On November 21st, the The Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society (KTOS) and the Discover Birds Program hosted 33 students and their parent-teachers from the Blount Home Education Association at Ijams Nature Center for a great afternoon of discovering birds!
Paula Schneeberger, above, shows the students "bird treasures" and passes many items around to students for a closer look. Above, Paula holds a display of owl pellets and points out one that contains a complete tiny bird skull for the students to notice. Other items include bird eggs, nests, talons and feathers.
After the indoor program and a break, everyone gathered at the Ijam's outside pavillion to enjoy a beautiful Red-tailed Hawk exhibited by senior naturalist and author, Stephen Lyn Bales.
Red-tailed hawks live in Tennessee year-round and many hawks from northern areas come south to Tennessee to spend the winter. They hunt mice, voles and other small mammals by perching in an open area to find them with their keen eyesight. We often see them perched on posts and tree limbs along the side of roads and fields.
The hawk and its interesting story inspired lots of questions.
Next, the students had the opportunity to look at birds through the birding telescopes, also called birding "scopes".
A pair of Mourning Doves found perched on tree limbs at the edge of the field became the first birds they viewed and the birds remained still for everyone to get good looks.
Photo credit: Billie Cantwell
Mourning Doves (below) are named for their soft song that is often considered a sad or mournful song. They are ground feeding birds and will sometimes come to feeders and eat the seeds dropped on the ground or visit the bird bath for a drink.
Chris Welsh, below, takes his group on a wooded hike along the River Walk Trail.
Above, a wintering Hermit Thrush was one of the great finds on their bird walk. Be sure to click the link and listen to this bird's beautiful song
Each of the participating students received a Discover Birds Activity book to help continue their excitement and learning about birds.
For more information about the Discover Birds Program contact Billie Cantwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To order printed activity books, contact Cyndi Routledge at email@example.com.
To download and print the activity book, visit: The Tennessee Ornithological Society-Educational Resources page.
Discover Birds Program
Discover Birds Activity Book
Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society (KTOS)
KTOS on Facebook
Tennessee Ornithological Society
Blount Home Education Association
Stephen Lyn Bales
Ijams Nature Center
Tennessee Watchable Wildlife--Birds
Cornell's All About Birds--ID birds and their songs