This post has taken me a little longer to get out because I was waiting to take the kids back to visit a hawk nest (more on that soon.) I wanted to take this week to share with everyone our wildlife adventures both at the homestead and during our homeschool outings.
The kids go outside pretty much every day, and who can really blame them with woods and a creek in their backyard. While they are out there, other than annoying each other, they tend to find tons of wildlife. All things they find they catch and take pictures of, sometimes they even take notes and measurements. When they are done getting their information and searching through field guides for a possible identification they put the animal back where they found it.
Our property has about 10 acres, most of which are wooded. I chose this property so that my kids could run around outside and explore without bothering the neighbors. I wanted them to discover things and have a good connection with nature so that they will grow up to respect our planet. I know that getting them excited about nature will help them make good decisions as they get older in regards to how they treat the planet.
Now for our latest Wildlife Adventure. As I stated earlier I was waiting to write this until we had gone back to the hawk’s nest. Two weeks ago we were at a birthday party (Hi Girls) at a local park. I was standing in the sun soaking up its lovely warmth when a hawk flew into a nearby tree. I called to all the kids, who dropped their pizzas and came running to see. We stood there in the beautiful sunlight and let the kids take turns locating the hawk. At this point, the bird took off and landed in a nest!!! Yup right above the shelter we were at happened to be a hawks nest. We couldn’t believe it!! I have never seen a hawks nest and was probably as thrilled as the kids. We sat and watched the nest, passing around the one pair of binoculars that happened to be there. The hawk flew back and forth to the nest carrying twigs and other building material. We would occasionally catch a glimpse of the hawk’s mate, adding to the nest but also flying around calling out. It was so amazing to see two hawks just hanging out in the area and fairly close. When we left I promised the kids that I would bring them back once a week until we could see if the babies have hatched.
Fast forward a week. I decided we needed to share this amazing discovery with other families, so I created a bird-watching meet-up in one of our homeschool groups. We meet at the park and had approx. 16 kids at the meet-up. As if on cue as we were all watching the tree up popped the most fluffy cute white head, a Baby Hawk!!!! The kids were thrilled, all trying to get a good look. While everyone was taking a turn to see the little baby, my oldest and I were walking the tree with a few of the others looking at the base to see what we could observe. We noticed a lot of bird poop! As we were discussing why the best thing happened. My oldest got pooped on. He just stood there in a little bit of shock before he realized baby hawk just pooped on him.
Needless to say, the baby hawk was a hit! After making our observations and listening to the calls from mom and dad we decided that this was a Red-Shouldered Hawk. If you follow my Facebook Page you can see more updates on baby each week.
Hawks are so much fun but so is spotting a rare snake. We had the opportunity to get up close and personal with a Mole Kingsnake. This was a brand new snake for all of us. These snakes are very rare to see because they tend to live underground and a rarely found above ground. This also means that not much is known about them as they are hard to study in the wild. We found this amazing creature in our driveway after we scared a hawk away from it. My guess is that our new friend was crossing the driveway when the hawk tried to snatch a quick meal. My youngest happened to see the hawk and ran out screaming trying to protect the chickens. Instead, he ended up protecting a really cool snake. As you can see below he is beautiful and well worth saving.
We have so many amazing wildlife adventures, usually catching at least one thing every time we are outside. For those of you that have wildlife adventures as well please visit my resources page and check out some of the apps we like to use while out and about. I hope you have found this brief glimpse into our daily adventures fun. Please enjoy more cool wildlife findings and remember the best way to get your kids to love all that is around them is to bring them out in it and let them explore!