Our Wonderful World by Emery Lewis Howe is a rich nature study book available for free download covering backyard neighbors, feathered friends, garden life, four-footed comrades, and the earth and its neighbors. By covering one chapter a week, there are 32 weeks worth of lessons. Enjoy the complete series!
The section on birds is broken into three parts; the first part is a general introduction, the second part focuses on birds that act as “guardians,” and part three is concerned with how to feed and care for birds. Various types of birds are covered throughout.
- Make a notebooking page for each of the birds mentioned: bank swallow, kingfisher, oriole, ovenbird, yellow warbler, cowbird, vireo, robin, phoebe, barn swallow, cliff swallow, woodpecker, bluebird, chickadee, wren, and hummingbird.
- Investigate the different types of nests birds use.
- Read the section on kingfishers in Bird Neighbors by Neltje Blanchan.
- The story of Lord Baltimore who settled Maryland can be found in This Country of Ours by H.E. Marshall.
- The poem by James Russell Lowell referred to is “Under the Willows.” You can find the portion of the poem that pertains to the oriole in Bird Neighbors. Or you can read the entire poem “Under the Willows” beginning in the second column.
- Learn why different birds have different beaks and how they use them. Make a chart listing each type of beak, how the beak is used, and a few birds that have that type of beak.
- Investigate the different types of feet birds have and how they use them. Make a chart listing each type of foot, how it is used, and a few examples of birds that have that type of foot.
- For outlines and illustrations of birds, use the Bird Coloring Book instead of sending a letter to the rather old address given. The bird coloring book can also be used in the second suggested activity.
- Use the Bible verses listed for copywork or dictation.
- The poem “The Sandpiper” by Celia Thaxter can be used as copywork, dictation and/or memorized. See the resources below for more poetry suggestions.
- Begin to make and keep your own bird book. Add a new page each time you come in contact with a type of bird with which you are unfamiliar. Find out about the bird. Include the name, a picture, its distinguishing characteristics, where and when you saw the bird, where and how it makes it nest, and other interesting information.
- More about birds from the Book of Knowledge:
The first step [to bird watching] is to learn to recognize some of the common everyday birds. This will give you a starting point for comparisons when it comes to identifying other species, and it will be splendid practice in looking for and understanding the characteristics which make one kind of bird different from another: colors, size, shape and so on. Suppose, for instance, that you really know what a robin and sparrow look like. Then, when you see some strange bird, you can tell at once whether it is smaller or larger than a robin and has a longer or shorter tail in proportion to its entire size. Is it striped and brownish like a sparrow or has it other more solid colors? Does it have a thin bill or a thick one? Does it sing or chirp differently from either a sparrow or a robin? Very often such points will put you on the trail of the unknown bird’s name, particularly if you look it up in an identification book.
If you live in a house that has some shrubs, shade trees, a lawn and a garden around it, a good place to begin your bird watching is right at home. Many different kinds of birds visit such spots, and some become tame enough for you to get close views of them and study all their actions. You will notice that some are bold and others timid, some sing loudly and some hardly sing at all. Each kind spends most of its time hunting for particular types of food. With fairly good luck you will see how each species builds a certain kind of nest and lays eggs with distinctive colors and marking on the shells.
“The Fun of Bird Watching,” The Book of Knowledge
Ready to go outdoors? The Handbook of Nature study covers birds beginning on page 27, and continuing through page 143. The beginning pages cover feathers, flight, migration, eyes and ears, beaks, feet, songs of birds, attracting birds, the value of birds; the following material covers the individual types of birds.
Why is it shaped like it is? What does the bird eat?
Scroll through using the “Next” button on left to see the differently structured bird feet.
Get ready for a tutorial to hone your bird-watching skills.
“The Skylark” by John Clare
“L’oiseau blue” by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
“To a Skylark” by Percy Bysshe Shelley
“Three Things to Remember” by William Blake
“Last Words of a Bluebird” by Robert Frost
The Great North American Bird Watching Trivia Game
This game has been enjoyed by our entire family – those with a bird interest, and those a bit less knowledgeable. There are three levels of play to accommodate the entire family. Players answer questions as they move around the board. Questions cover where birds nest, what they eat, where you are likely to find them, type of bill, coloring and other interesting information. It is truly amazing how much you learn just by playing!
12-month 2012 calendar featuring a different bird for each month.
Bird Call Challenge
Ready to test your skill? Enter your zip code to identify the bird calls in your area.
Bird Neighbors by Neltje Blanchan
Subtitled “An Introductory Acquaintance with One Hundred and Fifty of Our Common Birds,” this book serves as an interesting introduction.
But you do not want to make out your bird the first time; the book or your friend must not make the problem too easy for you. You must go again and again, and see and hear your bird under varying conditions and get a good hold of several of its characteristic traits. Things easily learned are apt to be easily forgotten.
Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess
“Its primary purpose is to interest the little child in, and to make him acquainted with, those feathered friends he is most likely to see. Because there is no method of approach to the child mind equal to the story, this method of conveying information has been adopted. So far as I am aware the book is unique in this respect. In its preparation an earnest effort has been made to present as far as possible the important facts regarding the appearance, habits and characteristics of our feathered neighbors. It is intended to be at once a story book and an authoritative handbook. While it is intended for little children, it is hoped that children of larger growth may find in it much of both interest and helpfulness.” The Burgess Bird Book for Children is available as a free download.
Units & Lesson Plans
Audubon: A Mini-Unit
Many, many helpful books, resources and downloads from our Audubon mini-unit including our favorite identification guides, a bird coloring book download from Cornell, and instructions on how to draw birds.
The Parts of a Bird
A bird identification diagram. Things to look for when identifying birds. Great for notebook.
An illustrated guide for notebook.
Bird Identification Chart – Eastern North America
20 common backyard birds from the National Bird-Feeding Society.
Bird Identification Chart – Western North America
20 common backyard birds from the National Bird-Feeding Society.
10-page merit-badge workbook download that ties in wonderfully, with room to record the sighting of 20 species of wild birds.
Includes space to record the name of the bird, information on its habitat, how to recognize the bird, the food it eats and where it nests. There is a map with a symbol key for recording the bird’s range (year round, summer and winter) and room for a picture/photo of the bird. One of the better bird notebooking pages we’ve come across. From HomeschoolNotebooking.com.
Nature journal page from Ranger Rick.
Bird Notebooking Pages
Free set of 50 pages for all things bird.
21-page download includes foldables of all kinds including those for bird observations, anatomy, predators, classifications, eggs, and feathers. From HomeschoolShare.