The kids spend hours burrowed into the bushes or poking through the grass, but we hadn’t done an official nature study lesson for a long time. That changed when Michael pulled a bunch of ivy down from one of our porch supports and brought an old bird’s nest down as well.
The “lesson” couldn’t have been simpler. We examined the nest, trying to figure out as much as we could about how it was put together. It really is a masterpiece of construction – as hard as a clay pot, but so much less brittle. Perfectly smooth on the inside, with a cushion of soft grasses.
Alex drew a picture of it and then dictated a description. One of the things I’m trying to do with nature study lessons is to improve her powers of observation and description; the original draft of this description said that the outside was “super messy,” until I prodded her for more accurate detail.
We found a bird’s nest when Dad was chopping down ivy. The inside of the nest is shaped like a cup and is very smooth. The outside is very rough and has twigs, bits of plastic, and dry grass sticking out of it. Once I found a different nest made of twigs and dry grass. This one is mostly made of mud. The nest is very strong and hard.
After we came back inside, we spent a fair amount of time reading this excellent page about birds’ nests and eggs. It seems most likely to us that this is a robin’s nest, and that the tiny woven-grass-only nest we found before was made by a house finch.
Alex lined the empty nest with soft leaves and hid it in a bush. She’s hoping a new bird will take up residence there. I see no reason to disillusion her.