty much everything was included (though donations were asked for and in total we spent $20).  The boys got temporary tattoos painted on.  They filled out raffle tickets for prizes, and had tons of snacks, baked goods, and lemonade.  There were owl pellets for the kids to dissect and handouts that they could compare the bones they found with the ones on the page.  They had a great time playing with a birdsong machine learning all the different calls and sounds birds make.  We got to plant seeds into eggs shells and little cartons for taking home.  They got to pet a llama and talk about sheering the animal with the owner.  She showed the boys what types of things they can make with the llama fur once they spin it into thread/yarn.   We walked around and read about all the different birds they have.  We saw peregrine falcons, a barn owl, screech owls, a barred owl, a raven, a crow, a red shouldered hawk, a couple of vultures, two kestrels, and many more.  They listened to a story with the great horned owl.  It was a very fitting story about what to do if you find a baby bird.  All in all is was wonderful day and very informative.  The kids were so excited about everything they got to see and do. 

Evan's dragon tattoo

Alec's tattoo of a flower and some butterflies

using tweezers to pull out bones

Evan further dissecting his owl pellet

Alec plants a seed that we got to take home

Snack time!

presentation about the animals and the center

The male kestrel

Both the little screech owls

The turkey vulture

The boys learning about peregrine falcons

The raven

Alec asking about the red shouldered hawk

Story time

The great horned owl

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