Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Science Finds and Pet Vultures

Once again our students are finding interesting things from God’s creation to share with us all every morning.  Here are a few of the more exciting recent discoveries.

This is a mama crawdad with lots of tiny babies clinging to her underside on her tail.  Lovely . . . sort of.  
These are some pretty winter berries.  And here are some more.  I happened to place them on top of a student’s quiz to take the picture and -- oh, look -- they got a 99%!  Every “A” on a test or quiz earns a small piece of chocolate in my class.  
And this is a genuine armadillo shell.  Our auctioneer was in the middle of the auction when he saw it under a student’s chair where it had been left since the morning.  “What in the world is that?”  he asked.  :)
This is a beautiful bird’s nest, built in between the “V” in a tree branch.  Now that is truly lovely.  
And here is another nest with a few eggs still left in it from last spring.   
Clockwise from the nest is a pretty shell, a rock with a hole chiseled through it (an old Indian artifact?), a spiral fossil, and a man-o-war (sorta like a jellyfish) from a student’s weekend vacation at the beach.  They found it, put it on the cardboard, and it still is full of air.  
And I can explain this one.  Really, I can. 
You see, I was out for a walk with my father and children when I saw a vulture on my neighbor’s porch.  Seeing a vulture on someone’s porch is rather strange, so I walked up to see it.  It jumped off the porch and ran off across the yard flopping its wings, one of which was obviously broken.  To make a long story short, my nine year old son and I ran with a blanket I had grabbed off another neighbor’s plants and cornered the poor bird in yet another neighbor’s garage.  (“Have you seen that lady chasing a vulture around?”)  My older son ran to get a dog carrier.  After using a broom to gently get the vulture in the dog carrier, my son met us at the corner.  I had gone to get the car.  Vultures are heavy.  

The animal rehabilitation people have been contacted and at this point we have permission to keep him as no one thinks they can fix his broken wing.  “Mr. Vulture” has been enjoying our back yard since then.  I made him a “vulture ladder” that goes up to a tree so that he can hop up the rungs using his beak and talons.  Then he plays “real vulture” by sitting up in our tree.  He eats raw meat and lets us get pretty close to him. I wouldn’t say he is the best pet we’ve ever had, but he certainly is different.  

This week in our English book we had to diagram the sentence, "My pet is a lovely white swan".  
I thought I'd change it a little to make it true.   The students thought it was funny.  

 And one of our school families is cleaning out an old shed.  Here is some type of back bone that came in handy for our science lesson on vertebrates, and a wonderfully preserved mouse skeleton.