Did you know that the ruffed grouse puts out special bristles on its feet in the winter to help it maneuver over the snow? It’s just one of the special things about the bird of the week!

This week, the Nuthatches went in search of the ruffed grouse they’d been hearing all spring. They also played some fun running games!

Note: Thanks to Emily Rose for most of these photos!

On Tuesday, Nora Fox shared a special mystery object during opening circle. It was wrapped in a bandana and made a sound when you shook it. Some of the Nuthatches guessed acorns, marbles, and very tiny cats. It turned out to be peanuts that Nora had grown in a garden! When we opened the shells, the peanuts were salmon pink. Jamie used a special drum to mimic the sound the ruffed grouse makes when it flaps its wings. After circle, the Nuthatches set out for camp, but we didn’t stay there long. We had an exciting mission ahead of us: to track down the ruffed grouse, whose drumbeat wingflap we’d been hearing for a few weeks! We remembered it had come from the other end of the field. We practiced freezing and listening as hard as we could–and there it was! The boom, boom, boomboomboomboom that you can almost feel more than hear. The Nuthatches followed the sound into the sunny woods, letting it lead us to the creek. There we saw that the skunk cabbage had grown big green leaves! On the other side, we played camouflage and left some peanuts for the grouse to find. Then it was time to return to camp for slunch. Nora Murphy joined us for a fun game of “Seasons are Changing”. 

On Thursday, Nora Murphy joined us for the whole day! We started off by doing a bandana challenge, and playing our favorite game, Foxtail. When we got out to camp, Nora led us in a fun hydration game where we had to take a sip if the animal we were thinking of had fur, or feathers, or something else. Then we played “Seasons are Changing” and the All-In game, where we had to hide and find each other. The Nuthatches found some very tricky hiding spots! At slunch, we enjoyed a warm fire and had a discussion about the Haudenosaunee and Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫʼ, the First Peoples of this land. Nora Murphy also told a wonderful version of the Ancient Greek myth about Narcissus. The Nuthatches were spellbound as they listened to how that arrogant man became a flower looking at his reflection in the pool. Finally, the Nuthatches made their way back to the building, where they sheltered at the picnic tables and made some pinecone birdfeeders! 

Office Location:
Cornell Cooperative Extension, 615 Willow Ave., Ithaca, NY 14850
607-272-2292 | email Us

Preschool Location: 
4-H Acres, 418 Lower Creek Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850


Ithaca Forest Preschool is a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County and is run by Primitive Pursuits, a 4-H Program.