The Empty Nest: Part 2

To follow-up on our lovely little nest find:

Conveniently spread out over the span of a couple of weeks, we took our time with the study of our nest. We used a couple of bird worksheets (here and here for a few ideas if needed!) The kids also made this nifty little bird mobile which we found the printable for on this site. We changed it a bit however, and decided that it needed a sturdy oatmeal box as the tree and real leaves to make it more realistic. Fun stuff!!

The bird mobile

Then there was the bird nest experiment, that I found on I also needed to adapt this for our own use. This experiment could have been more thorough had we already invested in a microscope and some petri dishes, but we just aren’t there yet. It was a very neat little experiment though. I had Ella write out her official hypotheses on whether she thought there were other living organisms in the nest, besides the bird and egg/s that inhabited it. She decided that, No, it only has seeds and probably no other ‘living’ things really.

She was right… (unless of course a microscope would have shown otherwise.) But our findings after leaving the nest under a hot lamp for a few days, was that nothing else had set up home in the nest after all.

Come out, come out, wherever you are…

Looking for clues

After discussing the reasons why birds make nests the way they do, and the benefits to making a nest in a hidden, far to reach place, we watched a couple of videos that I was able to find on YouTube of a real bird building its nest. Then I challenged them at making a replica of a nest and for a minute we joked that they should make it without using hands! They quickly saw what a hard thing that would be to carry out, and now appreciate the amazing skill that birds possess to create a nest using only their beaks!

Here is what they came up with:

Looked pretty good to me!! (Bendaroos, yarn, plant base stuffing and burlap made nice materials for that.) While their nest wasn’t as structurally sound as the real one, its colorful style added so much ‘flare!’

Speaking of nest styles, the nest that we found had one particular clue which stood out about what type of bird was living in it. After desperately scanning several sites to try to identify this nest, we narrowed it down. I should add that this bird nest identification business is a tricky thing! We noticed that there appeared to be a hole towards the bottom of the nest and that the description of a House Sparrow nest stated that it might have a hole about to the bottom of it. Normally the sparrow nest might be taller than ours, but it also depends on the location. The position in the tree that we found it was about roof height which is also a quality of that type. Luckily we also saw the egg which was a smaller greyish, white color with speckles and about the size of a dime and connects it to the House Sparrow description as well. There were plenty of qualities that immediately crossed off other birds from the list, such as mud used on the nest, an enclosed nest, many feathers used throughout the design and the type of grasses used.

I think all clues point to one answer in my non-expert bird opinion: It’s a House Sparrow nest!! 🙂

Overall the nest study turned out a success and was a fun way to end the ‘official’ school year these past couple of weeks. Be sure to be on the lookout for abandoned nests… it just might be the inspiration needed for a little study on the sweet little winged friends, whom love to bring us happy song!

“Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see bird that had the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.” ~Dale Carnegie

In honor of a fallen soldier and fellow classmate <3

A true hero ❤

I couldn’t let today go by without paying my respects to a fellow high school classmate who was laid to rest this morning after giving the ultimate sacrifice of his life for our country. Sgt. Carlo Eugenio, assigned to the 756th Transportation Company, 224th Sustainment Brigade, California Army National Guard, Van Nuys, Cal., was the first California National Guardsman killed while serving in Afghanistan. He was one of 17 fatalities of which only 4 were Americans (if I read the correct reports) while his convoy was attacked by a suicide bomber, in Kabul.

While reading the reports on such a tragedy, yet a reality we hear about too often, his death is not just a number to add to the list of fallen soldiers. He was a life…he was a brother….he was a son….he was an uncle….he was a friend….to me, a fellow high school classmate. Although we were not the closest of friends, we had many mutual friends and a class together here and there. The occasional “hello” while passing in the hallways, I recall his bright smile well.

Seeing his most recent photo out there brought to life the reality that this was a man we should all be grateful to have had any experience in knowing. Many of us who had the privilege of going to school with him, could not have had the foresight to realize the sacrifice he would go on to make for us, while we knew him back then. As the world beckoned all of our graduating class of 2000, had any of us any inclination of the honor he would serve us? It is a question I ponder as I solemnly reflect on this young life that is no longer, and the painful yet proud emotion that his family must be experiencing now. I find it hard not to get enveloped into questioning the bigger picture of what we are here on this earth to do, as something like this inevitably hits me hard regardless of how well I knew him. The fact is he was a true hero. He served his country, and he had to have been so brave. When he set out on that fateful day on October 29th, he may not have questioned if it would be his last, but there is no doubt that he was honorable in doing what he needed to do regardless of the risk it took.

As I came upon a lull earlier today, that I sometimes do amidst the endless amount of things I find myself needing to get done, I reminded myself that there are things bigger than me and my mundane self rants. Besides the fact there is a war going on, that I will admit I forget about in my day-to-day life, there are real men and women out there risking their lives each and everyday for us. I will not get into my opinions about any of the politics of what is going on… not my style…but I will say I feel so grateful to the soldiers who do put their lives on the line for us. The bottom line is most of  us would not trade where we are at in our comfy lives today to go be in the shoes of a soldier out there in combat. It is just a fact. I shouldn’t speak for all, but honestly if we would, then we would be there now. That is why I need to lay my greatest  gratitude, respect and regards down for Carlo and all the other fallen soldiers who have gone as well, because they truly are deserving of it. It takes something else to be out there doing what they do, something I will probably never truly understand. A bravery, a courage, a sacrifice that not many will ever know. I was honored to have known him in my youth, and forever owe him thanks for the tremendous service he gave us.

❤ May you rest in peace Carlo, and may the memory of your life and sacrifice never be forgotten ❤

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~Nelson Mandela