This month’s STEM Tuesday theme is all about birds. One way to get kids interested is to take them outside to see the birds they can find or do some research to learn more about the incredible adaptations of birds. Here are a few activities to try.
Be an Urban Birder
Urban birding is a fun and easy way to learn more about the birds that live in the city. First read through the following books from this month’s list about different birds dwelling in cities.
Falcons in the City: The Story of a Peregrine Family by Chris Earley, photographs by Luke Massey
Cities are full of wildlife. Explore these urban residents.
Crows: Genius Birds by Kyla Vanderklugt
This is a perfect companion title to Crow Smarts. Readers will love the comic format.
Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World’s Brightest Bird by Pamela S. Turner, photographs by Andy Comins, illustrations by Guido de FeLippo
Let’s talk about bird brains. Turner’s book focuses on the best and the brightest – crows. This is also a Scientists in the Field title that will introduce readers to the scientists at the heart of this brainy bird science.
Provide students with a bird identification guide, or make sure they have access to Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology online bird guide. Map out a route for the group to follow and tell students to look for birds and signs of birds. These signs can include bird nests, feathers, and hearing bird songs or calls. Also, before you head out, create a list of common birds in the area and review them with students. Make sure students have sketchbooks and pencils to draw what they see and note any identifying characteristics of the birds they see. Now it’s time to head out. Have students watch for birds, draw what they see, and make a list of the birds they identify. What is the most common bird found?
Finding Bird Superpowers
Birds can do amazing feats due to their unusual adaptations—like flying incredibly long distances while barely using any energy at all or running more than 40 miles per hour! Try this research project with students to learn about some of the shocking superpowers of birds. First read through these books from our list.
Superpower Field Guides – Ostriches by Rachel Poliquin, illustrated by Nicholas John Frith
This installment of the fun, graphic series focuses on fascinating ostriches that can outrun most horses
Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose
Can a bird fly the distance of the moon? It sure can. This is the story of a red knot that had an outstanding flying career.
Have students pick a bird they would like to research for their superpowers. They can pick one of the birds from the books just read or they can choose another to research, such as: great horned owls, hummingbirds, gannets, and harpy eagles, to name just a few. See what superpowers students can find about their birds and have them create superhero movie posters about them. They can think of a superhero name, draw a picture of the bird on the poster, and provide copy advertising the bird’s amazing abilities. Share these fun posters as a class!
Here are a few other resources to try and read in the classroom:
- The Cornell Lab, Science and Nature Activities for Cooped Up Kids: https://www.birds.cornell.edu/k12/science-nature-activities-for-cooped-up-kids/
- Audubon Arizona, Fun Facts about Hummingbirds: https://az.audubon.org/conservation/fun-facts-about-hummingbirds
- National Geographic Kids, Birds: https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds
- National Park Service, The Remarkable Adaptations of Birds to Their Environments: https://www.nps.gov/cabr/blogs/the-remarkable-adaptations-of-birds-to-their-environment.htm
- Audubon, Audubon for Kids: https://www.audubon.org/get-outside/activities/audubon-for-kids