Nature Study: Crows

I love it when a nature study comes to us, rather than when we have to go looking for it. (Mostly because I have slacked big-time this year in planning for studies!)

We came home one day last week to find this garden snake in our driveway, being attacked by crows. We actually like snakes around here, so I stopped the car to get a better look and make sure I didn’t run over him. He was still crawling, and I thought the crows had just found him, so I was going to move him to safety. But then I saw bloody marks on his head and noticed he had a chunk missing on one side, so I knew he wasn’t going to make it. I decided to leave him to the crows, figuring they’d finish him off pretty quickly and put him out of any misery he might have been in.

snake

Kathryn was mad. Like I said, we appreciate snakes, and this one is a good one to have around. (It would’ve been a different story if it was a poisonous copperhead.) It’s one thing to see how nature works when you’re watching a National Geographic show on lions in Africa; it’s quite another thing to see it right up close.

One of my twitter friends said (after I tweeted about this) that crows had eaten the baby robins from a nest at her house last year. A few days after this, I saw a crow flying with something pink and baby-bird-sized in its mouth, and then landed in a tree to eat whatever it was. I told Kathryn what I’d seen, and that prompted her to get out the Handbook of Nature Study and find the section on crows. I read the section aloud, and Kathryn’s crow-hating thoughts quickly turned to wishing she could have one as a pet when she learned how intelligent they are — and that the nest-raiding habit is apparently not the case with all crows. I told her it’s probably like man-eating lions: very seldom does that ever happen, but if a lion ever learns how much easier it is to eat a human than a fast-running, hard-kicking zebra, for instance, then they’ll prefer to hunt humans. Once a crow learns what easy fare the bird nest buffet is, I’m guessing they probably keep that habit going.

Outdoor Hour Nature StudyAfter we’d read and talked about crows, I remembered that I have a whole bunch of bird notebooking pages, so Kathryn and I each chose the one we wanted and printed those off to fill in and put in our nature journals. I’m trying to do nature journal entries as well, to help encourage her to do so.

Barb’s Outdoor Hour Challenge #6 has great ideas for studying birds. (Of course! Barb always has great nature study ideas!)

It’s slow getting back into regular nature studies, but I’m encouraged that even when we don’t do a “formal” study, we’re almost always studying some plant or creature that sometimes literally crosses our path.

Comments

  1. Amanda says

    I really feel bad for the snake. What kind of snake was the snake you found? It is indeed very good to read and watch information about our nature. Thank you very much for sharing this post.

  2. says

    Unless we’re in the midst of nature-like unit, as we currently are, we rarely get in nature study. So I can totally appreciate when one falls in my path. Yay! for you for taking advantage of it!!!

  3. says

    I do not like snakes…they’re one of those creatures that fascinates and skeeves me out at the same time.
    I love finding out how different animals behave and relate to their world. We watch quite a bit of NG shows on netflix.

  4. Gisselle says

    I am really so afraid with snakes maybe because I was thinking they might attack me.. I have seen one when I was too little and it is a big and a dangerous one..

  5. says

    I’m not very fond of snakes but we do know how to appreciate every living creature. I’m sure there are many homeschool bloggers who would like to read about this so I’m creating an abstract about it on our website.

  6. says

    We tend to do our nature study on the fly (no pun intended), and it’s working out okay. It’s not stellar, but it’s okay. I’m trying to give myself grace about it. Anyway, I’m going to read about crows in my HONS because I am not a big fan of them. I remember reading in the Burgess Bird Book that they raid nests for eggs, too, not only hatchlings.

    We’ve had some unpleasant glimpses of nature at work here, too; but after a moment of sadness, we tend to take it in stride. It’s not fun, but it’s (wild)life. My personal unfavorite: hawks that swoop down at my feeder and attach unsuspecting diners. But I’m still amazed at the hawk’s prowess in the middle of my shock.

  7. says

    Yes indeed…that is one big snake. I love that you took the time to look things up in the HNS and to follow up on your daughter’s interest. Excellent way to make it more meaningful.
    Thanks for sharing your link and for cuing me about the video in my entry…should be fixed now.

  8. says

    My son is about to be 5 years old and he adores snakes. We took a trip to a nature center a couple of weeks ago so he could visit a few of them and we were fortunate enough to see one on a walk in the woods that same day! We would have felt bad for your poor snake too.

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