Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Discover Birds Visits 240 Students at Sevierville Primary School!

Seven volunteers from the Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society visited Sevierville Primary School on May 23rd to present the Discover Birds Program to 240 second graders and their teachers! 
Photo by Tom Howe

Students were divided into groups to rotate through the three parts of the program, a slide show introduction to birds, a show-and-tell session with bird related items, and a guided bird walk.  
 Photo by Warren Bielenberg.
Suzie Kaplar introduces students to birds with a slide show.  Photo by Tom Howe.

Photo by Warren Bielenberg.  Doug Schneeberger, above, talks with students about bird skeletons, feathers, nests, eggs and other items that are passed around for students to see closely.

Students were equipped with binoculars and bird ID cards to help them see and identify birds as they broke into small groups of twelve for their bird walks.  Bird walks were led by Chris Welsh, Tony King, Warren Bielenberg, Kris Johnson and Tom Howe.  
Photo by Warren Bielenberg

Tom described his experience with students:  "It was great fun with great weather. The students had awe-inspiring looks at birds through the spotting scopes including Tree Swallows, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Mourning Doves and an Eastern Kingbird. Students saw many more birds with binoculars, including Chimney Swifts, Blue Jays, Eastern Towhees and Carolina Chickadees. The big birds elicited the biggest response--a monstrous great blue heron, a red-tailed hawk and turkey vultures!" 
Photo by Tom Howe

"Sarah Greene, the lead teacher, filled the school's bird feeders and put seed on the classroom window sills which afforded many good looks at a variety of birds. Shortly after explaining how pishing provokes birds into mobbing behavior, because, it's believed, that it sounds like a wren scolding a predator, we saw a Red-winged Blackbird chasing off a predatory Red-tailed Hawk by dive-bombing it. Other highlights included Chris Welsh finding a gray catbird's nest and showing the students a picture he took of the eggs, explaining, it's best not to disturb a nest with a crowd. We had a great time and look forward to next year!"
Above, Warren shows students a bird they've identified on their ID guide.  Photo by Tom Howe
Photo by Warren Bielenberg

Warren described the students as very knowledgeable about birds and nature and interested, asking many questions.  "I think we ended up with about 25 species during the morning.  We, had great views of Eastern bluebirds and Tree swallows in the birdhouses.  Carolina chickadees, Mourning doves, Northern Cardinals and Eastern Towhees were seen at the feeders.  We also found some spittlebugs, caterpillars, raccoon tracks and scat. All in all, a good morning!"
Above, Tree Swallows in the process of nest building on the Sevierville Primary School campus.

A big thank you to Sarah Green and her fellow teachers at Sevierville Primary School for inviting the Discover Birds Program into their classrooms and for sharing their bird-friendly outdoor campus.
Each student and teacher received a Discover Birds Activity Book, compliments of KTOS.

Thank you also to KTOS Discover Birds volunteers Susie Kaplar, Tony King, Chris Welsh, Kris Johnson, Warren Bielenberg, Doug Schneeberger and Tom Howe for making this program happen!

Links and Resources:

KTOS--Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society
KTOS on Facebook
Discover Birds Program
Discover Birds Activity Book
online version--Discover Birds Activity Book
Discover Birds Curriculum Guide
Discover Birds in the Tennessee Conservationist
eBird at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Tennessee Birds
Tennessee Watchable Wildlife--Birds
Cornell's free beginning birding app--Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Audubon Mobile Field Guides
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