Over the summer, I started doing projects with my students based around the Celebrate Urban Birds citizen science project from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Since then, we have unofficially developed birding stations around the school. The front parking lot is where we find the killdeer because of the water that puddles from the irrigation system.
Next door is the quail hangout, which is a small desert lot we can observe from the schoolyard. In the back, we lure the mourning doves, house finches and sparrows with bird seed.
Note: A few days after I began writing this post, the back area was mostly cleared out with a mini-bulldozer. I haven’t been able to find out what the plans are for this area. Hopefully, something just needs to be fixed and the plants will be restored.
Now, we are attempting to create a space that will attract hummingbirds right outside of the classroom.
I used an old filing cabinet, stool, and whiteboard from home to create a cute little scene. The whiteboard actually serves a practical purpose as well. Behind it are two sharp beams that haven’t been covered yet. Since I am tempting people closer to the area, I decided to block it from anyone checking out the garden.
I took some cord that I bought at an art store and looped it through the hanging hooks on the whiteboard. Then, I just tied it onto the banisters.
I used the left over cord to replace the wires that were being used to prop the door open.
I only work at this school three days a week, so I was worried about getting the plants watered efficiently. Luckily, I bought pots with self-watering disks from Lowe’s, and I was able cluster everything on the south side of the building (a bit of morning sun, then lots of shade). Over Labor Day weekend, I did not get a chance to water the plants for five days. All the plants survived, except two that hadn’t been looking so good anyways.
Last week, I found an unexpected surprise in my school mailbox. It was a hummingbird feeder from Aspects, Inc. I had emailed mailed them previously to find out if they would donate a HummZinger for the garden. I hadn’t heard back from them…because they were busy sending this fantastic feeder our way!
The HummZinger has specific features that made me want one for school. First, it was designed for easy cleaning. The dish is shallow and the lid just sits on top without being screwed on. On most feeders I’ve used, I had to fill up the container, screw the bottom on, and then flip it over quickly. I always managed to spill a bit of the nectar. With the HummZinger, I don’t spill anything. If you have ever had a problem with ants sabotaging your hummingbird feeder, you will appreciate that the HummZinger has a built in moat. Just fill it with water, and the bugs won’t make it to the sugary nectar. Since the nectar is contained in a dish below the access holes, the HummZinger resembles a stage for the birds. You can get an unobstructed view of amazing hummingbirds getting a sweet treat from their favorite feeder station. I can’t wait until the hummingbirds discover this oasis in the desert created for them to enjoy, as well as, my students.