What are these children up to? If it looks like they’re gathering sticks into a big pile, that’s because they are! But this is not for a bonfire... it’s for an eagle nest...
The Wedge-tailed Eagle activity at the Cockburn Wetlands Education Centre this morning began with about 25 wonderful children filing in to sit on the mat inside, ready for the presentation. I gave a half-hour talk about my pet subject, and was impressed by how such young children knew so much and eagles and birds of prey. One boy even new that the scientific name for a Barn Owl is ‘Tyto’!! Not bad for a boy under 10 years old.
The fun began outside when we broke into two groups and rushed around collecting sticks (I’d brought piles from my backyard and spread them over the centre’s lawn), ready to make our own eagle nests! Each group empathised with an eagle as they placed the sticks in the low fork of a tree, working out that some had to be woven together to maintain their structure. Imagine doing this with just a beak! Eventually the nests were lined with green leaves, and an old cricket ball in one of them made a very accurate, pretend eagle egg!
We then did some ‘hide and seek’ as I hid some bones of eagle prey animals in and around each eagle nest, and the kids had to collect one item each. Then we talked about all sorts of funny things like dead animals, bones, teeth, fur, and learnt how much lighter a bird bone is than a mammal bone.
To finish off the morning I did a quick show and tell with my climbing equipment, talking to the children about how I climb trees safely. All the kids had a quick swing on my rope before heading home. Thanks so much to Vicki, Clare and Denise for inviting me to Cockburn Wetlands centre and providing such a great working environment. An extra thank you to Denise for taking all the photos too!