#16 Hunt for Holes in Nature! Sequester at Home with CREA

Sometimes, it’s nice to have a purpose or ‘theme’ when you go for a walk. How about holes? Holes are everywhere and each has a different story.

Who made this hole?

Head outside with the goal of looking for holes of all shapes and sizes. You can look high in the trees and low in the ground. Here are some things to think about as you look for and find holes:

  • How many can you find?
  • Was the hole made for food? Shelter? Nesting?
  • Bring a notebook and sketch the holes.
  • For holes in trees, is the tree living, dead, or diseased?
  • Who might have made the hole? Birds? Insects? Mammals?
  • How long has the hole been there? New or old?
  • Who lives in the hole? Bird? What kind? Mammal? Insect?
  • Visit your hole regularly and see if there’s any activity around it. This requires sitting quietly and perhaps being hidden from view.
Can you find the hole in this tree? It’s at least four inches in diameter!

Try to get your children thinking about the characteristics of the different holes. Compare and contrast their features (high/low, big/small, etc). It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anything about who made the hole or lives in it. We want to tap into the innate sense of wonder and curiosity that resides in us all. “I wonder who made this hole and how long it took to make it?”

Inquiry starts with asking questions, analyzing available information, making guesses (or hypotheses, if you like the more technical term), then looking for information that can confirm your guess or just fill in the blanks.

During morning bird walks recently, I’ve been looking for, and finding, TONS of holes. I’ve been focusing on trees. Many are (indirectly) thanks to beavers that created several impoundments along my walk. The beaver ponds flooded trees, the trees died, the woodpeckers moved in to eat insects feeding on the dead trees. Then came the holes.

My curiosity has been piqued and with a little online research I learned some fun facts, including:

  • Half of birds are cavity nesters.
  • Woodpeckers, owls, nuthatches, bluebirds, chickadees and more nest in cavities.
  • It takes woodpeckers two weeks to excavate a cavity. Two weeks!
  • Northern Flickers are the primary hole excavators.
  • On cold nights, birds will go into a cavity, sometimes multiple birds in a single cavity.

There is much to see and much to learn. Go on a hole hunt and see what you find!