Free Nature Studies: Hunting Birds With Eyes & Camera

By observation you can learn to identify birds by the type of nests they build, the eggs they lay, their habits, and their habitats.

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.

Read the current chapter online: “Hunting Birds With Eyes and Camera”


  • Make a notebooking page for each of the birds mentioned using these links to the Cornell All About Birds guide:
  • Investigate the different types of nests birds use at
  • Learn about the birds mentioned and the nests in our Free Bird Studies: Nests & Eggs series.
  • 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 at  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 also at  Make a chart listing each type of foot, how it is used, and a few examples of birds that have that type of foot.
  • Something to do #1 & 2: For outlines and illustrations of birds, use the Bird Coloring Book at instead of sending a letter to the rather old address given. The bird coloring book can also be used in the second suggested activity. You’ll find an inexpensive coloring book option below in the Further Investigation section below.
  • Use one of the Bible verses listed for copywork or dictation.
  • The poem mentioned, “The Sandpiper” by Celia Thaxter, can be used as copywork, memorized, and recited.  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.

The study of birds ought not to stop with the few mentioned in the text. Every pupil should be encouraged to become acquainted with the birds of his own vicinity; he ought to know them by sight, by song, by nest, food habits, flight, time of coming and going. Only the most familiar have been mentioned in the text, and the leader will add many others that are of local interest.

Our Wonderful World Teacher’s Manual
  • 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
  • Birds
    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.

Further Investigation

Bird Beaks
Why is it shaped like it is?  What does the bird eat?  Take a look at

Bird Feet
Why is it shaped like it is?  How does the bird use his feet? Also at

Building Skills
Get ready for a tutorial to hone your bird-watching skills at Cornell’s All About Birds site.

All About Birds
Wonderful tool at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology that lets you browse by bird profile or taxonomy.


Three Things to Remember

A Robin Redbreast in a cage,
Puts all Heaven in a rage.

A skylark wounded on the wing
Doth make a cherub cease to sing.

He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be beloved by men.

William Blake (1757 – 1827)

“The Skylark” by John Clare

“L’oiseau blue” by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

“To a Skylark” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

“Last Words of a Bluebird” by Robert Frost


Wingspan Board Game
Very popular bird themed board game and fun way to learn about birds. Rather more complex than our favorite below.

Free Nature Studies: Hunting Birds With Eyes & Camera

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! Unfortunately it is difficult to find, but worth it if you can find it.

Professor Noggin’s Birds of North America Trivia Card Game
Award-winning alternative to the above game and made by the same company.

Birding Basics
Free download from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that teaches the proper ways to watch birds.

Audubon Bird Guide
Help for identifying birds in your area.

All About Bird Song Interactive + Free Bird Song Download!
Excellent resource for learning to identify birds by their calls.

Birds for School and Home
Old Milton Bradley publication that you can still use to color, cut out, and assemble.

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book
Dover Nature Coloring Book based on Fifty Birds of Town and City by Bob Hines. Inexpensive option.

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.

Free Nature Studies: Hunting Birds With Eyes & Camera

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.

Fifty Birds of Town and City {Free eBook}

Fifty Birds of Town and City {Free eBook}
Beautiful full-color identification guide published by the U.S. Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service covering the fifty most common birds in the United States listed alphabetically.

First Book of Birds {Free eBook}
Great deal of information in this illustrated introduction.

Birds of the Bible by Gene Stratton-Porter
Public domain work that may also be of interest.

The Children's Book of Birds {Free eBook}

The Children’s Book of Birds {Free eBook}
Another public domain selection that is particularly useful.

Unit Studies & Lesson Plans
Audubon: A Unit Study

Audubon: A Unit Study
Many, many helpful books, resources and downloads in our Audubon unit including our favorite identification guides, a bird coloring book download from Cornell, and instructions on how to draw birds.

Free Bird Studies Nests & Eggs
Our own covering 50 birds along with resources!

Printables & Notebooking Pages

The Parts of a Bird
A bird identification diagram at UNC School of Education showing things to look for when identifying birds.  Great for notebook!

Amazing Birds Student Manual {Free}

Amazing Birds Student Manual {Free}
18-page download from Cornell that includes sheets perfect for notebook!

Amazing Birds Teacher Manual {Free}
Extensive 31-page download with teaching ideas and resources that goes with above.

Bird Beaks
An illustrated guide for notebook.

Common Feeder Birds Mini Poster
Free poster from Cornell’s Project FeederWatch. You may also be interested in the one for hummingbirds.

Bird Study
10-page merit-badge workbook download that ties in wonderfully, with room to record the sighting of 20 species of wild birds.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
Free download from

Springtime Birds
Nature journal page from Ranger Rick.

Nature Journal Notebooking Sets {Free Download}

Nature Journal Notebooking Sets {Free Download}
Free blank nature journal sets for drawing, illustrating, copying, or narrating.

Hunting Birds With Eyes & Camera Notebooking Pages
Simple pages for copywork, narrations or wrapping up.

Enjoy the complete series:
Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World

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