Nature Scavenger Hunt
I wrote a while ago about the benefits of noticing and reflecting on the natural world around us. When we explore our surroundings, making intentional observations, we begin to see how we all impact one another, whether we are human, animal, or plant. We start making connections, which leads to compassion and understanding.
Often times, children don't need any reason to explore and discover. They are naturally curious and inquisitive. However, it doesn't hurt to give them a little nudge if they seem to need it. One of my favorite ways to encourage outdoor observations is to make it into a game! Just like the Bird Bingo Game (which you can find here if you missed it), this Nature Scavenger Hunt gets your kids looking for specific things, all in the name of science!
Click on the picture to download the Scavenger Hunt card!
More details and tips to help you spot these:
A raptor is also known as a "bird of prey". There are many types of raptors we see in Utah, but most of them fall within one of these families: buteo hawks, accipiter hawks, falcons, eagles, and owls.
You can tell a raptor apart from other birds by observing their three "sharps": sharp eyes, sharp beaks, and sharp talons.
Look for raptors soaring high in the sky or perched on telephone poles or wires. Be careful not to disturb raptors if they are close by, as they are likely hunting for a meal or protecting their young.
For more information on how to identify raptors, see this article.
A fledgling is a baby bird who is fully feathered and flighted (or nearly flighted), yet still depends on its parents for food and protection. You can spot fledglings because they will be around adult birds and begging for food (by gaping their mouthes wide open, making a peeping noise, and sometimes fluttering their wings). They may look subtly different from their parents, with a few fluffy, downy feathers sticking out in weird places, duller colors, and a wider muppet-looking beak.
If you see a fledgling, don't approach it just for the sake of this hunt. Fledglings are at a higher risk from predators because of their lack of experience and sloppy flying. Parents are also at higher risk because of the added stress and distraction that comes with raising young. Give them space and you may be lucky enough to watch the little ones grow and revisit your area!
See my previous blog, Attracting Birds, to learn more about how to attract birds to your yard and keep them safe.
2 Different Pollinators
Search for pollinators! This step is not completed until you spot two different kinds! Pollinators include: bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, and more!
Search for pollinators around flowers and any remaining blossoms on trees. Although you may not like to see one, wasps also pollinate and would count!