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Bird is the Word

Birds are fascinating animals to watch, and it is fun to to learn how to identify them. Your family can use the same techniques to identify birds that scientists use.


  • Journals, sketch pads, or blank paper
  • Pencils
  • Markers or colored pencils
  • Bird field guide
  • optional: SciGirls Nature Nurture Journal
  • optional: binoculars, bird feeders, bird identification app (Merlin)


  1. Make a list of some of the birds that you are familiar with. How do you know how to identify them? (For example: size, shape, colors, location, habitat, behavior, sound.)
  2. Go bird watching. Head to your local park or your own backyard and look for birds. Do you see some that you already know? What about birds you aren’t familiar with? Take pictures with your camera, draw pictures, or write a description of at least one of the birds you don’t know.
  3. Head to the local library, the internet or bird id books to identify at least one of the mystery birds. Become an expert in identifying that bird by considering the following characteristics: overall size and shape, field marks (breast color, rump color, tail color and length, wing shape and color, eye stripe, eye ring color, head color), behavior (tail movements, eating on the ground, flight pattern, sounds the bird makes). Drawing a picture of the bird and labeling key parts is a great way to help remember what it looks like.
  4. Go bird watching again. Do you see your bird? What things do you notice this time that you didn’t notice that last time you went bird watching?


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