River Bottom Ospreys and Songbirds
(Grades 7, 8) Osprey Biology PowerPoint, Learning Bird Songs PowerPoint, Art Projects, activities about songbirds and their river habitats. Preparation for a river-bottom field trip to do breeding bird surveys and Osprey nest observation. (Standards MS: LS1.A, LS1.B, LS1.C, LS2.A, LS2.B, LS2.C, LS4.C, PS3.D, ESS2.C, ESS3.C, ESS3.D)
1. Who am I?
Using 17 laminated photos of local river birds, students play a game to try to match the bird with 17 sets of six or seven natural history facts about one of the birds. The facts start more general and obscure, and get increasingly specific.
17 laminated photos of local river birds
Copies of “six facts” for above in binder
11 copies of booklet “Our Birds Call this Home”
2. Where is My Food Web?
Students each “claim” one of the same birds from the previous activity, and construct a food web of interrelationships between organisms in that food web. They then attempt to construct a web of interrelationships that have nothing to do with food, and introduce the concepts of mutualism, commensalism, parasitism and symbiosis.
(Same materials as above)
3. Water Pollution Dilution Solution?
Students simulate a point-source toxin using a succession of clear glasses of water and food coloring, adding a small amount of water from each to the next one in line. Water in the last glass looks clean, but is it?
6 clear plastic cups
red food coloring
4. Ospreys: Ancient Fisher-birds scripted PowerPoint (on thumb drive in the trunk)
A beautiful PowerPoint on the natural history of Ospreys. Teacher (or good oral-reader student) reads the script (in the binder) and advances the images.
5. “Concentrating” on River Birds
Following up on “dilution” above, students do a math exercise with role-playing a simple food chain from phytoplankton to osprey. They use poker chips of Increasingly larger value to follow the “energy units” needed to sustain an osprey to breeding age. The teacher shows the math in a long equation on the board as students use large-number calculators. (Phytoplankton produces ten units, and when done, the osprey needs about 10 quadrillion units.) Then the students are informed that they were really following molecules of DDT or other persistent toxins. A discussion of “bioaccumulation” follows.
5 laminated photos of riparian trophic levels
6. Migration Highways
Using a series of large to small scale maps and a Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology website, students draw likely migration routes for local riparian birds, identifying stopping places, food sources on the way, specific habitats they may be looking for (north-south mountain ridges, river systems, long valleys, etc.). They then discuss local opportunities to see this in action – Hawkwatch on Mt Aeneas, West Valley cranes, Lower Flathead waterfowl, winter waxwings in town.
Laminated Flathead River Canoeing map #7
17 laminated photos of Flathead River bottomlands birds (from activity 6)