Has your child ever pointed out birds he sees and hears while you are out
and about? You can help your child learn about birds by making a simple
bird feeder to attract them. Over time, you and your child may observe birds
that live in your area year-round or birds that are migrating from faraway
Many birds, like purple martins, migrate long distances in search of food
and places to lay their eggs and raise their young. Some birds, like owls
and sparrows, don't migrate. They stay in the same place all year long.
By making and hanging bird feeders, you can help migrating and non-migrating
birds find the food they need to survive. You can also observe the characteristics
and behavior of birds that visit the feeder.
Observing; describing; comparing and contrasting
3-6 year olds
Making and Hanging a Bird Feeder
Take It Further
Have a conversation with your child about a bird he has seen or one you
have pointed out to him. Invite him to describe what the bird looks like
and to imitate the bird using his own body. He can pretend his arms are
wings and his mouth is a beak. Introduce the idea of making a bird feeder
to help birds find food, and, if possible, take him to the store with you
to shop for any materials you need.
Print out Make
a Hanging Bagel Bird Feeder
for directions to make a bird
feeder with your child. As you make the feeder, ask your child what he thinks
the visiting birds will look like. Make this into a game by asking questions
like "Do you think penguins will come to the feeder? What about pigeons?"
Talk together about why or why not.
Hang the bagel bird feeder near a tree, or from one if possible. Be careful
to hang it high enough (above 4') to avoid any cats that may bother the
birds. Pick a spot where you and your child will see it at different times
during the day. Remind him that it may take some time for birds to discover
the feeder. In the meantime, you and your child can observe birds anywhere
you go. Encourage him to spot birds by listening to the sounds they make.
What You Need:
Notice and point out birds you see at or near the feeder. Encourage your
child to look carefully at the birds. What does each bird look like and
what is it doing? How do you think birds' feet help them to perch on or
near the feeder? How do they use their beaks to get the seed? Invite him
to tell you or show you. He can use My
to draw some of the birds he sees.
You can help your child notice other birds. You may see flocks of birds
flying overhead in a "V" formation or looking for food in a park or by the
side of the road. This is a good opportunity to introduce the idea of migration,
that some birds travel long distances every year to find food or to lay
Talking About Birds:
Encourage your child to share his
bird observations with other family members. Help him remember the birds
he saw and describe what they looked like. Family bird observations and
conversations are also a great way to introduce and use new and interesting
"bird words" with your child, like perch, soar, twitter, chirp, flock, and
migrate. Remember it will take time for your child to learn and use these
Replenish your feeder regularly and hang other foods birds eat like small
pieces of fruit, bread, or plain donuts. Help your child compare and contrast
the characteristics of different birds you see at the feeder. Which ones
are bigger/smaller in size or brighter/duller in color? Invite your child
to look for evidence that birds have visited when nobody is watching.
Did you know that birds need water to drink too? Supply birds with much-needed
water by filling shallow containers or hanging small jugs of water. This
water supply will need to be replenished frequently in areas with freezing
More Information About Birds:
National Audubon Society website "Just for Kids": http://www.audubon.org/educate/kids/
Visit a pond and give your child an opportunity to observe water birds.
How are ducks' bills different from other birds' beaks? Wonder together
about how the duck's bill helps it find and eat food on and under the water.
Visit a zoo or bird sanctuary to observe many different kinds of birds up
What You Need:
- Plain paper or notebook
- Crayons or colored pencils for drawing
- Markers for writing
Provide plain paper or a notebook and invite your child to keep a journal
of his bird observations. He can make drawings of the birds he sees and
you can jot down notes about how they look and behave. Encourage your child
to share his journal with other family members.
The movement of animals from one place to another
on a regular basis for the purposes of feeding or nesting and having young
perch, soar, twitter, chirp, flock
of Flocks (The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!TM)
by Tish Rabe. Golden Books, 1998.
Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
by Robert McCloskey. New York: Viking Press, 1965.