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探花精选 for Kids!

In many ways every child is born a scientist鈥攅xploring their world, leading small experiments, asking questions, searching for answers. That innate curiosity and drive to inquiry is what Rachel Carson, the groundbreaking conservationist and author, called a sense of wonder. 鈥淎 child鈥檚 world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement,鈥 she wrote. 鈥淚t is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood.鈥

This page aims to bring together activities from across 探花精选鈥檚 national network of environmental educators, including the classroom curriculum听, plus related DIY activities and content from听探花精选鈥檚 editors. These activities can be done at home or in a yard or park, sometimes with the help of a computer. The goal isn鈥檛 to teach a child how to name and identify bird species, but rather to give them space to explore and feel connected to the natural world. If you鈥檙e a parent or caretaker, that means you don鈥檛 need to worry about your own knowledge of birds or plants. All you need to be is a companion to your child鈥檚 curiosity.

鈥淚f a child is to keep their inborn sense of wonder, they need the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with them the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in,鈥 Rachel Carson wrote in 1956. M We hope these lessons, which we鈥檒l refresh each week with a new theme, will help you you find awe and inspiration in nature together. Disponible en 贰蝉辫补帽辞濒Timelapse of a puffin sketchTimelapse of a goldfinch sketch#sketchwithsibleyTimelapse of an owl sketch

Begin your birdy journey


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Get to know birds



illustration of a robin eating a worm

Do you love animals, including wildlife? Then you just might want to get to know the wildlife you probably see every day: birds. There are many special things about birds. For one, they have feathers. No other animal has them. Birds come in an amazing variety of colors and sizes. That鈥檚 another special thing about birds鈥攄iversity.

How do you describe a bird? You may describe its colors and color pattern, the size and shape of the beak, or what its legs and feet look like. These are called field marks. Field marks are clues that people use to help them identify a bird. When you become comfortable recognizing field mark clues, you can begin to identify specific kinds of birds. So, grab a field guide or open an app, or go outside if you can. When you spot a bird, take a closer look.


Draw a bird with David Sibley

You don鈥檛 need to go outside to get to know birds: Try drawing them instead. David Sibley, the ornithologist who wrote and illustrated The Sibley Guide to Birds, created a video for 探花精选 for Kids that shows how to sketch a听Black-capped Chickadee鈥攁 teeny, acrobatic songbird. Get out a piece of paper and a pencil or crayon and try it yourself! Share your art on Instagram: 听.


Learn the lingo
field mark

a characteristic that helps identify a bird, such as color, color pattern, size, tail shape, leg length, size and shape of beak, kind of feet, and so on

wildlife

wild animals living in nature

species

a group of plants or animals that share certain characteristics and are able to breed and reproduce their own kind

diversity

the condition of having many different kinds of things, such as people, plants, and animals

beak

the hard, horny part of a bird鈥檚 mouth; also called bill

roost

for birds, to settle down to rest or sleep; a place where birds settle down to rest or sleep


Make a Bird Feeder Out of Recycled Materials
Make a Bird Feeder Out of Recycled Materials

With this DIY bird feeder, you can welcome more birds into your backyard by repurposing your empty milk cartons. This quick and easy project is fun for you and will provide a good food source for your avian visitors.

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All about owls



illustration of a Great Horned Owl

When it comes to birds, owls are big attention-getters, with their huge eyes, razor-sharp beak, and powerful feet with piercing talons. Their haunting calls echoing through the dark give us chills. Owls are also symbols of wisdom, making them popular characters in ancient myths and modern stories.

Owls are categorized as raptors, or birds of prey. They are predators, and the animals they catch and feed on are prey. In other words, they鈥檙e hunters. Their diets range from insects and worms to small mammals, reptiles, fish, crustaceans, and even other birds. Like other raptors鈥攅agles, hawks, falcons, kites鈥攐wls grab their prey with their feet. Their hunting skills are enhanced by their keen eyesight, excellent hearing, and special feathers on the edges of their wings for flying silently.



Meet Some Amazing Owls!

The John James 探花精选 Center at Mill Grove听is home to fascinating resident owls. These birds are badly injured and听unable to survive in the wild, so now they are part of 探花精选 Pennsylvania's education program. Get to know the owls with 探花精选 staffers Carrie Barron and Christine Lin in this video series, starting with this episode on owl anatomy. Watch听听to see an Eastern Screech Owl eat a mouse. Our hosts dissect an owl pellet in听.


Who's Who
Who's Who

These owls may wear the same game face, but when it comes to personality, they鈥檙e as different as day and night.

Whoooos who?

Quiz yourself to learn your North American owl species by sight!

Click on an owl鈥檚 photo to see the species name on the back.

