This time of year we all have birds on the brain. After a cold, quiet winter, we’re treated to a bounty of birdsong in the spring! But what exactly are those birds saying to each other? Are they discussing baseball? Probably not. Their voices sound like songs to us, but they’re actually conveying important information.
Birds make sounds to attract mates, warn of danger, protect their territory, and let other birds know where there’s food. Head outside in the early morning hours–what do you hear? How many different birds are singing? How are their songs different? How are they similar?
Children are naturally better at identifying bird songs than adults (maybe because they’re not as distracted!) and love to try to match the bird with the sound. Learning about the world of birds requires making connections, collecting and analyzing data, and using your imagination, memory, and deductive reasoning skills. Try these activities for a lesson on birdsong!
- Go outside and have each child mark on a piece of paper where they are standing and an identifying point, such as a building or a tree. Then everyone stands for a minute and listens. Each time you hear a bird, mark it on the paper in relation to where you are standing. You’ll all have a map of where the birds are!
- Use a birdsong app or website to identify the birdsong you hear outside. After you’ve identified the birds around you, have the kids quiz each other. They’ll probably do great on this kind of test!
Try these sites:
All About Birds
- Make milk carton bird feeders with milk cartons, Popsicle sticks, string, and bird seed and hang near windows to spy different species of birds coming to feast! Keep charts of each species of bird you see and record what time of day they eat. Do they make a birdsong?
For students, looking at and listening to the natural habitats around them is a terrific way to make connections and learn about the world. Happy Spring!