Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

Nature Study Lesson # 33: Cardinal Grosbeak

Barb has suggested for our Nature Study of birds that we divide this task into three parts. The first part is the inside preparation work. This is when I read the information for the teacher (Handbook of Nature Study pages 127-130) so that I know what to look for and what things to point out to my students about a particular bird; in this case, the cardinal. I also prepared the kids so that they could recognize the cardinal by sight or sound. The cardinal stays all year round in this area, so we have a good chance of spotting one on our nature walks.

"The cardinal is the most brilliantly colored of all our birds, and one of our most cheerful singers." -Anna Comstock




We talked about how the cardinal is a little smaller than a robin, and that it is a bit chunkier. We discussed how the bird gets its name from the position in the Church. This bird gave me the opportunity to discuss the term "crest." We also talked about how the shape of the beak and its strength are perfect for crushing seeds and grains. We listened to the cardinal's call in our birdsong book. This is the time, too, to add the bird to our own field guides of local birds. We decided to use watercolors.


"What cheer! What cheer!
That is the grosbeak's way,
With his sooty face and his coat of red"
-Maurice Thompson


Katie chose to paint it in the female's more subdued colors, while the boys went for the bright red of the male. They also had the opportunity to create pages in their nature journals for whatever interested them on their outing.

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