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Birds for Kids

Free Online Resources to Help You Create an Engaging Bird Unit Study for Your Homeschool

Homeschool Bird Unit Study
By: Mindy Scirri, Ph.D.

One of the joys of homeschooling is being able to learn from what is around us—finding teachable moments in a typical day. Sometimes we can plan instruction to discover more about nature right outside our doors. If your kids are like most kids, they are fascinated by the creatures they see when they play in the yard or even look out the window. Does your yard have a bird feeder or bird bath? Is there a set of binoculars always at the ready by a window? Do you have a budding bird watcher in the family? Whether birdwatching is a favorite pastime, or you are a complete newbie, learning about our feathered friends can be fun!

Consider creating your own homeschool bird unit study from the free online resources below:

Bird Information for Kids

Bird Watching & Identification for Kids Bird Lesson Plans & Activities for Kids
Bird Arts & Crafts for Kids Bird Projects for Kids

Bird Games for Kids

 

Bird Information for Kids

Sometimes just learning a bit of information about something can make it so much more interesting. Here are some free online bird unit study resources:

4-H Embryology and EGG Cam (University of Nebraska – Lincoln)
Watch live video of chicks hatching from January through early fall! Then explore the resources to learn about incubation, chicken growth and development, and much more.

Bird Pictures & Facts (National Geographic)
For your older students…. Learn some bird facts and then specifics about featured birds like the barn owl and gray crowned crane. Watch bird videos or check out the latest bird stories.

Birds (Enchanted Learning)
Discover basic facts about bird nests and eggs, migrations, classification, evolution, songs, and anatomy.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology
An “ornithologist” is a scientist who studies birds. There is a lot of information on this site—particularly for your secondary students, including sound files to help you identify birds, as well as full courses. Live bird cams can also be found here!

 

 

EdZoocating:Birds
Learn about different types of birds and what makes them birds on this animal educating site.

From Egg to Chick (Chickscope)
Here is a guide to help you study the incubation and embryonic development of a chick. A list of sources is also available to help you find publications, models, films, charts, and slides.

The Life of Birds (PBS)
This is a collection of resources that goes along with The Life of Birds video, by David Attenborough. Learn about the making of the movie, bird brains, evolution, champion birds, parenthood, bird songs, and more.

The Ornithology WebSite
This site is dedicated to educating you about bird ecology and conservation. Find articles, photos, videos and more!

 

Bird Watching & Identification for Kids

Any homeschool bird study would not be complete without some actual birdwatching. To encourage your kids to enjoy birdwatching, you need to help them learn how to identify the various species they are likely to see. Check out these resources:

Bird Guide (Cornel Lab of Ornithology)
Learn how to identify over 600 North American bird species through sight and sound. Find out about their life histories and more.

Bird Songs (SUNY Stony Brook)
Lean to identify birds from New York State through pictures, songs, and calls. Discover the world’s best singers and learn about bird songs in musical notation. There is also a list of links to other bird-song sites.

 

  

Great Backyard Bird Count (Audubon)
Participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count by counting birds in your backyard for 15 minutes or more per day over a four-day period in February. Submit your birdwatching observations online to help researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society understand the state of the bird population and protect them and their environments.

Hummingbirds (Hummingbirds.net)
Your older students will enjoy this site dedicated to the hummingbirds we watch, feed, and study in North America. Learn how to attract hummingbirds to your feeder and how to identify the various species of hummingbirds, as well as information about migration and more. 

Merlin Bird ID (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
Get help identifying over 650 species of North American birds. Enter in the observation information and then learn about the possibilities for the birds you have seen. Just click on “Bird ID” when you get on the site.

Operation Ruby Throat
If you love to watch the hummingbirds come to your feeder, then you may want to participate in this collaborative study about the behavior and distribution of the ruby-throated hummingbird. Learn all about this species as well as other species of hummingbirds and discover activities designed for K-12 students.

 

Don’t forget to download our free Bird Observation Sheet printable below!

