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On Tuesday afternoons I have the pleasure of taking care of a friend's son
at The Birds of Vermont Museum.  We often go out for a walk during our
four hours  together.  We walked up to the pond and the hillside beyond
and as always, I birded while he did his usual 3-year-old routines with
sticks and rocks, prodding in holes, etc.  Occasionally he birded as well.

When he saw me write down Barred Owl, he decided for the first time in his
dear little life to make a list as well. I had never seen him express an
interest in writing anything before. So I showed him how to "write" Barred
Owl: B O. After
that, he insisted on writing down every bird I wanted to record, so I
showed him how to form the letters and then he did his best to
replicate.....PW (Pewee), MODO, TRH (Hermit thrush), WD ("Wooden duck").
I can't think of a better place to start learning to write words than in
the forest!

Ali