Burrowing Owl

Barred Owl

Barn Owl

Eastern Screech-Owl

Great Gray Owl

Snowy Owl

Great Horned Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Photos clockwise from top left: Jolie Gordon, Paul Lesko, Randy Heaton, Robert Strickland, Matt Scott, Ed MacKerrow, John Adolph, Barbara Fleming. All 探花精选 Photography Awards.

Draw a bird with David Sibley

You don鈥檛 need to go outside to get to know birds: Try drawing them instead. David Sibley, the ornithologist who wrote and illustrated The Sibley Guide to Birds, created a video for 探花精选 for Kids that shows how to sketch an听Eastern Screech-Owl. Get out a piece of paper and a pencil or crayon and try it yourself! Share your art on Instagram: 听.


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Birds on the Move



illustration of a Tern in flight

Every year in spring and fall, millions of birds migrate, taking to the air to travel between their summer and winter homes. It鈥檚 a relatively short trip for some. Others travel thousands of miles, sometimes flying for days without landing. Different birds use different skills to get where they need to go. Some learn from their parents. Others use landmarks, sound, the sun and stars, or Earth鈥檚 magnetic field to find their way.

No matter where you live, birds migrate through or to your neighborhood. They may stay for a short time, stopping to rest and refuel on their way to someplace else. Or your neighborhood may be the destination for certain species, where they will nest and raise their young in spring and summer, or pass the cold months of fall and winter in a warmer climate.


Interactive game!
Learn the lingo
migrate

to relocate from one habitat to another in a regular cycle

flyway

the route birds follow as they migrate

habitat

a place in which an organism is normally able to find the resources it needs for survival

stopover

a place where migratory animals spend time during their migration

navigate

to find the way from one place to another

instinct

the natural behavior of an animal in response to environmental factors or other influences


Easy Ways to Get Kids Birding
Easy Ways to Get Kids Birding

Kids are natural explorers. Here are some tips and games to encourage that impulse from 探花精选 experts.

Draw a bird with David Sibley

You don鈥檛 need to go outside to get to know birds: Try drawing them instead. David Sibley, the ornithologist who wrote and illustrated The Sibley Guide to Birds, created a video for 探花精选 for Kids that shows how to sketch an听Arctic Tern. Get out a piece of paper and a pencil or crayon and try it yourself! Share your art on Instagram: 听.


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Plants Are for the Birds!



illustration of a Goldfinch on top of a flower

A healthy habitat with native trees and plants鈥攖he ones that have evolved in that place along with the other living things there鈥攊s key to making birds feel at home. Plants provide protection from weather and predators, and offer places to roost at night. Seeds, nuts, fruit, and flower nectar are food sources all year long. And when it comes time to lay eggs, birds use trees and plants to build nests鈥攁nd hide them, too.

But there鈥檚 more! Trees host the protein-rich insects that baby birds need to grow. Science has shown that native trees and plants support far more insects than non-native species. Bottom line, a healthy habitat dominated by native trees and other plants means birds and other wildlife can thrive, and the same is true for another organism: human beings.


What do birds eat?

Dark-eyed Junco: Searches the ground for insects in summer and seeds in winter.

Northern Cardinal: Eats most kinds of seeds, insects, berries, and wild fruit鈥攁nd even flowers!

Blue Jay: Eats many nuts, seeds, fruit, and insects. Stores acorns in holes in the ground.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker: Pecks at tree bark to feed on sap. Also finds ants and other insects.

Lesser Goldfinch: Mostly seeds, especially from the daisy family. Eats a few insects.

Mountain Chickadee: Hunts for insects high in treetops. Also eats seeds and berries.

Yellow-rumped Warbler: Seeks insects in foliage or catches them in midair. Eats berries, too.

Baltimore Oriole: Insects, berries, nectar. Will even eat the hairy caterpillars!

Photos clockwise from top left: len Hart/Great Backyard Bird Count; William Burns/探花精选 Photography Awards; Patricia Dortch/Great Backyard Bird Count; Jennifer Upchurch/Great Backyard Bird Count; Mark Boyd/探花精选 Photography Awards; Brian Kushner; Robin Agarwal/Flickr (CC-BY-NC-2.0); Chris Orr/Great Backyard Bird Count

Draw a bird with David Sibley

You don鈥檛 need to go outside to get to know birds: Try drawing them instead. David Sibley, the ornithologist who wrote and illustrated The Sibley Guide to Birds, created a video for 探花精选 for Kids that shows how to sketch an听American Goldfinch. Get out a piece of paper and a pencil or crayon and try it yourself! Share your art on Instagram: 听.


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Hooray for Hummingbirds!



illustration of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird

It鈥檚 like a fast-moving, flying, whirring, shimmering jewel. What could it be? A hummingbird! When you see a hummingbird, you know instantly what it is.

Hummingbirds are flying acrobats. They can hover in one spot, fly forward and backwards, side to side, straight up and down, and even upside-down.

