Songbird Songs – Background

As the days grow longer in spring, chickadees start singing a different tune. Besides the familiar chickadee-dee call, we now hear a whistled “hey, sweetie,” often answered by another chickadee: “Hey, sweetie! Hey, sweetie!” Soon a cardinal takes up the theme, “Come here, come here,” and later a bluebird, back from migration, joins in the chorus: “Ain’t I pretty!” By May, the orchestra, in full swing, fills the dawn with a symphony of birdsong. Why do birds sing so much in the spring? Why make noise that could betray your presence to predators? What role does birdsong play in the annual cycle of a bird’s life, to be worth so much energy and risk?

Many birds communicate with sounds. Ducks quack, geese honk, loons yodel, and songbirds sing. Continue reading Songbird Songs – Background

Songbird Songs – Activities

FOCUS: The singing of birds tells us that springtime has arrived. Songbirds use song to defend a territory and to attract a mate. In addition, shorter calls communicate information about danger and food. With their voices, birds can converse with each other over large distances and in dense vegetation. As we learn to recognize different bird songs and calls, we can begin to understand what they are saying to each other.

Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about songbird songs.

Have the children close their eyes to listen to songbird songs and calls. Ask children to silently keep count on their fingers each time they hear a new bird, and to gesture to the location where they heard it.

Objective: To model how each songbird species has a particular song and preferred time to sing.

Give each pair of children a Sounding the Hour card showing a bird and the words to its song. As a group, practice all the different songs on the cards. Continue reading Songbird Songs – Activities

Songbird Songs – Puppet Show

Bird Talk

Characters: Bernie Beaver, Mr. Cardinal, Chickadee, Mr. Red-winged Blackbird, Mrs. Red-winged Blackbird. Blue Jay, Mrs. Cardinal appear but don’t speak.

Props: headphones.

Bernie Beaver  There! Been working all night and now the dam is fixed. It’s almost morning, so it’s time for me to go to bed. Sure is peaceful and quiet at this hour…

Mr. Cardinal  Wa-cheer, wa-cheer. (exits)

Chickadee  Fee-dee, fee–dee-dee. (exits)

Beaver  Well, it was quiet. I wonder why the birds are so noisy this morning. All Continue reading Songbird Songs – Puppet Show

Songbird Songs – 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 Songbird Songs – Standards