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BLOSSOMS ‘N BIRDS

Do you enjoy waking up to the sound of singing birds? Does the pair of mockingbirds in your blooming magnolia tree captivate your eyes? Do you enjoy the sweet scent of your backyard lilac bush? Welcome to spring when buds, blossoms, and birds take center stage! The older adults in your group will have plenty of bird tales and garden stories to share, as you introduce some springtime activities.

Here are some suggestions to celebrate your favorite harbingers of spring and the sunny days ahead.

  • Show photographs of the American robin. Sing the song “When the Red, Red Robin” or lip sync the song “Rockin’ Robin.” Ask: Did your family watch for the first appearance of robins and nesting birds in the spring? Did you ever discover a bird’s nest in your backyard? Did you see the babies leave the nest? Tell us about the experience.
  • Fill a vase with lilac flower plumes and savor the comforting fragrance. Ask participants if they had lilac bushes in their backyards.
  • Show pictures of a flock of migrating birds, like blackbirds or starlings. Ponder the meaning of the proverb “Birds of a feather flock together.” Apply the proverb to your own life experiences.
  • Invite a speaker from a bird club (or a local Audubon Society) to share suggestions for attracting songbirds to your backyard. Listen to a relaxing audio recording of bird calls and songs.
  • Craft a bird’s nest from natural materials – dried grass, straw, twigs, pine needles, moss, paper, feathers – for a table centerpiece. Fill the nest with eggs, birds, or butterflies (available from a craft store).
  • Pass around the spring edition of nature magazines such as Audubon, Birds and Bloom, and National Geographic and enjoy the stunning photographs of our feathered friends perched on blooming branches. Sample: a male northern cardinal among crabapple blooms.
  • Show pictures of the northern mockingbird, one of the first birds to sing of the arrival of spring. Share tales of the bird’s springtime behavior, including courtship rituals and nesting. Listen to Patti Page’s 1951 hit “Mockin’ Bird Hill.”
  • Invite a nature photographer to show pictures of flowering tree blossoms, or bring in some small flowering tree branches to show. Ask your group to identify the kind of tree – apple, pear, cherry, dogwood. Listen to the wartime tunes “I’ll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time” and “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree,” sung by the Andrews Sisters.
  • Show some unique birdhouses and feeders. Invite a local Cub Scout troop to display birdhouse projects. Ask the men in your group if they built birdhouses in woodworking class in school. Name the tools needed to build a birdhouse.
  • Display dainty beaded white gloves and a vintage floral hat. Reminisce about joining the Ladies’ Garden Club. Talk about favorite events, like an annual flower show. Host a Garden Tea Party and enjoy some seasonal teas.
  • Ask the ladies to design the ultimate garden club hat, using silk or paper flowers.
  • Pass around spring fabric samples with a floral print. Ask the ladies to describe a favorite dress with flowers.
  • Invite a speaker to talk about the hobby of bird watching and bird photography. Display equipment such as binoculars, telescope, tripod, camera, field guide, bird watching journal. Ask participants if anyone was ever involved in a local bird count. Name favorite places to go bird watching.
  • Make a simple bird treat (no cooking required) with your group. Suggestion: Seed cones with peanut butter and birdseed. Ask if anyone ever made suet cakes. Name some popular ingredients.
  • Enjoy inspiring spring poetry, like Henry Van Dyke’s “Spring in the South” or Robert Frost’s “A Prayer in Spring.”

BIRD TRIVIA QUIZ

Cheep, chirp, twitter – enjoy the bird quiz!

  1. Which bird is recognized as the national bird of the U.S.A.? Bald Eagle
  2. Finish this proverb: A bird in the hand is worth… Two in the bush
  3. This white bird is the symbol of peace. Dove
  4. What is the bird mascot of the major league baseball team in St. Louis? Cardinal (Fredbird)
  5. Which famous director made the 1963 classic suspense film, The BirdsAlfred Hitchcock
  6. Which southern state is nicknamed the Pelican State? Louisiana (Brown Pelican is the state bird.)
  7. What is a “birdbrain”? Slang word for a stupid or thoughtless person
  8. A person who studies birds is called what? Ornithologist
  9. According to the World War II song, what kind of birds will fly over “The White Cliffs of Dover”? Bluebirds
  10. Edgar Allan Poe wrote about what black bird in his famous poem of the same name? “The Raven”

“BLOSSOMS ‘N BIRDS” written by Sue Hansen. © 2009 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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