Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Front Porch Biology
Mother Nature left a biology lesson on our front porch this week, and I decided it was time to discuss the birds and the bees with Ashley – well, at least the birds.
A house sparrow built a nest in a grape vine wreath that hangs on the brick wall of my front porch. I kept noticing that every time I opened the front door, a bird would quickly dash away. I checked the wreath and found a nest and three little blue-tinged eggs. After going back into the house, and waiting a few minutes, the mother bird returned to her nest and settled her round little body over the eggs. She was followed by the father sparrow who served a small morsel of food to her. I was so excited that I went immediately to get Ashley.
The first thing Ashley and I did was to get her children’s encyclopedia and look up birds. We found a great picture of a bird beside a nest of eggs, a perfect prelude to our trip to the front porch. After discussing the pictures in the encyclopedia, I signed to Ashley that we were going to see a real bird and nest. She was very excited!
As Ashley and I walked to the front door, I kept signing ‘quiet’ and ‘sshhh’. She was so cute – she was almost tiptoeing! We very quietly opened the front door and stepped onto the porch. Quiet is not something Ashley does often, so this was quite an accomplishment. We were actually able to get very close to the wreath, close enough that I think Ashley could see the mother bird. She was so excited at that moment that she let out a little squeal and the mother bird flew away from her nest. Ashley was surprised and looked at me almost like she had done something wrong. I signed that all was ok and that we were now going to look at the eggs.
I helped Ash step up on the bench we have on the front porch, and she peered into the center of the wreath to see the eggs. She smiled and signed ‘egg’ over and over. She then showed me the sign for ‘3’, the number of eggs in the nest, followed by the sign for ‘blue’. As I helped her down from the bench, I told her that we needed to go back inside so the mother bird could come back to her nest.
After standing quietly just inside the front door, the mother bird returned in less than a minute. I told Ash we needed to let the mother stay with her eggs a while, and she immediately went back to her book and looked at the bird picture some more. When I sat down next to her, she signed ‘thank you’.
The lesson and my day were complete…