Want to solve another wildlife mystery? Miss Sally knows there’s no better way to learn about animals than to watch what they do. Put your heads together and no matter what the weather, you can pick up clues that you can use!
Tell your child that you’re going to be animal detectives, find an animal and follow it quietly. You will gather “clues” about the animal for as long as you can.
Take that red cardinal, for example, who landed on the compost pile and picked up a piece of dried grass. Once you and your child have spotted him, be detectives. Watch him look all around to make sure no one is paying attention to him (except you!). Then notice where he flies off to. The inside of a tree or thick shrub, maybe?
Ask your child to guess what the cardinal is doing with the grass? Is it spring? Could he be building a nest? Wait quietly to see if he comes out again for another twig or dead leaf. Perhaps you can walk over to that area carefully and check out your theory.
Then your child might see a squirrel—another creature to investigate! As you watch and follow the squirrel, whisper to your child about what the animal is doing. While it’s rustling in some leaves, ask your child what the squirrel might be looking for. Then if you approach and it freezes—ask why it might do that (in hopes you will not see it). Then watch it run under a car, creep out and race up a tree — again why? Chittering, it waves its tail, then eventually jumps onto a power line and out of sight.
Even then your investigations aren’t over. You and your child can recall all of the things you saw the animal do. And you can guess at the reasons behind the behaviors. For example: “The squirrel ran up the tree, maybe it was trying to get away from us!”
There are as many mysteries as there are animals!
To be a good animal detective, listen carefully because you often hear an animal before you see it. Move slowly and quietly.
Try to recognize individuals and just watch what that specific ant or pigeon does.
Sometimes try watching your animal from a distance. That way it goes about its normal business without worrying so much about you.
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