Feathering the Nest – Background

It is illegal to collect birds’ nests, feathers, or eggs without federal and state collecting permits.

Birds’ nests, hidden behind leafy curtains in the summer, often surprise us in the fall when they appear among the newly bare branches of trees. After the first snowfall, nests stand out as little snow-capped baskets perched on limbs or tucked away inside hedges and thickets. Although the birds that built them are probably far away, the size and shape, materials, and placement of nests can often give us clues about their identity. Birds build their nests without any prior instruction, and yet each builds a nest that is characteristic of its species. Continue reading Feathering the Nest – Background

Feathering the Nest – Activities

It is illegal to collect birds’ nests, feathers, or eggs without federal and state collecting permits.

After handling nests, be sure to wash hands.

FOCUS: Although all birds’ nests are made to contain and conceal the eggs, the design, location, and construction of nests varies greatly. Nests are built in many different places and they are built with many different materials. Some are simple scrapes and others are intricate woven baskets. Each nest is characteristic for its species, and every bird knows by instinct how and where to build it.

Objective: To begin to explore and ask questions about bird nests.

Set out a variety of nests, ask children to take a close look, and ask what they wonder about them.

Materials: Bird Nest Set: five bird nests from key plus additional nests if available (from a licensed owner), magnifying lenses.

Objective: To investigate a variety of birds’ nests and create an inventory, documenting the materials used in their construction.

Ahead of time, place the five nests from the Bird Nest Set at five separate stations. Label each station with the letter listed on the paper tag attached to each nest.  Continue reading Feathering the Nest – Activities

Feathering the Nest – Puppet Show

Birds of a Feather

Characters: Mrs. Bluebird, Mr. Bluebird, Red-eyed Vireo, Phoebe, Goldfinch

Mrs. Bluebird  Well, that’s the last straw!

Mr. Bluebird  What is it, my dear? Is something the matter?

Mrs. Bluebird  The matter? No, I just said that’s the last straw. I’ve just added the last piece of straw to our nest, and now it’s done.

Mr. Bluebird  And a more beautiful nest I’ve never seen. I always admire your great talent in nest building. It must have been hard to learn. Continue reading Feathering the Nest – Puppet Show

Feathering the Nest – 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 Feathering the Nest – Standards