Hey, kids! Feeling stuck inside? Why not bring the outdoors in and explore the exciting world of birds! In a time where things are changing by the hour, there is a certain comfort in the ongoing rhythms and cycles in nature—one of them is spring migration!
Have you seen your first robin yet? Actually, did you know that not all robins migrate? Some stay around for the winter, especially if there are lots of berries to be found.
Here are some science questions and activities to help get you get started on a bird discovery adventure…
Owl Pellets: Did you know that owl pellets are tidy bundles of the bones and fur that an owl spits up hours after consuming its latest meal? Why not try your hand at a virtual owl pellet dissection?
Feathers Story: What are feathers for? Take a listen to the book Feather’s Aren’t Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart to help you brainstorm. How long is your list?
Eggshell Chalk: Did you know that chalk and eggshells both contain calcium carbonate? Try re-using eggshells by crushing them, mixing them with a bit of water, flour and food colouring and let that harden. You’ll end up with some homemade sidewalk chalk! You could even reuse an egg carton as your chalk mould.
Flight and Origami: Prefer to work with paper? Learn the science behind flight, study different wing shapes and make some paper airplanes. Which style flies the farthest? Or try your hand at origami by folding up some beautiful birds.
Songs and Science: Do you know any bird songs? Try these…
· Chickadee: chick-a-dee-dee-dee
· Red-winged Blackbird: Herculeeeeeeees
· Robin: CHEERIO, cheerio, cheerio, cheerio
· Barred Owl: Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?
An ornithologist is a scientist who studies birds. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology created a Bird Academy Play Lab and has many interactives, games and activities that will help you identify bird songs and learn more about bird feathers, anatomy and adaptations.
Bird Feeder Bullies: Do you have a bird feeder at home? How many visiting birds can you identify? If you don’t have a bird feeder at home, check out the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s interactive graphic. Choose which bird you think is 'king' of the bird feeder and check your answer by hovering over your guess. The bird with the most blue arrows pointing away from it is king!
Well, by now you must be quite the bird expert! It’s time to get out for a hike in your own backyard and find some real birds. Take along Nature Canada’s Junior Birder Guide so you can record your observations.