February 16, 2019
Students at Nut Swamp Elementary observing their feeder station
This season’s BirdSpotter contest is celebrating teachers and students who love birds. Congratulations to our final winner for this season, Elizabeth Mullee, and her students at Nut Swamp Elementary in Middletown, NJ!
Elizabeth is creating an outdoor classroom for her students. She built the feeding station with advice from her local Wild Birds Unlimited store, filling it with a multitude of feeders and a hanging bird bath. She says her class’s favorites are WBU’s seed cylinders that are in the shapes of animals: Olive & Hoot the owl, Rascal the raccoon, Preston the penguin, and Peanut the squirrel.
The feeder set-up has been a wild success for Elizabeth’s class. She says they’ve seen American Goldfinches, Blue Jays, Northern Cardinals, White-breasted Nuthatches, Downy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadees, European Starlings, House Finches, House Sparrows, Morning Doves, Purple Finches, and a White-throated Sparrow. She adds:
We love the White-breasted Nuthatch because he makes us laugh how he eats upside down and loves to spread his wings. We also love to watch the Downy Woodpecker hop along the tree branches. The class insists that he loves to get his picture taken.
When we asked how Elizabeth uses FeederWatch in her classroom, she described how the class uses the project to learn about what real scientists do and how they record their data. The class has been making homemade bird feeders made from recyclable materials and brought them home to use when they participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count happening now (Feb 15-18 2019, Learn More)! The project has inspired the students to read and write about birds, and has even inspired the school’s art teacher to teach the class how to draw birds. Elizabeth added some final words about her experience:
My class loves FeederWatch. My students run into class every morning and run right to the classroom windows to see which birds have visited us. It has helped young students who might miss their parents eager to come to school. They are 5 and 6 years old and are able to name the birds and show such enthusiasm to learn more and more about birds. Children are even starting to wear clothing that have birds on them!
Thanks to all of the schools who entered this season’s contest! Over the course of the BirdSpotter contest, we randomly selected three teachers who use FeederWatch as a way to engage students with hands-on science. Winners received goodies from the Cornell Lab and a gift card from our sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited. There’s still time to enter our BirdSpotter photo contest. Visit our BirdSpotter homepage for more information.