Science in Your Backyard Slithering by and Falling from the Sky

By Holly Giles | Florida

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Science in your backyard

Around here, backyard science need not be planned.  On any given day, it falls from the sky or slithers by for us to take notice.  Why not seize the opportunity.
On this day, we were reading on the couch when a loud thud hit the back window. As we searched the deck, we found a Red-Eyed Vireo.  We put him up on a table and let him be for a while.  Sometimes, they just knock themselves out, but he was dead.

The bird

The boys and I stood over her, my bird book tells me she was a female, and marveled at what a magnificent flying machine she was.  So dainty, yet stealthy.  God’s wonders NEVER cease to amaze me and the opportunities he gives us to see it up close. The beak is made for pecking, the three distinct segments of wing feathers, each with a different job to do. The tail with two layers of completely different feathers too. Science in your backyard is clear to see.
The boys admired her for a few more minutes, then found her a resting place.
That afternoon, our neighbors came over with a visitor.  A King snake had come to call and  Grayson was all over that.  Do you know the difference between a Coral and a Kingsnake? One ring of color is the difference between a deadly bite and safety.  We don’t take snake handling lightly here.

Gathering friends

This event led to afternoon play with our neighbor friends and a coffee between moms. It is wonderful to catch up with a friend when our week has been focused at home. When hungry kids were calling the dinner bell, we went out to collect them. As no surprise to us, we found a new creation among the trees. Cowboy and his friend had built a treehouse for two. It was quite the mastermind.  I am still concerned about how it is actually staying up in the air!
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Science in your backyard

 There was a screen door to keep out bugs, a fan for hot days, who cares if there is no electricity! There was a water bottle holder, a lookout spot and the list went on. The smiles on their proud faces were too glorious to criticize the use of daddy’s recycling pile.  We just smiled back and told them how proud we were of them. The science in your backyard activity turned into building and architecture.
Grayson and the others had found a glass lizard, among their backyard science insect hunt. It looks like a snake with legs on the inside.  I was glad that was going home with them. Science in your backyard at its best. We said our goodbyes and headed inside to a close another day of surprises.


This week,  I have had a cold, so I have taken it light with our studies.  When I do that, my heart and mind seem to be open to what may come our way.  Instead of a nuisance, I see it all as opportunities the Lord places in our path.  It is up to me to allow us all to stop in the path and listen, or look up and down.
nature study


About the Author

Holly Giles is a wife, mother, and storyteller. As an author and Florida Master Naturalist, she writes about heritage homemaking skills, motherhood, and why Florida offers the best hidden natural gems to explore as a family.

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