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Take the students outside for a bird observation walk.  Ask them to use the Bird Observation Checklist (original following this activity) to record the following data:

(a)Head description and color (including crest and crown)

(b)Beak shape and type

(c)Body shape, color, markings, and length

(d)Bird's size (compared to a known object)

(e)Tail type, color, and length

(f)Leg color and length

(g)Wing shape, color, markings, and width of span


(i)Behavior/observed actions (eating, preening, taking a bath, swimming, flying, climbing trees, walking, etc.)

(j)Food (if eating)

(k)Type (category) of bird

Warn students that being quiet and being still are required if they hope to see birds.  Birds are naturally afraid of humans and become very stressed if we come too close to them. Observe them from a distance.   Ask students to begin the birdwalk by standing quietly and listening for birds.  Then, have them look for birds by going in the directions they heard bird sounds.  When a bird is seen, ask students to sketch the bird and note as many different features as possible by using the bird observation checklist.  Unless the species of bird is familiar and obvious ask students not to attempt to identify the bird but rather to try and determine its category from the 8 bird groups.  

Discuss factors influencing the number of birds in an area. (a)A predator may be close-by (identify possible predators) and the birds would likely hide.

(b)Loud noises (like the ones students make or external noises like construction work) may frighten the birds. (Identify noises heard.)

(c)If there is not sufficient food birds will have moved elsewhere to search.  (Identify bird food sources in the area.)

(d)Early in the morning and late in the evening are the best times to see birds.  They usually keep cool during the heat of the day.  During bad weather (stormy, extremely hot, extremely cold) or even during impending bad weather birds seek cover and protection. outs include cavities in trees, dense foliage, thickly clumped branches, shady places underneath roofs and even the insides of abandoned buildings.  (Discuss the time of day, weather and other factors that might effect the number of birds today.)

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