Thursday, December 23, 2010

HawkCount's New Generation

Daena Ford, Co-Director at Braddock Bay Research and a member of HMANA’s Board, sent the following interesting testimony about HawkCount ( to her fellow board members. It was a lot more interesting than the posting I was about to make, so here’s Daena:

Yesterday my son (he’s 6 1/2) was doing his daily reading homework, and chose a book from my collection of wildlife kids’ books, Madeleine Dunphy’s The Peregrine’s Journey: A Story of Migration. It’s a great book that beautifully tells the story of how one peregrine makes its long migration from Alaska to Argentina.

While he was reading it out loud to me he was marveling at some of the distances the falcon flew and the variety of places it stopped along the way. At one point the bird travels through Panama with flocks of Swainson’s and Broad-winged hawks. The story mentioned at that point that sometimes tens of thousands of hawks travel through there. Well, this really got his attention, so after he was done with the book, I brought him over to the computer and we pulled up the HawkCount site.

This was not the first time I’ve showed him HawkCount. In the spring, he follows the Braddock Bay count with me (of course!) and he enjoys looking at the tallies on the spreadsheet for each species, etc. Yesterday I showed him the counts from the site in Panama, and he was blown away! And then of course I had to show him the counts from Veracruz...yep, even more jaw-dropping to him.

Besides just using the spread sheets to find out how many hawks were counted at a certain place, I have found it to be a useful tool to help him with simple math concepts such as place value of numbers and looking at which was the greatest number or lowest number, etc. It also helps him learn how to read a chart. Another thing we did was we looked at the Google maps of the locations of the sites, which brought a little geography to the lesson.

So, I felt like sharing this to show how HawkCount can be used as an educational tool for all ages, even if you are not a hawkwatcher. Not sure if anyone knows of any other experiences like this from teachers, parents, kids, etc. If so, I would love to hear about them.

Hope everyone has a Happy Holiday!

1 comment:

  1. I love to hear stories how HawkCount is used to engage kids and connect them with nature. Thanks for sharing Daena and Gil! ~Julie