A Citizen Science Project For All Ages
The Great Backyard Bird Count is a fun citizen science project that involves observing birds near your home. Birds are easy to find, colorful, and delightful to observe. Robert Bateman has this to say, “Of all wild creatures, birds are the most colorful and easiest to see. You don’t need to travel to distant jungles or faraway islands. They live in our own backyards…. Birds are our neighbors. We should get to know them.”
What is the Great Backyard Bird Count?
The Great Backyard Bird Count website says this about the bird count, “Each year, people from around the world come together to watch, learn about, count, and celebrate birds.” The event takes place in February and you can participate without leaving your yard. All you have to do is watch birds for at least 15 minutes during the chosen dates and then submit your information about birds sighted on their website. Of course, you can watch birds more often and for longer lengths of time. To find out how to participate and exactly what to keep track of, visit the Bird Count website.
Picture books make any study more fun. Here are a few books about birds and bird watching. Of course, there are many other lovely bird books out there. Just choose the ones that you have access to.
Ruby’s Birds by Mia Thompson
In this book a young girl learns how much fun bird watching can be. There’s also a fun seek-and-find and more bird information in the back.
Counting Birds by Heidi E. Y. Stemple
This book is about the Christmas Bird Count, but I think it’s a great book to read at this time as well.
Bird Count by Susan Edwards Richmond
Follow Ava as she goes with her mother and a guide to participate in the Christmas Bird Count. Again, this book is about a different bird count, but the idea remains the same.
Bird Watch by Christie Matheson
Children will love searching for the hidden birds, and along the way they’ll learn to recognize some names of common birds.
Big Book of Birds by Yuval Zommer
This is truly a big book of birds- jam packed with interesting facts and pictures.
Backyard Bird Poster and Flashcards
I’ve prepared some fun resources you can use in your home to prepare for this event. Of course, you can use them anytime you want to learn more about birds, as well.
- Watercolor Backyard Bird Posters
- Poem & Copywork
You may wish to display the posters, flashcards, and poem in your homeschooling area.
The copywork is based on the poem “The Bluebird” by Eben Eugene Rexford. I’ve included different levels of copywork. If you’re not familiar with copywork, the aim is to have your child learn beautiful handwriting and at the same time become familiar with beautiful, grammatically correct writing.
My daughter loved using these sheets. I thought I would have her copy a line a day, but she finished both sheets in one day. Don’t feel like your child has to do this much, though. One line, nicely copied, is more useful than a sheet done in a sloppy manner.
Charlotte Mason has this to say about copywork.
“No work should be given to a child that he cannot execute perfectly, and then perfection should be required from him as a matter of course. For instance, he is set to do a copy of strokes, and is allowed to show a slateful at all sorts of slopes and all sorts of intervals; his moral sense is vitiated, his eye is injured. Set him six strokes to copy; let him, not bring a slateful, but six perfect strokes, at regular distances and at regular slopes. If he produces a faulty pair, get him to point out the fault, and persevere until he has produced his task; if he does not do it to-day, let him go on to-morrow and the next day, and when the six perfect strokes appear, let it be an occasion of triumph.”
– Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1, p. 160
Are you looking for more nature activities? Check out my monthly nature calendars.