Maybe my science knowledge is a bit underdeveloped, but I was fully fascinated by the toddler-level bird’s nest lesson I received last week at a local nature center, hosted by my Moms’ club. After reading some cute “nest” stories, our guide, Beth, showed us a few different birds’ nests, most with eggs in them. She showed the kids how to pinch thumb and pointer finger together, just like a birds’ beak and explained how birds use their beaks to pick up materials for their nest, starting with mud and twigs for the structure and then adding soft camoflauging items to cushion their eggs and keep them safe from predators.
To share this project with your little ones at home, you can do a google image search for birds’ nests and check out youtube videos of birds building nests. Check out the book Nests: Fifty Nests And The Birds That Built Them by photographer Sharon Beals (literally, you can find anything on Amazon). Echoing my sentiments exactly, Beals writes:
“Bird nests, even without knowing which birds constructed them, seem hardly possible. Creations of spider’s web, caterpillar cocoon, plant down, mud, found modern objects, human and animal hair, mosses, lichen, feathers and down, sticks and twigs–all are woven with beak and claw into a bird’s best effort to protect their next generation.”
You can see some of the nests Beals photographed here and my favorites below:
I am never using the expression “birdbrain” again (not sure I’ve ever said it). Birds are freakin’ geniuses.
Our nature class then went on a walk and the kids collected items for their nests. I loved the paper bags.
Inside, each child pounded some wet brown modeling clay into a paper bowl and added their nature walk clippings, and some additional soft items like feathers, cottom balls, yarn and raffia.
Can you find the camoflauged egg in there? I think Noah did a pretty good job.
Ryan liked Noah’s nest so much, he decided to construct one (or four) of his own. Our neighbor Clayton – a self/Ryan-proclaimed nest expert, brilliantly added birdseed to attract the birds to nest.
The next day, I made the kids Egg-in-A-Nest for breakfast, just like my mom did when I was little, using a juice glass to cut out a circle from a slice of bread, cracking an egg in the center. Just like when I was little, my kids liked the buttered round the best.
Wierdly, I just caught an episode of The Pioneer Woman Cooks on The Food Network and guess what she was making? Ree insists its proper name is Egg-in-the-Hole, but regardless, we have the same method, and she took pictures while I was busy eating, so please check out her tutorial this time.