Sunday, September 2, 2007

Ashland Nature Center: Now an Offical Hawk Watching Station!

An official hawk counter tallies the birds each day and data is sent to the Hawk Migration Association of North America to analyze trends in migratory raptors. You can join the hawk watch anytime Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm, September 4th to November 30th (except Nov. 22 & 23.) The Hawk watch is free to members.

Suggestion for Homeschoolers: Start your own hawk watching journal!
*Bring a good pair of binoculars.
*A bird identification book on birds of prey, hawks, raptors.
*A journal, a small drawing book or a mead notebook works well.
*A hand held weather station is a fun addition, you can get these online at places like Edmond Scientifics or at many other homeshool or science suppliers. These devises measure all sorts of things from wind speed to air temperature and barometer readings. If you are persistent with your internet search you can find one for a reasonable price.

(The people from the nature center will also have some binoculars and scopes and identification books to share, but it is good to have your own to keep a constant watch.)

In your journal start a page for each visit:
Record the date.
Record the weather conditions, as much information as you have.
Keep a tally of the different kinds of hawks you see.
Make a drawing or two.
Make special notes of rare birds that you see.
Note the time of your sitings.
Note how long you were there, how many other people were there,
maybe make notes of what other people spotted that you did not.
Record your thoughts and feelings.
Note the seasonal changes each time you go...

Your Hawk Watch Journal could expand into a naturalist's journal that you can add to throughout the year. Teddy has a special bag where he keeps several id-guide booklets, his binoculars, his journal, some pencils and his hand held weather station. He grabs this whenever we go for a nature walk or when the birds are active in our feeder!