Birds on the Wing – Background

As days get shorter and cooler in the fall, birds that stay year-round begin preparing for a long, cold winter, while others get ready to migrate. Both face challenges that seem daunting for such slight creatures. Yet birds continually amaze us with their ability to survive the harshest weather, travel incredible distances, and navigate to faraway places.

Some birds are permanent residents, living year-round in one place, while others migrate twice a year, traveling between winter homes and summer breeding ranges. Continue reading Birds on the Wing – Background

Birds on the Wing – Activities

FOCUS: Some birds migrate thousands of miles to find the food and shelter they need in winter, but other birds stay right here through the cold months. Which birds migrate and which birds stay? Birds that migrate face many challenges on their journeys, and those that stay here must cope with cold weather, shorter days, and a diminished food supply. All birds must survive this critical stage of their life cycles in order to raise families in the spring.

Objective: To begin to explore bird migration.

Show a picture or video of a flock of migrating geese and a picture of chickadees in a winter tree. Ask children to tell you what might be going on in each photo.

Materials: photo or video of migrating geese, photo of chickadees in a winter tree.

Objective: To model the connection between diet and migration.

Hand out a Food for Thought card to each child or pair of children. Put up two signs at opposite ends of the meeting area, one saying “Stay” and the other, “Migrate.”Explain that they must all pretend to be birds and that the card shows a clue about their bird (its normal food). Continue reading Birds on the Wing – Activities

Birds on the Wing – Puppet Show

Orville’s First Flight

Characters: Orville Oriole, Chelsea Chickadee, Wilbur Wood Thrush, Storm Cloud.

Props: suitcase prop, sign saying “That Evening,” cookie sheet for thunder, palm tree prop.

Orville Oriole Mmm, there’s a bug, yum! I know I’m putting on weight, but this cold weather’s making me ravenous. I wonder when it’s going to warm up.

Chelsea Chickadee  Warm up? Orville Oriole, you mean cool down, don’t you? Another month and there’ll be snow on the ground and ice in the ponds. Continue reading Birds on the Wing – Puppet Show

Birds on the Wing – Standards


The activities in this unit help children understand the basic concepts in the Disciplinary Core Ideas listed here. You can use the following list as a guide for lesson planning. These Disciplinary Core Ideas are taken from Grade Band Endpoints in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. Additionally, our activities give children opportunities to engage in many of the Science and Engineering Practices and reflect on the Crosscutting Concepts as identified in the Next Generation Science Standards. Continue reading Birds on the Wing – Standards