Slice of Life- March 2, 2013 #slice2013




Today was the culminating activity for the science enrichment class I am teaching with my biology colleague (and my biology teacher!).  We spent 3 hours traipsing about the woods with the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders and it was a great time.  We built eco-art, played games, and did some hiking.  It was cold, and even flurried for a good amount of time, but what a great day!


But my favorite part of the (freezing) day was on our walk back up to the parking lot.  I had been keeping an eye out for bluebirds, as I have been seeing them for the past few weeks but rarely have my camera with me.  I was thrilled to spot a group of bluebirds a few minutes later and whipped out my camera.  As I started snapping pictures, I got the attention of a few of our students.  They all froze and watched the birds as they hopped from branch to branch.


A pair of Eastern Bluebirds in Michigan, USA.

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds in Michigan, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Whoa!  I’ve never seen a real blue bird before!”, one student exclaimed with quiet glee.


“Me either,” a few others responded.


At that moment, I realized I was in my twenties the first time I saw a bluebird in New Jersey.  They were forced out of most areas by development and many conservation groups have been working hard to restore the population over the past fifty years.  Now, we are finally getting more of them in Monmouth County.


We watched the flock quietly for a few more moments, noting the contrast between the male and female bluebirds, and the sharp contrast between the red cardinal and the bluebirds.  It was a magical few minutes.  The bluebirds are just so bright and look like tropical birds flitting between the winter branches and few stalks of long grass.  They put a smile on anyone’s face!


I was so happy to be able to introduce these middle school students to the Eastern bluebird, and hopefully awaken a love of nature in them (even more than our 3 hour winter hike, maybe!).  Nature really is amazing!


A very blurry picture of one of the male Eastern bluebirds.  It's hard to keep the camera steady when your hands are frozen!

A very blurry picture of one of the male Eastern bluebirds. It’s hard to keep the camera steady when your hands are frozen!

8 Responses

  1. Great post.

    You know I have Zipidee-doo-dah going through my head now, Sarah!

  2. So cool! We live in a pretty rural area – not a lot of bluebirds but tons of cardinals. My husband is from Chicago. He hadn’t seen a cardinal until he moved down here – something that always surprises me.

  3. Oh how cool. I love spring because the birds are returning.

  4. The other day, I saw two red cardinals zoom in front of our large window of the sun room, which for us is a good sign that spring has to be coming (please, soon?). We don’t see as many bluebirds as we used to, though.

  5. Sounds like you had a great day! I haven’t seen any bluebirds yet this year, but I’m on the lookout for them.

  6. Love the photos. We had a summer day here yesterday in San Diego, up in the 80’s today back to spring rain. You have to catch the warmth when you can get it.

  7. I had an instant connection to this post, as just this past week I was blessed by sighting a red-shouldered hawk landing in my neighbor’s tree. It was cordial enough to stay awhile and let me snap pics. I found out later that we are on the edge of its territory; so lucky to have seen it! Your students are lucky to have you as their teacher, pointing them to those quiet, observant moments in nature.

  8. I keep my binoculars by my back door to catch the birds in the trees. I’m going to begin keeping my camera there too because they always seem to be gone by the time I run to get it. I haven’t seen any bluebirds lately, but I’m hearing a lot more singing in the mornings. Great photos!

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