Hummingbirds are small. The Bee Hummingbird is the smallest bird in the world鈥攁bout two inches from bill to tail.

Hummingbirds hum . . . sort of. That buzzy/hummy sound you hear when a hummingbird flies by comes from its rapidly beating wings鈥攂etween 20 and almost 100 times per second.


Hummingbirds Are Mesmerizing

In this video, filmed at Strawberry Plains 探花精选 Center in听Holly Springs, Mississippi, hummingbirds flit around and drink from a nectar feeder. Put on some headphones or turn up the volume and take a few minutes to relax and enjoy the听sounds of hummingbirds!



Meet the Flying Jewels

Allen's Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Costa's Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Broadtailed Hummingbird

Photos clockwise from top left: Barry Schirm; Dan Tracy; Will Stuart; Belen Schneider; Roger Levien; Boe Baty; Keith Dines; Richard Pick. All 探花精选 Photography Awards.

Help the hummingbird get up to speed!

About 1 flap per second



Draw a bird with David Sibley

You don鈥檛 need to go outside to get to know birds: Try drawing them instead. David Sibley, the ornithologist who wrote and illustrated The Sibley Guide to Birds, created a video for 探花精选 for Kids that shows how to sketch a听Ruby-throated Hummingbird.. Get out a piece of paper and a pencil or crayon and try it yourself! Share your art on Instagram: 听.


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Raptors! The Birds of Prey



illustration of a Bald Eagle

Hawks, eagles, falcons, ospreys, owls, harriers: These are the raptors, also known as birds of prey. 鈥淧rey鈥 refers to the fact that these birds are hunters. But what sets them apart from other birds that eat living animals for food, like an American Robin tugging an earthworm from the soil? One difference is the type and size of the prey. Birds of prey eat lizards, snakes, fish, mice, rabbits, and skunks, and even other birds.

Another difference is found in their other name. "Raptor" comes to us from the Latin word that means 鈥渢o seize and carry away." That鈥檚 what birds of prey do: They use powerful feet to catch and carry animals away. Raptors fascinate people because of their skill and strength. When you take a closer look, these birds are wonders of nature and play an important role in Earth鈥檚 ecosystems.


Learn the lingo
food chain

the relationships among a group of living things based on the flow of energy from food

predator

an animal that hunts other animals for food

prey

an animal that is hunted by another animal for food

raptor

a type of bird, such as an eagle or a hawk, that has a strong beak and sharp talons for catching live prey

owlet

a young owl

ecosystem

a community of plants and animals interacting with each other and their environment


Draw a bird with David Sibley

You don鈥檛 need to go outside to get to know birds: Try drawing them instead. David Sibley, the ornithologist who wrote and illustrated The Sibley Guide to Birds, created a video for 探花精选 for Kids that shows how to sketch a听Bald Eagle.. Get out a piece of paper and a pencil or crayon and try it yourself! Share your art on Instagram: 听.


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The World of Wading Birds



illustration of a wading bird eating fish

When you鈥檙e a bird that gets its food from water but can鈥檛 swim, several physical traits come in handy: extra-long legs for keeping your feathers dry when hunting in shallow water; an extra-long neck and extra-long beak for reaching out to grab (or stab) a critter; and spread-out toes on big feet for keeping your balance and walking in mud without getting stuck. The birds with these characteristics are called wading birds. They include herons, egrets, cranes, storks, ibises, and spoonbills.

Wading birds are found throughout the United States, and they all live near a body of fresh or saltwater. Their diet usually includes critters that live in and under water鈥攆ish and frogs, for example. But you might also see one of these birds stalking lizards, insects, and even small mammals and other birds.


Whoop for Whooping Cranes!

At 5 feet tall, the Whooping Crane is one of North America's tallest birds. It's also one of the rarest. In 1941, only 15 Whooping Cranes were left in the entire world. People who cared about the cranes worked very hard to bring them back. They asked hunters to not shoot the endangered species. They also saved听the watery places wading birds live. Because of their hard work, there are nearly 400 Whooping Cranes alive today. Christine Lin, social media producer听for 探花精选,听went to Texas to see Whooping Cranes in the wild. Watch this video she made of her journey.



Meet the feet
American Avocet
Roseate Spoonbill
Tricolored Heron
Scarlet Ibis
Reddish Egret
Clapper Rail
Illustrations: John James 探花精选/探花精选

Draw a bird with David Sibley

You don鈥檛 need to go outside to get to know birds: Try drawing them instead. David Sibley, the ornithologist who wrote and illustrated The Sibley Guide to Birds, created a video for 探花精选 for Kids that shows how to sketch a听Great Blue Heron.. Get out a piece of paper and a pencil or crayon and try it yourself! Share your art on Instagram: 听.


