Monday, May 07, 2007

The Arnold's have gone WILD!!!

On a daily basis, we see squirrels and a variety of birds- blue jays, woodpeckers, robins, cardinals, chickadees, hawks, ravens, starlings, mockingbirds, sparrows and the occasional hummingbird.

(We also hear the geese as they fly over us and head for the golf course!)We frequently see rabbits hopping through our yard and eating from the clover patches. Down the street by the old (RC Cola) barn we frequently see families of deer grazing the tall grass. We've seen turtles in the small rivers(One actually crossed our street in front of our house a year or so ago!) The kids have seen the neighborhood fox running through the field too! Well, over the past few weeks we've seen and interacted with some of Tennessee's wildlife more closely.

About a month ago (April 10th), I noticed a bird…a robin to be exact...was feverishly trying to build a nest on one of the columns on our front porch. I watched it for a while and was totally amazed at just how much work it takes a bird to put something like this together. It took her about a week just to get the supplies ready, then another week or so just to start building it! Even then, it took her a long time to build. She'd put stuff together, then take it apart and try something else. I got my kids into watching it too! It's been so good for them to see how wildlife really does it! Up until now, the girls knew birds built nests...but they didn't understand the process in which it was done! Even though we watched it build and start over for a few days, we were actually starting to think she might change where she wanted her nest to be because she couldn't get things to lay correctly in such a small place! Then one morning as the girls were getting ready to head to school, we noticed the nest had been completed!(April 18th) Mike got his phone out and took a picture...

Since then, we've watched the nest to keep track of its changes. About 2 weeks ago, Mike decided it was time to peek in the nest again to see what if anything was going on. We'd noticed that the robin was in her nest a lot more often than she had been, and started wondering if she had any eggs! We were surprised to see 3 small blue eggs! For Family Home Evening (FHE) Mike did a lesson on Heavenly Father's Creations...of course we focused mostly on the birds. We have a little story that talks about the nest building, egg laying, egg development, and baby bird development. It was so neat to read a story with the kids and have them personalize it! We've ready this book with them over and over, and treated it like just another book about how and why...but this time was different! We all were interested in what was going on! We learned that eggs usually take 12-14 days to hatch. We also learned that robins usually lay 4 eggs. When we showed the girls that Monday night...there were only 3 but a day or so later there were 4. The book also said the male or daddy bird stayed close to the nest to protect its territory, and that once the baby birds have hatched the mommy and daddy bird take turns feeding the babies. Mike was getting curious again about how the eggs were doing so he took another peek! At that time 2 of the eggs had we kept watching, and still we've only seen 3 baby birds. We think the 4th baby didn't make it for one reason or another. We've been watching them pretty closely.
The baby birds are now strong enough to stand up in the nest and demand food from their parents... The feeding itself has been quite interesting too...mommy and daddy bird take turns eating, and returning with food. Mommy bird sits on the nest while daddy bird is gone, then as he comes and lands on the edge of the nest, she takes off. Daddy bird never sits in the nest...he always stands on the edge and feeds the babies from there. It's really quite fascinating! We'll have to keep taking pictures and updating their progress over the next few weeks/month.

I have talked a lot about birds...but...we've had plenty of other things show up in our yard in the last day or two! I was bird watching and noticed a salamander on my front i grabbed a few pictures of that!

We saw a bunny hop through the yard...Metta was outside watching the bird nest in the tree by the girls bedroom window and saw a snake...we're pretty sure it was a black rat snake...yech!!!
Just not what you want to find in the tree right outside the girls bedroom window...heebeejeebees...all over!!!
Mike being Mike had the girls all into it wanting to touch it and hold it...shudder shudder shudder...NOT ME THANK YOU!!!
We've definitely had a busy "creature" week! Hope you enjoyed some of our learning experiences with us!


Anonymous said...

Hey Arnolds! That is so neat to read about your experience with the baby birds. I learned a lot just reading about all you learned. Maybe you should send an article into National Geographic! :) I think it's neat, too, how you taught your kids about our Heavenly Father's creations. I'm sure they will always treasure this memory.
We love you!
Linda, Joel & Dallin

Anonymous said...

This was really special. I'll bet the kids shared it at school too. You wouldn't catch me holding a snake.

Anonymous said...

Hi Arnolds,
The last comment was from mom. I'll get this thing figured out one day. By the way the photography is great!
Love yall.