School technically ends for us next week, but since the pandemic is still going on it will be awhile before we are able to get back to our “normal” routine. So, I’m putting together some unit studies to help us all (ok, mostly me) stay sane. I asked Animal Lady (7) what types of things she would like to learn about and one of the first things she said was birds. This may be because her Godmother, affectionately known as Gaga has a deadly fear of the feathered aviators and Animal Lady can’t wait to terrorize her with all her new found bird knowledge. So Birds will be our first subject. Here are some resources I am planning on using so far. We will probably focus mostly on North American birds, but any birds will be fair game.
We love adding games to everything, so we of course will have to play some bird themed games during our unit study. We’ll use these little bird figures from the Safari Ltd Backyard Birds TOOB for matching with the three part cards I made. I’ll also add them to sensory bins and I’m sure the kids will find other ways to use them as well.
- Bird Bingo
- Sibley Backyard Bird Matching Game
- Professor Noggin’s Birds of North America
- Three in the Tree (not pictured)
Books & Poetry
This category has been difficult to plan since the pandemic isn’t allowing us to utilize the public library as we normally would. Luckily, I was able to find some at home, and purchased the bird guide from Amazon. It’s surprising how few digital and audio books about birds the library had for kids, but I’m sure this will keep us busy for awhile. We’re also throwing in a Saint book to read about St Francis.
- Backyard Birds (Peterson Field Guides for Young Naturalists)
- National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America
- Bird Builds a Nest: A First Science Storybook by Martin Jenkins (not pictured)
- Fine Feathered Friends: All About Birds (Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library)
- Usborne World of Animals
- Usborne Pocket Books: Birds
- The Little Duck
- Loyola Kids Book of Saints
There is so much amazing music that is inspired by birds. From classical, to jazz to rock, there will be plenty for us to listen to! My personal favorite would have to be “The Birds” by Hayden. This piece of music will always have a special place in my heart, because it was one of the first pieces my string quartet played together in middle school. Our musical time together led to lifelong friendships so listening to this makes me so happy! We will also listen to actual birds! Outside of course, but we will also listen to specific bird’s calls, to see if we can recognize any when we head outside. For that we will use the list put together here.
- String Quartet Op. 33 no. 3 “The Bird” by Joseph Haydn
- The Lark Ascending by Vaughn Williams
- The Birds by Ottorino Respighi
- Cantus Arcticus by Einojuhani Rautavaara
- Bird Concerto with Pianosong by Jonathan Harvey
- Rockin’ Robin by The Jackson Five
- The Duck from Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev
- Aviary from The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens
- Little Bird Song by Jessica Williams
- Little Birdie preformed by Pete Seeger
- Yardbird Suite by Charlie Parker
We can’t take a trip to the Museum right now to look for birds in art, but we can find art to appreciate at home, and make our own art. We’ll try drawing some birds and also paint with feathers.
- Yellow Breasted Finch by John Abbot
- The Magpie by Claude Monet
- The Yellow Birds by Grandma Moses
- Wheatfield with Crows by Vincent Van Gogh
- Birds by Andy Warhol
- The Birds by Henri Matisse
- Canyon with Crows by Georgia O’Keeffe
- Summertime by Mary Cassatt
- Me and My Parrot by Frida Kahlo
I’ve got a few activities planned already, and I’m sure I’ll add more as we go. I made a bird scavenger hunt for us to take on our nature walks and also made some bird themed math cards and three part cards. (I’ll share those here next week in case anyone would like them.) And the thing I’m probably looking forward to the least–dissecting owl pellets. Animal Lady specifically asked to do this. When I said, “Yuck, owl poop!” She said, ” No Mommy, it’s owl vomit. The owls eat their prey whole and then their tummy can’t take the bones so the ugkk ughkk spit up the bones and that’s what owl pellets are.” Ha! Who needs this bird study again??!
- Make a bird feeder out of recyclables/household items
- Dissect Owl Pellets
- Go on nature walks looking for birds using the bird scavenger hunt I made
- Backyard birds three part cards
- Birds Nest math cards
We know there will be screen time, so might as well have that be part of the learning time. The kids love the Wild Kratts, so that’s where most of our Bird TV time will come from. We have also been loving the documentaries on Curiosity Stream and there is one about hummingbirds on there that I think the kids will enjoy. There is also a documentary on Netflix called Birders that I think looks really interesting. It is filmed at the US and Mexico border and follows bird watchers on both sides and the birds that migrate back and forth.
- Wild Kratts: Blue Heron
- Wild Kratts: The Fourth Bald Eagle
- Wild Kratts: The Blue and the Gray
- Nature Cat: For the Birdies
- Hummingbirds: Jewelled Messengers (documentary on curiosity stream)
- Birders (documentary on Netflix)
That’s it for now. I’ll share how our bird study goes once we start! Next week I’ll also share printable versions of our bird scavenger hunt, three part cards and bird themed math cards too.