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Seabirds: Feathered Ocean Travelers



illustration of a Puffin

Seabirds are birds that spend most of their lives on water. This group includes pelicans, puffins, terns, skimmers, albatrosses, penguins, and others. They have remarkable characteristics that allow them to survive in the often harsh conditions they face at sea, like waterproof feathers and special organs that make it possible for them to drink saltwater. Some have extra layers of fat to insulate them against cold Arctic and Antarctic waters. Some 鈥渇ly鈥 underwater to catch their food, while others dive headfirst into the water to catch fish.

Do you have to live near the ocean to catch a glimpse of a seabird? No! Some seabirds can be spotted near freshwater lakes. Some migrate thousands of miles over water and land between the places they raise their young and the places they spend the winter.


Draw a bird with David Sibley

You don鈥檛 need to go outside to get to know birds: Try drawing them instead. David Sibley, the ornithologist who wrote and illustrated The Sibley Guide to Birds, created a video for 探花精选 for Kids that shows how to sketch an听Atlantic Puffin.. Get out a piece of paper and a pencil or crayon and try it yourself! Share your art on Instagram: 听.


Which Seabird Do You See?

Double-crested Cormorant

Least Tern

Razorbill

Nazca Booby

Rockhopper Penguin

Laysan Albatross

Ad茅lie Penguin

Atlantic Puffin

Photos clockwise from top left: Susan Hodgson; Fabiola Forns; Jean Hall; Dakota Wheeler; Kevin Vande Vusse; Andrea Storrs; Nonnie Thompson; Roslyn Meyer. All 探花精选 Photography Award

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Sharing Our Shores



illustration of a Piping Plover, with a Plover chick

Many families love to spend a day near the shore: sunshine, cool breeze, waves rolling in over white sand or splashing over rocks. The shore is a special place where the land and sea meet. People flock to beaches to play, relax, and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Birds and other animals are part of the nature of seashores that people love. Shorebirds and other coastal birds soar, dive, skitter back and forth, or stand in groups above the water line. For them, the seashore is a source of food, a restful stopover on a long migratory journey, and often a place to nest and raise their chicks right there on the sand. Learning about the interesting and challenging lives of shorebirds and how to respect and protect them and the habitat we share gives us one more reason to love a trip to the beach.


Learn the lingo
plover

a bird with pointed wings and a short bill that searches for food along the shore

shore

the area next to a body of water, such as a sea or lake

scrape

a bird鈥檚 nest that is a hollowed-out place in the sand

beach hopper

a small creature with a tough shell that live on beaches, usually in washed-up seaweed, and hop like fleas; also called sand hopper, sand flea, beach flea

dune

a hill of sand formed by wind near an ocean or large lake

camouflage

coloring and patterns that make an animal or object blend in with its surroundings


Draw a bird with David Sibley

You don鈥檛 need to go outside to get to know birds: Try drawing them instead. David Sibley, the ornithologist who wrote and illustrated The Sibley Guide to Birds, created a video for 探花精选 for Kids that shows how to sketch a听Long-billed Curlew.. Get out a piece of paper and a pencil or crayon and try it yourself! Share your art on Instagram: 听.


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Let鈥檚 Change Climate Change



illustration of a birdhouse painted like the earth heating up

Planet Earth is getting warmer faster than ever before because of a buildup of greenhouse gases in the air. Greenhouse gases are produced by Earth鈥檚 natural systems and they help make the planet a place where plants, animals, and people can live. But lately people are making too many greenhouse gases, causing the Earth to grow warmer. That鈥檚 causing problems for all living things.

For birds, climate change can make it hard to find food, and to find places to build their nests and raise their babies. Luckily, we can help. The most important thing is to join together with other people who care about climate change in a climate party. We have to make some big changes, and the only way we can do that is by working together. So tell your family and friends why you care about climate change and why it's important to protect birds.


Learn the lingo
atmosphere

the layer of gases that surround Earth

weather

temporary atmospheric conditions. Examples: snowstorms and blizzards, rainy days, hot days, cold days, hurricanes, and tornadoes

climate

the general weather in an area over many years. While some places may still experience cold weather, the overall climate on Earth is getting warmer

fossil fuels

energy sources that come from coal, oil, and natural gas. When we burn fossil fuels for energy, we add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere

greenhouse gases

Like a greenhouse, these gases trap heat from the sun. Too many greenhouse gases cause Earth鈥檚 climate to get too warm

carbon dioxide

a greenhouse gas released when we burn fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere and warms the planet


Draw a bird with David Sibley

You don鈥檛 need to go outside to get to know birds: Try drawing them instead. David Sibley, the ornithologist who wrote and illustrated The Sibley Guide to Birds, created a video for 探花精选 for Kids that shows how to sketch a听Saltmarsh Sparrow. Get out a piece of paper and a pencil or crayon and try it yourself! Share your art on Instagram: 听.


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