HANNIBAL – Kenney Middle School was recently visited by Kindred Kingdoms Wildlife Rehabilitation, Inc., an organization dedicated to the care and release of injured birds of prey in Central and Northern New York.
As part of an English Language Arts common core module regarding the interaction between people and the natural world, the sixth graders read a book entitled “Frightful’s Mountain” by Jean Craighead George.
The story involves the relationship between a young boy named Sam and an endangered peregrine falcon named Frightful.
The module demonstrated that human actions have environmental consequences. Students analyzed how George and other authors approached providing information in their writing; they discovered that reading for research can help them to make informed claims in their own argument writing.
Inspired by the topic of endangered birds of prey, students researched local wildlife rehabilitation organizations and asked teachers and administration if a visit could be arranged.
Founders of Kindred Kingdoms Jean Soprano and Len Soprano brought along a peregrine falcon, owls, a hawk and other birds of prey for the students to see during their visit.
The middle schoolers learned more than they ever could have imagined. They saw first-hand how the feathers of a bird work like a zipper. The birds clean and re-lineup their feathers on a daily basis, a process called preening.
The students were also educated on some of the characteristics that make these birds so incredible. For instance, Jean Soprano showed the students that the birds had a third eyelid that acts as its own windshield when flying.
As “Frightful’s Mountain” shows, it is not legal to own or keep a falcon and other birds of prey without proper licensing. The mission of Kindred Kingdoms is to provide medical treatment to injured and orphaned wildlife with the ultimate goal of returning them to the wild where they belong.
“The best part of rehabbing is letting them go,” said Jean Soprano.
Kindred Kingdoms is a non-profit organization and survives through donations and volunteers. The sixth graders wanted to do their part by bringing in requested items such as Cheerios and paper as a donation.