The Golden Eagles have expressed an interest in birds. This first took shape on November 6th, when they stopped to document birds on our Adventure Walk. Ms. Sonia and I agreed that this spontaneous and unanimous behavior was intriguing--the next step would be to find out why the Golden Eagles are interested in birds!
On November 8th, I thought I’d ask the Golden Eagles for prior knowledge. I asked, “What do real eagles do?” Zoe said, “They stand and look for food”. I introduced the term ‘roost’. Camerina said, “They stand in the woods and look for bats to eat.” Carlos said, “They keep a nest.” Riley said, “Their wings make a sound: ‘whoosh-whoosh!’” Sonia said, “They fight!” Ananya added, “Eagles eat flowers.” Louis said, “They eat fruit.” Eli rose from his seat, saying, “No! They take the pigeon away, but the falcon took it away first!”
On November 13th, preparing for our next Adventure Walk, I thought I’d ask the Golden Eagles what they would hope to see this time. Carlos answered, “Giant birds in the clouds!” (He said ‘Big birds in the clouds’ exactly one week ago!) Ananya answered, “Little tiny birds.” Catherine answered, “A chick in a nest!” Rayden answered, “A pigeon driving the bus!” Our walk turned out to be too cold to comfortably pull out notebooks, but we did count 30 pigeons on one fire escape, and Louis noticed a small songbird WAY atop a distant roof.
On November 15th, we asked the Black AND Golden Eagles, “Where does an Eagle live?” Sonia answered, “In a forest, in a nest.” Eli answered, “In tunnels.” Julian Bowen said, “In trees--that’s where they stay for sleeping.” Carlos agreed, “In the tree.” Kiichi said, “In water!” Gael added, “They need a cactus.”
Mr. Jake next asked, “What is a nest for?” Charlie answered, “To lay their eggs.” Adam said, “To keep eggs safe.” Julian Bowen said, “They stay safe to sleep.”
Just a few days later, I asked the Golden Eagles where Eagles come from. Camerina said, “In Mexico, Germany, and Queens--where all my family grew up.” Ethan (a new addition to our class) said, “In the sky!” Zoe said, “They live in a tree by my house and lay their eggs.” Sonia responded, “Eagles just come from an egg!”
I then told the Golden Eagles a story from my childhood:
Once upon a time, when I was a little boy, I grew up in a town called Seattle, where big bald eagles live every day! On this day, I was driving with my daddy on the freeway when I heard a ‘whoosh-whoosh’ sound. I looked up, and I saw a huge bald eagle flew above the car! And guess what--it had a salmon fish in its claws! The salmon tried to escape. It wiggled and wiggled, but it couldn’t get out. The eagle was going to eat the salmon for his dinner. The End.
I asked, “Why couldn’t the salmon fish escape?” Riley answered, “Because the eagle was GRABBING him!” Camerina added, “Because his claws are SHARP!”
During our morning activities, Ananya and Camerina painted an ‘eagle’ at the easel. Zoe drew several eagles on paper. Riley and Sonia drew ‘Eagle City’ (a place that Mr. Jake and I invented to keep the Black and Golden Eagles together). Louis glued and painted a similar ‘Eagle City’, then suggested that the girls tape their work to his (this request was unfortunately denied).
Lastly, at nap time, I asked Camerina, “Where do feathers come from?” She explained to me, “Birds have feathers that are little when they are born, and they get big feathers when they growed up. They have them to keep their babies safe. I don’t [have feathers]. I have hairs on mine head, on my other body, and little hairs on mine skin.”
There is clearly a great depth in the Golden Eagles’ thoughts on eagles, and birds in general. Some of their interest seems to come from the behavior of these birds, such as ‘whoosh-whooshing’, hunting pigeons, or roosting in search of food. Rather than discussing bird characters in fiction stories, a lot of this interest seems to come from observing birds in real life, or at least hearing stories about observing real birds. This is a potential place to explore the Golden Eagle’s scientific knowledge beyond the realm of books.
The particular bird behavior that we will begin to explore next will be nesting. It will be interesting to see whether the Eagles most relate to the protection of babies, the construction of the nest, the keeping of secret things, or some other unanticipated aspect of nesting.
Until next time,