Listening for Birds Read and Play
Last spring my kids came running inside, screen door slamming behind them, to tell me that they could hear chirping from the bird house in the backyard. We went outside together to discover there was a nest with new baby birds!
The best activities are born of such wonderful moments of curiosity.
The entire process of the mama and papa bird building the nest, sitting watch over their eggs, and feeding their newly born baby birds was been observed with great interest by our twins. When I came across this book at the bookstore it was too delightful and on topic not to share with them.
The soft muted illustrations are what first attracted my attention to this wonderfully playful book about birds. Unlike your typical bright Spring books, I feel these color choices accurately mirror the muddy browns with bursts of color that I see out the window. Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? asks the interesting question of why nesting Robins are so quiet. Creative onomatopoeia mimicks the many different bird calls all around the silent nesting bird. A wide array of colorful birds dart and flutter across the pages. At the end, an interesting mock interview with a Robin answers many remaining questions in a child friendly way. A fascinating amount can be learned through this gentle, simple book. 3+
Just outside our backdoor there was a wealth of bird life.
Cardinals and Blue Jays regularly fly through the trees. Woodpeckers make themself heard from our tallest tree. Sparrows have occupied our birdhouse. I realize this isn't true everywhere. Hopefully if you don't have a lot of birds in your neighborhood you can find a Nature Center or trail to search for birds.
Once we were done reading, my kids were on the edge of their seats excited to go outside and listen to the birds.
Usually I am more planful and likely would have created a chart in advance. Knowing my subpar drawing skills I also would have printed photos of the birds from online. It was not one of those prepared days however and what you see above was drawn on the spot.
My kids helped me by picking out colors for me to use and offering "helpful" comments about my drawing. I used markers and paper. Nothing fancy. I wrote both the bird names and their calls.
* Bring your chart outside or on your hike with a marker or pen to cross off the birds you hear.
* Look. Find somewhere to sit or stand and look around. Encourage your child to look up towards the trees and look for movement.
* Listen. Similar to our Listening Walk, we spent some time covering our eyes to focus on listening.
* Discuss. Encourage them to describe what they are seeing and explain their conclusions. For example: "Why does that look like a Cardinal to you?"
* Mark off the birds you see and hear on your chart.
* Pre-Literacy skills: listening, using writing implements, and reading a chart
* Cognitive: learned to differentiate between types of birds and life cycle of birds
* Science: inquiry skills of observation and collecting data
Placing birdhouses or birdfeeders in your backyard are a wonderful way to attract birdlife to your space. We had two birdhouses in our backyard. One was higher up and was where our little family of birds was located. We kept our distance from their nest, despite our great curiosity.
In our corner garden there was another birdhouse that was occupied at one point, but has since been abandoned. It is likely this has something to do with two energetic, noisy three year olds.
Our kids were however fascinated by this birdhouse and went over to investigate it again as part of our activity.
* Look for birds in other places. Talk a neighborhood walk or hike through the forest.
* Look for bird nests up in the trees.
* Make your own bird nests with clay and loose natural materials.
* Find a guidebook to give you more information about the birds you discover.
Have You Heard the Nesting Bird by Rita Gray
Markers or other writing materials
Place to Watch Birds
My Unit Study pals have you covered! Click the links below for more great Earth Day Unit Ideas.
Inspiring Earth Day Reading List for Children by Crafty Mama in ME
Earth Day Inspired Tissue Paper & Water Transfer Art by Play Dough & Popsicles
Earth Day Word Activities by Books and Giggles
Environmental Books for Kids by The Jenny Evolution
Egg Shell Gardens by Schooling a Monkey
Earth Science Crafts for Kids byThe Usual Mayhem
Earth Day Activity by The Moments at Home
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