Taking a Science Class into Rural Pakistan

Sometime ago I wrote an article on how everyone can love science and math as long as we don’t leave these subjects in the classroom.  Well the time has come to take the science class out of the school and into the fields of Pakistan that surround Lahore.

Kingfisher science class lahoreFrom my veranda I have the opportunity to watch nature unfold its lovely colours and events as I bask in the winter sunlight.  From this vantage point I get to watch science in all its glory.

For months I have been watching this gorgeous blue bird.  I had seen it in South Waziristan but didn’t know its name.  It was called the Bombay Bluebird there, but I have since found out it is called a kingfisher, a White-throated Kingfisher to be exact.  It is so beautiful, that the curious scientist in me called me to explore more about it on the Internet.

I must say it doesn’t like to have its picture taken so this picture is a rare moment.  He is a bit afraid of the click of a camera.

So for an outdoor science class today, here it is:

The White-throated Kingfisher is one of five varieties that live in Pakistan and can be found in the open plains (as around Lahore) but has also been seen as far away as the Himalayan Mountains.

They can usually be seen perched on top of trees, wires or other high perches.  Although you do not see many at a time, they are not an endangered species so they should be around for viewing for a long time to come.  They can fly very fast and have powerful beaks (called bills because of the shape and size) so they do not have many predators.

Their diet is made up of large crustaceans, insects, earthworms, rodents, snakes, fish and frogs and there are plenty of those in the fields around Lahore so they have lots of food to eat.

Kingfisher science lahoreThree hundred years ago the Kingfisher was hunted for its beautiful blue feathers.  The feathers were used to decorate hats.  One such hat is on display in a museum in Scotland.  I think the feathers should have stayed on the bird because the hat is, in my view, quite ugly.

I enjoy observing natural science at its best out in the rural areas of Lahore and it is this love for science that I want to instill in students.  Yes, we do have to study textbooks, but sometimes it’s worth studying science outside the classroom.  It certainly is more exciting!

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