Honey bees do different jobs as they get older. The young bees take care of the brood, and the older bees go out and forage or gather food.

In the fall, the foraging bees don't look too bad.

honey-bee-sunflowerhoney-bee-pollen-basket-251They are still fuzzy and their wings are in good shape.

Now contrast that to some honey bees out foraging this week.

Can you see the dark patch on the back of the thorax? This bee has lost some of her hair.

The quality of this photo isn't the best, but can you see how ragged the edges of this honey bee's wings are?

These honey bees have been in the nest all winter, probably working hard to keep it warm. They are worn out.

Have you ever spotted a honey bee that was worse for wear?

Groundhog's Day is coming up soon. It's a perfect time to learn more about this fascinating animal.

Groundhogs have a number of common names. They are also called woodchucks or whistle pigs. Their scientific name is Marmota monax. They belong to the taxonomic group marmots. Groundhogs are rodents, so they have large front teeth or incisors. They also have sharp claws for digging their big burrows.

(Public Domain Illustration)

It is not unusual to see groundhogs sitting next to their burrows or eating plants along highways. Perhaps that's why I've seen them often, but don't have a single photograph.

For older children:

Susan and Joe Sam have spent a great deal of time studying, photographing, and videoing families of woodchucks that live near their home. See their new website, Woodchuck Wonderland™. (Note:  The website does discuss the entire life cycle of the woodchuck, including mating.) They have made many interesting discoveries regarding the family behavior of woodchucks. I highly recommend the photo galleries.

For preschoolers:

Groundhog Day Play By Roberta Gibson

It is February 2, Groundhog Day. Groundhog is looking for his shadow. People say that if he sees his shadow there will be six more months of winter.

Where is Groundhog?

He’s in his burrow.
Can he see his shadow?
No, it’s dark in there.
Where is Groundhog?
Can he see his shadow?
No, he’s behind the big rock.
Where is Groundhog?
He’s behind that tree.
Can he see his shadow?
No, the tree trunk is blocking the light.
Where is Groundhog now?
Can he see his shadow?
No, he’s hiding behind Deer.
Where is Groundhog?
He’s standing out in the sun.
Can he see his shadow?
Yes, he can!
Back to bed Groundhog. You can sleep for six more weeks.


Earlier Groundhog's Day Science post with shadow activities


Just in time for Great Backyard Bird Count  February 17-20, 2017, we have a terrific bird-themed giveaway opportunity offered by Downtown Bookworks. Let's see all the great stuff they have to offer, and then discuss what you have to do to enter below.

Number 1 on the list is Bird-acious (Science with Stuff) by award-winning children's science writer Melissa Stewart.

This book is a fun and educational introduction to birds for young readers. It contains big color photographs and interesting facts. It covers everything from feathers and flying to beaks and eating. There’s even a two-page spread that features photographs of cool bird tongues and describes what the various structures are used for.

But Bird-acious offers even more. In the cover image above, do you see the brown mass in the yellow oval to the right, just under the title? That is an actual owl pellet for kids to dissect, as well as detailed instructions how to do it in the back of the book. A bird book with its own hands-on activity included, what more could you ask for?

See more about Bird-acious in last week's STEM Friday review.

Age Range: 6 and up
Publisher: Downtown Bookworks; Nov edition (December 10, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1935703900
ISBN-13: 978-1935703907

Number 2 is A Walk in the Woods: Into the Field Guide by Emily Laber-Warren.

This Into the Field Guide is perfect to carry along on a hike in the woods. Color photographs and clear, simple descriptions will help youngsters learn to identify common animals, plants, and even some rocks. Also includes basic scientific concepts and facts, such as how stick insects hide from predators using camouflage.

Although not solely about birds, both these guides have a section on common birds found in the habitat they feature. A Walk in the Woods has descriptions of American robins, Northern mockingbirds, chickadees, goldfinches, etc., all the birds you might see for The Great Backyard Bird Count.

Age Range: 5 and up
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Downtown Bookworks (June 18, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1935703269
ISBN-13: 978-1935703266

Number 3 is A Walk on the Beach: Into the Field Guide by Laurie Goldman.

A Walk on the Beach helps young readers learn about common animals, plants, rocks, shells, and even debris found on the beach.

The bird section includes information about water birds ranging from great blue herons and seagulls, to eagles and ducks. If you live near a body of water, this book will also help your children identify birds for the GBBC.

Age Range: 5 and up
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Downtown Bookworks; Original edition (June 18, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1935703277
ISBN-13: 978-1935703273

Number 4 is Look and Learn Birds (PBS Kids) by Sarah Parvis and PBS KIDS (Editor)

Perfect to accompany a citizen science project like The Great Backyard Bird Watch, this kit comes with a 64-page Look and Learn Birds book, simple-to-use binoculars, a laminated identification sheet with pictures of common birds, and an activity poster. What a fabulous way to encourage the next generation of bird watchers!

Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Publisher: Downtown Bookworks; Box Pck Pa edition (August 30, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1941367291
ISBN-13: 978-1941367292


Would you like a chance to receive the prize pack of all four of these items? Simply login the Rafflecopter below -- making sure you leave a valid e-mail address -- by 12:00 a.m. EST February 7, 2017. Rafflecopter will randomly pick the winner and I will notify Downtown Bookworks (they have kindly agreed to ship the prize.) Their only request is that the giveaway is only open to US residents.

The Giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please let me know in the comments or contact me at the e-mail address listed on the about page if you have any problems with Rafflecopter.


Related Activities:

Check out the bird-related activities in this free downloadable .pdf:

Activities from PBS KIDS Look and Learn Birds


And don't forget the Great Backyard Bird Count.


Disclosure: These books and kit were provided by the publisher/author for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.