Help me with my lesson plan?
Posted 09 October 2011 - 01:03 AM
I usually talk about how sensitive a birds respiratory/immune system is, how to clip wings and nails (with a youtube video for each and I'll prob get to actually show them on the birds the school has as they probably havent been clipped since my last visit) Blood feathers and how to identify them/ what to do if one breaks, molting, and diet/toxic foods. I also take my B&G with me and will talk about him for a bit just to buy time, in the past it has only taken about an hour to do this.
Does anyone have any additional things you think I could add or am missing? They're barely high school juniors so I try not to get too intense with it or I might lose them.
Posted 09 October 2011 - 01:23 PM
Posted 09 October 2011 - 05:14 PM
I would discuss the way in which birds manage heat loss, keeping warm in the (sometimes extreme) cold, and staying cool and not overheating in summer. Feathers are fascinating in every aspect, from evolution to function. They insulate, they are arranged in patterns where bare skin can be used to cool a bird off. They can be controlled by the bird in great detail. Down is the most insulative material on earth (as of yet no synthetic can top it). Contour feathers are weatherproof and the surface temp. and underneath temp can vary as great 15 degrees in some birds. Feathers alone can be a long and interesting topic. And, only birds have them!
I would dicsuss stress and the immune system (important in pet birds). In particular how a stressed out bird will have increased cortisol levels and a suppressed immune system. This is also in line with the idea that pet birds, because they are in the home and stationary, are exposed to pathogens (like asper spores for example) that they can't get away from. On the other hand, a bird in the wild in never in one place for as long so has less duration of exposure. Combine that with less stress and you have wild birds that have much less chance of getting ill than pet birds do. It's important for bird owners to realise that it's as much about happiness and less stress as it is keeping birds away from what can harm them. An immune system, like a muscle in the body, needs to work to be healthy.
Falconry, being around for a very long time, has many sources that touch upon the above. As vets they will most likely work with raptors at some point as there exist many sanctuary's and rehab facilities that make use of avian vets. Audubon for instance.
As a general topic I would discuss what causes feather plucking and stereotypical motions. In other words, poor welfare, the denying of natural behaviors in any captive animal. Along this line you can discuss social and physical needs as compared to what a bird can learn to expect from us and how the two are not always the same. As an analogy, a human child has social needs to be touched and held but a parent can also teach a child to to very demanding. Mention the highly visible incidence of self mutialtion and stereoytypies in birds.
I would discuss the quicker metabolism of birds. Their constant nergy needs and that they operate at a higher body temp. The implication is that they can starve quickly and that overheating is a real danger in the home. With this you can discuss how they don't sweat like we do, as in above, how they do loose heat when they need to.
Basically, what you want to do (imo) is instill and understanding of some basic topics that will make the birds they see around them everyday more interesting. Again, IMO, you want to spark fascination and interest in young minds because knowledge and pursuit of it never ends. I would not bombard with endless technical definitions and terms.......boring! I think instilling understanding is key. These are just some things I'm throwing out. Good luck.
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