Birds of a feather flock together at 4h acres!
It is bird week here at Primitive Pursuits and there were all kinds of bird based activities to connect campers with our winged friends. From nest robber games to a giant water marmot falcon nest and visits from the Phoenix, campers delighted in play and learning centered around birds.
During bird week it is almost assured that there will be a visit from the Old Owl for the keeper of the keys. The Owl swooped in on Adventure Academy this week and held matches for the group to light fires. Old Owl is blind as a bat but her hearing is still sharp. The group had a hard time getting past the owl’s sonar ears to capture their necessary matches.
Forest Village ventured into the forest each day with a bird of the day. If a camper saw the bird of the day they were to stop and alert the group to be quiet so that they could observe. On Tuesday it was the Robin and on Wednesday it was the Dark-eyed Junco. Instructor Liz passed around a Junco nest for the campers to see. They discussed Junco’s habits and where they might see the bird as well as details of what it looks like. Their conversation must have rubbed off on me because later that day I got some great pictures of a Dark-eyed Junco taking a bath at Trilium Camp.
A green heron comes in for a landing at beaver camp. Photo: Ben Bookout
Robin Redbreast in the forest at 4H. Photo: Laura Mead
Speaking of Trilium Camp, Growing Wild was playing hawks and songbirds this week. Campers chose to be hawks, songbirds or worms. This food chain game saw hawks tagging songbirds and songbirds tagging worms. The camp ended the week with worms on a stick but not actual worms instead it was dough on a stick with honey.
One of the most exciting games saw the two camps from Forest Explorers combine and play the Nest Robber game at Racoon Motel. The group of Yellow Warblers and Purple Finches got a visit from the Phoenix with a note challenging them to master the art of fire. The first step in any fire is gathering wood. This is where the nest robbers game began. Campers had the task of making nests in the forest and protecting their nest from the predator birds (instructors). They were not allowed to speak human language and instead had to use bird calls to communicate and protect the nests from predators. The nesting birds had to gather firewood while protecting their eggs. For a short while the forest rang with bird calls of all sorts.
By the end of the week bird culture was firmly rooted in all camps. Many camps participated in bird based scavenger hunts set out by the Phoenix, Water Marmot Falcon or the Raven. Adventure Academy made their way through the forest gathering clues before arriving at hearth camp for a string burn to get necessary ingredients for popcorn. Forest Village had made a giant nest for the Water Marmot Falcon. This same falcon left little arrows of birdseed in the forest leading the camp back to the large nest where the very special water marmot egg lay. Finally, the Phoenix set out a scavenger hunt for the Yellow Warblers and lay in its nest in the front hemlocks. When the camp arrived it burst out of the nest and flew around the camp having left the necessary matches for a string burn to get its coveted prize hanging in the trees.
Bird week was a huge success in camp and I know our winged friends felt much appreciated by all the attention we gave them this week. We also captured some bird photos for the gallery so check those out!