A Manual of Bird Study {Free eBook}

We have included a wide variety of resources for bird study, but this one is good enough to add to the collection! A Manual of Bird Study by William H. Carr is a free eBook in the public domain that includes helps for the teacher.

Subtitled A Description of Twenty-five Local Birds with Study Outlines, the book covers the following birds:

  • Bluebird.
  • Phoebe.
  • Barn swallow.
  • House wren.
  • Chimney swift.
  • Chickadee.
  • Nuthatch.
  • Song sparrow.
  • Screech owl.
  • Kinglet.
  • Robin.
  • Blackbird.
  • Baltimore oriole.
  • Chipping sparrow.
  • Meadowlark.
  • Blue jay.
  • Downy woodpecker.
  • Starling.
  • Junco.
  • English sparrow.
  • Scarlet tanager.
  • Red-eyed vireo.
  • Goldfinch.
  • Ruby-throated hummingbird.

The bird illustrations are black and white. You’ll want to view color illustrations of each bird to assist in coloring the page.

Unique to this book are the questions and answers meant to assist guided bird study. As always, we recommend these be used as narration prompts. Additional topics of study, two suggested games, and a bibliography are also included.

For each bird, an outline of study is recommended:

Movements: See whether the flyer hops or walks when it is on the ground. Does it hang upside down, move slowly or quickly, swim or creep? Remember that the same bird may have a different appearance at various times.

Disposition: Did you ever think of a bird in connection with its having a disposition? Notice whether it is unsuspicious, wary, social, solitary, etc.

Flight: Does the bird that flies over your head travel rapidly or slowly? Does it flap along or does it sail and soar? Maybe it undulates (flies up and then down in half-moon curves) as the Goldfinch does.

Song: There are many times when you may hear a bird but not see it. Thus you should listen for songs very carefully. Notice whether the song is continuous, short, loud, low, pleasing, unattractive, and whether it comes from the ground, from a higher perch, or from the air.

Call Notes: Nearly all birds have a Call Note that is different from the regular song. These notes may be of various sorts such as scolding, warning, alarm, signalling, as well as a number of others.

Size: In the field, you cannot run up to a wild bird and measure it with a ruler, but what you can do is to compare it in size with some other bird that you do know. Compare the unknown bird with an English Sparrow which is about 6 inches long, a Robin about 10 and a Crow 19 inches long. Remember, 6, 10 and 19.

Form: Note the shape of the bill, length of the tail, shape of wings.

This is an introductory look at birds reminiscent of The Golden Guide book on birds some of us grew up with.

It also goes well with the bird sections of our free nature study series!

Free eBook
  • Create a bird notebook. Include one page for each bird describing the identifying characteristics as listed and any narrations.
  • Print the black-and-white bird illustration. Use it as a coloring page to include in the notebook.
  • The song of each bird is described. Still, it will be worthwhile to listen to the song.
  • Each bird description contains a small selection of poetry that can be copied on that bird’s notebooking page.
  • Print the labeled bird part diagram to include in your bird notebook.

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