This classroom field trip is based on a book written by Frank Glew. It is a regular part of my classroom in the winter. Each year in my attempts to keep my students winter active I use this read aloud as a focus for my students to connect to their natural world in all seasons. The precise of the book is about how a young child is bored and has nothing to do. So the parent decides to take them on a hike. The child experiences for the first time that Chickadee feeling.
Finally the day has arrived where my class and I will be heading to our local outdoor education centre where we will try and experience in real life what we witnessed in the picture book. The snow is gently falling and the forest is covered in white with only the underside of branches showing their natural colour. It is a perfect day for what we are wanting to do as there are very few natural food sources available for our winged hosts. As we hike toward their feeding area, the Chickadees know we are coming and they start to follow us, knowing that human presence means it will soon be feeding time. My students start to both hear and see the tiny birds as they stay close to cover to avoid any natural predators.
Finally we arrive at the location where we will attempt to experience that Chickadee feeling. I take a few moments to talk about the best techniques to try and get the tiny winged marvels to land and feed from their hand. One-by-one the students collect some black sunflower seeds (Chickadees are very fussy eaters) and move to a location where we will serve as a human bird feeder.
Within minutes the word has spread somehow in Chickadee language and it seems like dozens of birds arrive and carefully scout out the sudden feast that awaits them. Then, it happens! The first Chickadee lands and perches on my student’s outstretched hand, grabs a seed, looks at my student and flies quickly away. This first landing creates a chain reaction of the same scenario and they feast for the next 10 minutes. Like a proud father I carefully observe my students to ensure that each and everyone of them have that opportunity to experience the Chickadee feeling. The smiles, the chorus of oohs and ah that echo in the forest tells me that they know they have just become a part of the infamous Chickadee Feeling Club. I hope you do one day as well.