Together for Birds – PLT’s Newest Activity Collection!
PLT and American Bird Conservancy (ABC) collaborated to develop a special new digital activity collection–Together for Birds. The activities are designed for educators to use with students in grades K-2, with variations for grades 3-5. The collection is filled with enhanced bird-specific content such as new enrichment experiences, recommended reading, forest facts, accompanying posters, and charts.
Observing birds helps to instill an appreciation of wildlife and encourages empathy for all living things. It also supports mental health and overall wellbeing. In addition, it can also help students understand how different components of nature work together to support organisms.
Like all living things, birds need food, water, shelter, and space. We call the place where they get these things their habitat. Through this collection of activities, students will explore the birds and other organisms that live on or around your site. In doing so, they also consider how this habitat provides the food, water, shelter, and space these organisms need to live.
Take learners on a journey outdoors to discover the birds and other organisms living in, on, and around trees; how coloration helps animals survive; and signs of animals in different habitats! Get your copy of Together for Birds, free for a limited time!
Explore ways to reduce the environmental effects of trash and plastic pollution on birds and other wildlife. SPLASh (Stopping Plastics and Litter Along Shorelines), a program of the American Bird Conservancy, includes lessons and activities for learning about the human impacts of trash on wildlife and for examining solutions. Learn more at splashtx.org/education.
Flying WILD: An Educator’s Guide to Celebrating Birds offers a whole-school approach to environmental education using birds as the focus. Flying WILD is targeted for the middle-school science audience, though widely adaptable, with activities involving language arts, social science and math experiences, coupled with community outreach and service learning applications. Learn more at fishwildlife.org/projectwild.
Trees & Birds–A Symbiotic Relationship
Trees are more than just a place birds call home. Birds often find their food, like insects and worms, flying around trees or in the rich soil surrounding a tree and its roots. But it’s not just birds that benefit from trees. It goes the other way around! Birds are essential for dispersing seeds–they contribute to growing more trees. They also help control insect populations, eating pests that can harm trees and plants. These are just some of the many ways trees and birds thrive from one another.
Activities to Learn About Birds
In addition to the three activities within the Together for Birds collection, check out some other fun ways to teach kids about birds.
Head outdoors and have your learners to use their bird-spotting eyes and ears (or binoculars!) to observe birds. Bring paper and some colored pencils with you and get creative–encourage students to draw the birds they see in their nature journals. Check out our article on how to introduce kids to urban birdwatching.
Name that Bird
With profiles of over 400 bird species, check out American Bird Conservancy’s Bird Library. Instead of having students write a book report, have them write a bird report. Encourage them to learn more about a bird’s habitat, its population, what it eats, where it lives, and even the sounds it makes–whether to attract a mate or to warn others of nearby danger.
Home Tweet Home – Activities for Little Learners
From wetlands to forests, birds have a host of habitats they call home. Some birds build their nests high up in trees, while others create burrows in sand. You might find a bird’s nest delicately floating in a pond and another attached to a freeway overpass. Birds build nests from various materials, including sticks, grass, roots, lichen, bark, feathers, and even mud. For a fun activity to do with young learners, do the Tree Textures activity from our guide Trees & Me: Activities for Exploring Nature with Young Children. Set up a discovery table with various materials, like shredded paper, twigs, and moss, and encourage children to build their own nest.
Celebrate World Migratory Bird Day
Did you know there is a special day that originated to bring awareness of the threats that migratory birds face, their ecological importance, and why it’s so critical to help conserve migratory birds and their habitats? World Migratory Bird Day happens every year on the second Saturday in May (US & Canada) and on the second Saturday in October (Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean). Check out events happening near you with this easy-to-use map. From guided nature hikes hosted by birders to interactive exhibits, there is something for everyone!
According to ABC, “Hundreds of bird species flood back and forth between northern breeding grounds and southern wintering areas twice yearly, each a unique circuit of landscape, habitats, and threats.”
Birds migrate for two primary reasons–food and nesting. Birds that nest here in the Northern Hemisphere migrate north in the spring because of ample food supply and places to call home. While some birds do not migrate at all, those that do travel varied distances ranging from simply moving down a mountain to a lower elevation to thousands of miles. What is even more incredible is that while the exact path birds travel may differ slightly each year due to weather conditions, food availability, and other reasons, a bird’s inner compass, so to speak, always gets them back home.
In North America, there are four “avian superhighways”–the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, and Pacific Flyways. Check out this article from ABC to learn more about the flight patterns of bird species near you!
Get Your Copy of Together for Birds – New Activity Collection!
PLT partnered with American Bird Conservancy to create a new bird-themed digital activity collection, Together for Birds. Thanks to generous funding from ABC, this collection is available for free until December 31, 2023.