 

Bird Lesson Plans & Activities for Kids

Maybe you are looking for some more formal lessons and activity ideas for your homeschool bird unit study? Good news! You do not have to create them from scratch! Here are some free online lesson plans and educational activities to do with your kids:

K-12 Education Lessons & Activities (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
Check out the free lessons divided by grade levels: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. You can also find stories from the field and activities for your science and nature lovers.

Egg-Speriment (Scholastic)
How strong is an eggshell? Try this experiment (designed for ages 8-10) and find out!

Owl Pellet Dissection Kits (Owl Brand)
Did you ever wonder what an owl eats? Buy one of these kits for an at-home science experiment and dissect an owl pellet (undigested parts of an owl’s food). Explore the bones, fur, feathers, bills, teeth, claws, insect exoskeletons, and plant matter that can be found there!

 

Homeschool Bird Unit Study 

 

Bird Arts & Crafts for Kids

Most birds are naturally beautiful, so they are often the subjects of art. Bring birds into your homeschool’s art classes, or add an arts and crafts activity to a homeschool bird study lesson with these resources:

25+ Easy Bird Crafts for Toddlers and Preschoolers (Happy Hooligans)
How about some cute and easy bird crafts for your young ones? Try a CD owl ornament or toilet roll crows. Pom Pom blue jays are fun, or maybe paper plate robins are more your style. Browse the list and have fun!

75+ Awesome Bird Crafts for Preschoolers
Check out this collection of owl crafts, tropical bird crafts, peacock crafts, penguin crafts, and more. Wonderful ways to build your preschooler’s creativity while learning about birds!

 

 

Bird Arts and Crafts for Kids (Sugar Spice and Glitter)
Have fun making patriotic bird art, a celery stamp owl, or a rosette bird. Make bird garland, bird paper airplanes, and bird feeder wreaths. There are so many more!

Bird Crafts (Activity Village)
Make a Bird Cake, a Birds Nest Collage, a Dove Fuse Bead Pattern, or an Origami Owl. Use cups and balls, foam, cupcake cases and other items you have around the house.

 

 

How to Draw a Bird
This is a basic guide for beginners who want to draw birds. Follow step-by-step instructions to draw your first songbird.

How to Draw Birds (DragoArt)
Learn how to draw a variety of realistic and cartoon birds, including flamingos, eagles, penguins, and songbirds. You can search by level of difficulty, too.

 

Bird Projects for Kids

Do your kids love projects? Here are some hands-on projects that will attract birds to your yard, so you can study them up close during your homeschool bird study:

Bird-Feeding Stations | Attracting Birds to Your Yard (Missouri Department of Conservation)
Attract birds by making bird-feeding stations. Learn all about feeding stations and the importance of considering seed preferences. Find out about year-round feeding and learn why a popular myth about bird feeding—that you must keep going once you start—just isn’t true. Also discover some landscaping and other tips to make your bird-feeding stations successful.

 

 

Bird-Friendly Homes (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
Make it a family project to build a bird-friendly yard. Find out about birdhouses, nesting boxes, birdhouses, and other ways to invite birds for your viewing.
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Bluebird Fact Sheets & Nest Box Plans
Bluebirds need special considerations, and this site has all you need to start attracting bluebirds to your yard. Read through the fact sheets and then find plans for a bluebird nest box you can make.

 

Bird Games for Kids

What better way to finish off your homeschool bird unit study than through interactive games? Here are some fun ways for your kids to continue their learning about birds:

Bird Academy Learning Games (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
Try these games and activities to have fun while learning: Beastbox (game based on wild animal sounds), Flap to the Future (game following the evolution of flight), Wall of Birds (virtual experience to learn about birds and their ancestors), All about Bird Anatomy (interactive quiz game to learn about the parts of a bird’s body), and Bird Song Hero (quiz game for recognizing bird songs). Interactive tutorials are also included that focus on birds’ appearances, songs, and feathers.

Bird Games & Videos (Learning Games for Kids) 
Gain knowledge about birds through videos and then games that reinforce the learning. Find out about the Andean Condor, Bald Eagle, Crowned Crane, Flamingo, Penguin, and more!

 

Are there other resources out there for creating a great bird unit study? Share them in the comments below….

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