Nature Notes from Common Ground
Week of April 5, 2021
Robins are back!
In just this past week, we’ve seen American Robins (turdus migratorius) return to our campus at Common Ground. Our site seems to be very popular with robins; in past years we’ve observed nearly a dozen different nests in just the area between the outdoor classroom and the farm.
Though their scientific name points to the fact that they do migrate, many robins actually spend the winter in their spring breeding range. We don’t normally see them in winter because their behavior changes. Availability of food, more than temperature, is what forces them to move, and the normally-territorial robins band together in large flocks searching for winter fruit. As temperatures rise and insects emerge, the robin’s diet changes and they return to their breeding grounds where they begin to sing again.
For more information on robins’ transition from winter to spring:
Nature activity of the week
Find somewhere quiet to sit and watch the birds. Maybe your schoolyard, or a park bench, or your front steps, or even your window! What birds do you see? You can download this chart to keep track of the birds you spy. There’s even space at the bottom to add your own! You can check them off each day that you see them.
At the end of the week, make a graph of the birds you’ve seen. Would you choose a bar graph or a pie chart or something else to share your bird sightings?
To expand this activity, see how long you can sit and watch the same bird. Take notes on where it goes. Can you jot down its colors, beak shape, tail shape, feather patterns? How long does the bird stay in one place? Does it sing? Does it bathe? Check back multiple days, at the same time or at different times. See what observations you come up with.
Hike of the Week
Chicks and Chickens!
About this series
In this time of virtual learning and social distancing, we seek to support teachers and families in getting outside in safe and healthy ways. We hope this series provides content and activities to help your students or your family engage in nature-based learning, whether you are learning in person or virtually.
Some of the funding we rely on to keep Nature Notes free comes from the Robert F. Schumann Foundation and The Claire C. Bennitt Watershed Fund, established by the South Central CT Regional Water Authority.