Birds of a Feather
|Kids explore the outdoors listening for birds as part of this comprehensive activity.
Creator/Instructor: Katie Nainiger
Age Group: 4th-6th grade
Length of Session: 2 hours and 45 minutes
Program Description: Birds of a Feather
Owl puke, vulture vomit and songbird strife, discover the fascinating world of our feather friends. Students will discover through hands-on activities and experiments the secretive world of the feathered.
- Introduce students to the wide variety of native bird species, focusing on owls, hawks, waterfowl and songbirds.
- Identify challenges our local populations encounter through pollution, habitat destruction/fragmentation and prey species decline.
- Students will discover specific adaptations birds required for survival.
- Identify various habitat requirements for native birds species.
Wild Ohio for Kids, waterfowl books, songbird books, owl books, CD’s, CD player, owl pellets, bone sheets, dissecting tools, plastic bags, feathers, Flying Wild Guide, Raptor books, gloves, posters, give aways, photos of owls, backpack for to go stuff, Migration Madness Supplies-rope, markers, paper plates, tub with student supplies, Silent Flyer Handout, paper, Purell hand sanitizer, evaluation form, Food Web Poster, Flour, licorice, poster board and bowl, Bird ID sheets, baseball mitt, plastic grapefruit, clay for adaptation artistry, straws, bones, neat beak activity supplies, perch, candle and down feather.
Copies Needed: pellet ID sheets, Food Web, Vole, Meadow Vole, Adaptation Artistry
Take Home Goodies: Songbird, Waterfowl, Owl Books, Wild Ohio for Kids, Pellets, and Adaptation Artistry Craft
A. Rules for program:
- Remain seated, and do not move around unless otherwise instructed.
- One person talking at a time. Raise your hand to ask a question during the designated question period.
- Safety rules and procedures.
- Listen closely and follow activity instructions closely.
- Have Fun!
B. Session Overview
A.Warm up activity-What Bird am I? -Have Birdsong CD playing
- Pass out ID cards of local birds
- Have them ask questions:
- Am I a hawk, songbird, owl, duck, heron?
- Do I live in near water, forest, field, backyards?
- How do I catch my food?
- What do I eat?
- What color are my feathers?
- What shape is my beak?
B. Owls-Discuss specific species
- Feet-feather covered (protection and silent flight)
- Have a volunteer sit in a chair and close his/her eyes. Lightly tap a pair of pencils to either side, have the volunteer indicate where the noise is coming from. Do right side, then left and then over the head. With the over the head the noise will reach both ears at the same time making it hard to identify. With most owls their ears are asymmetrical so they can identify where a noise is coming from more accurately.
- Facial disks, which act like a baseball mitt to catch noise and the feathers, help to direct the noise to the ears.
- Feathers-fringed on outer edges-silence flight
- Eyes-if we to have eyes as large as owls they would be the size of grapefruits
- Food/Pellets-Owl Pellet Dissection
- Owl Pellets
- Discuss the meaning of being a scientist and investigating.
- Explain the function of the pellet and what they are looking for.
- Explain safety rules (hand washing, etc.).
- Divide groups into 2 or 3 students and hand out the bone sheets, dissecting tools, and pellets.
- Have them dissect pellets and then discuss what they found.
- Clean up, hand washing.
C. Hike to look for birds
D. Songbirds-Discuss various species
- Food choices
- Migration Challenges-
- Activity-Migration Madness-DDT/Pesticides, Habitat Loss/Fragmentation, Predation
- Adaptation Artistry Activity
- Pass out clay and adaptation sheets
- Explain they are going to create a new species of bird.
- They must think of what their bird will need and how it will obtain it: Food, Shelter, Water and Space
E. Waterfowl-near the pond-discuss specific species
- Bones-pass out bones/straws
- Neat Beak Activity
- Cedar Waxwing/Nuthatch/Warbler-Tweezer
F. Hawks-Osprey-Eagles-Discuss specific species-open field
- Perch Challenge Activity
- Feathers-Physics of Flight Activity-Did you ever wonder why a bird can fly or how? This activity takes an in-depth look into this phenomenon, using the four principles; thrust, lift, weight, and drag to explain it.
- Lift demonstration-Strips of paper, hold the strips directly under their bottom lip and blow down. The paper rises. This demonstrates the lift a bird has in flight using air currents. Then pass out paper plates. Have them experiment to find the best position of the wings for going fast (diving) and for gliding by using the paper plates to cut through the air.
- Place two objects about an inch apart and have students walk backwards while starring at the two objects until they seem to come together. An Eagle could be eight times farther away than that distance and that would begin to happen to their eyes.
- Bird Whitewash
- Mix Flour and water just enough to give water a color, leaving the flour chunky.
- Have students place fingers into the sample and flick it off the fingers.
- Place fine sliced licorice into onto the splats of flour, the black will leach into it creating a very realistic effect.
- Can you build a nest?
- Fun Facts:
- Largest Wingspan-Wandering Albatross (12ft.)
- Largest nest found- Eagle-9ft.wide, 20ft. tall, weighed 6,000lbs.
- Smallest bird-hummingbird Largest-Mute Swan
B. Are there any questions?
C. Review briefly what they learned and the importance of our feathered friends.
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