Getting kids involved in birding is a great educational experience, and there are many things kids can learn from birds. Whether it is for a summer camp activity, homeschool unit, science fair project or any other reason, birding projects are a great way to introduce kids to the wonderful world of birding.
Birds in the Backyard
Studying backyard birds is the easiest type of kids’ birding project, as well as one of the most rewarding. Ideally, a few feeders and a birdhouse or two can help young birders study their backyard guests, or they can simply observe the birds that normally visit without extra enticement. From a convenient window, kids can answer many questions about backyard birds, including:
- How many bird species visit the backyard?
- Which species visit the yard together? Which prefer to be alone?
- How do different backyard birds behave differently?
- Why are birds visiting the yard? What are they doing?
- Which species are the most popular? Which are rare?
Feeding Feathered Friends
Observation of backyard birds can be rewarding, but feeding them can be even more exciting as new birds visit to take advantage of a backyard buffet. Young birders can learn to fill and clean feeders, build birdfeeders, mix appropriate types of seed and experiment with unique bird foods to answer the following questions:
- Which bird species prefer different foods? Is there one food all the birds like?
- Does the type of feeder make a difference for which birds eat?
- When do most birds feed? How often do they eat?
- How do birds behave at feeders? Are they willing to share?
- Which birds in the backyard don’t visit feeders?
Home Is Where Your Habitat Is
While backyard birds can be very educational, children can learn even more when they visit different habitats. Finding a new place to observe birds may be as simple as visiting a local pond, lake or park, or families may want to take birding walks or hikes together so young birders can answer questions such as:
- Where are the best places to find birds near home?
- What are the common characteristics of habitats that birds like?
- What different birds are found in different habitats?
- Which areas are home to the most unique bird species?
- Are there any habitats that birds don’t like?
State of the State Bird
A more organized bird-related project for young birders can be to learn about their state bird. This is perfect for school projects including state fairs or reports, but it can also be a rewarding experience for any young birder.
- What is the state bird and why was it chosen?
- Where in the state can this bird be found?
- Are there any laws to protect this bird? Why or why not?
- Is this a good bird to represent the state? Would you choose a different bird?
- What are the state birds of nearby states? Do any states have the same state bird?
Dangers of Being Endangered
Children are naturally sensitive and caring, and learning about endangered birds can heighten their awareness of the importance of bird conservation and how humans impact wildlife all around them. By studying endangered birds, kids will be able to answer these types of questions:
- Where are endangered birds found? Are there any near home?
- Why have different bird species become endangered?
- What can individuals do to help protect birds?
- What laws and conservation programs exist to protect birds? Are they working?
- Why is it important to protect endangered birds?
More Fun Bird Projects
There are many other bird-related projects kids can do for a science class, extra project, summer activity or just for fun.
- Build and decorate birdhouses
- Grow sunflowers for natural birdseed
- Start a life list
- Study an extinct bird
- Check out library books on different birds
- Create birdfeeders from recycled materials
- Learn about unusual birds such as the ugliest, smallest, fastest or meanest birds
No matter what type of projects they choose, studying birds can be exciting and educational, giving young birders a very personal connection to nature that they can treasure all their lives.