Book 300: The Singing Snake

photo, cover, The Singing Snake by Stefan CzerneckiThe Singing Snake

by Stefan Czernecki and Timothy Rhodes

The Singing Snake is an Australian folktale and the illustrations are based on aboriginal painting.  It is a story to explain how the didgeridoo was first made, and you can imagine this tale would satisfy a child’s curiosity.  The part that caused me to think was that the didgeridoo is made from a log that has been made hollow by insects.  A limb of a tree with a soft center is tossed into a termite colony and the termites eat out the center.  The sounds from the didgeridoo vary with the size of the wood.

I was thinking I had never seen anything like that in the forests of Minnesota, and didn’t know something similar was happening right in front of me.  I had been taking photos of a Pileated woodpecker’s cavity nest, which was taken over by a Northern Flicker.

Pileated Woodpecker, photo

photo, yellow shafted Northern Flicker in hole made by Pileated Woodpecker

I was imagining this sixty foot high tree had a nest and that one of these birds had laid eggs in it.  The tree swaying in the wind with some other trees on our land necessitated their removal, and as a storm was approaching the trees were removed.  I was thinking we had done something terrible to the birds!  The tree people went and looked for me and found the tree was HOLLOW (like the wood for the didgeridoo).  They kindly sawed above and below the hole I thought was a nest and gave it to me.  I could see it was entirely hollow and had no nest of any kind.  Relief!  Except now I learned fishers live in hollowed out, mature aspens.  No wonder we have seen fishers on our land with many dying trees, although very rarely, and our trees are not the 2 feet in diameter required.  It is interesting living in a Boreal forest!

photo, part of the tree trunk

So, for this book, I have made a yes/no work pages and a coloring page for differentiation.  Singing Snake free PDF work page from Wise Owl Factory

singing snake information photo

I also found a free online lesson based on this book for you to check out.

Here is a YouTube video of the tree next to the bird tree being taken down!

Thank you for reading, Carolyn

About Carolyn Wilhelm

Carolyn Wilhelm is the author of The Wise Owl Factory, The Wise Owl Factory Book a Day Blog, and is web master for the Wise Owl Factory Teaching Friends blog She has an MS in Gifted Education, an MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12, and is a National Board Certified Teacher.
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