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Be a good friend and build a birds nest.
Be a good friend and build a birds nest.

For centuries man has been obsessed with birds and flight. These bird-watching activities for kids will help to increase knowledge about birds and their daily activities. And, more importantly, they're just plain fun to do!

These bird-watching activities are designed with kids in mind and can be easily completed in no time. Each activity is thoroughly explained, and once you complete one, you'll be flying high for more.

To find out more about our feathery friends of the sky, check out these links:

Christmas Bird Count Activity

Learn more about birds in your area with this Christmas bird count activity hosted by the Audubon Society.

Bird's Little Helper Activity

Be a friend to the birds in your neighborhood. Try this bird activity -- you'll be glad you did, and so will the birds.

Search for Birds' Feathers Activity

Look for feathers in your backyard and see if you can find out which birds they belong to.

Build A Bird's Nest Activity

Try this fun bird activity that shows you how to make a home for a bird.

Animal Treats in A Tree Activity

See some animals pay a visit to your backyard when you try this animal treats activity. Take notes as you watch them chow down.

Feather Down Activity

Can you keep as warm as a bird in the middle of winter? Try this fun activity and see if you can.

Eat Like A Bird Activity

Do you eat like a bird? Try this activity and find out. You may be surprised.

Warm Bird's Nest Activity

Keeping a nest warm isn't as easy as you think it might be. Try this bird activity and find out for yourself.

Owl Eyes Activity

Dramatically improve your night vision with this owl eyes activity.

Plant For Your Birdies Activity

Make a place where your neighborhood bird friends can hang out. This is a fun activity that will not take up a lot of time.

Ring The Bells Activity

Let your bird friends know when they are in danger. Mr. Tomcat won't be bothering them anymore.

Robin's Egg Treats Activity

Try this bird activity. These are no ordinary eggs.

Birdbath Activity

Help the local birds cool off by making them a birdbath. This activity is easy to do and fun to make.

Stopwatch Bird Activity

Ever wondered how long it takes for a bird to reach the sky? Try this bird activity and find out.

Balloon Swan Activity

Wow all of your friends by doing this balloon swan activity. You'll be the center of attention.

Birds' Migration Activity

Track the migratory routes of birds with this bird-watching activity.

Learn about bird-watching activities link by link or simply jump in and start with the first activity on the next page.

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Christmas Bird Count Activity

Every year around Christmastime, birdwatchers all over the country take part in the Christmas Bird Count activity. You'll learn a lot about birds by spending a day with other people who care about them.

The Christmas Bird Count is sponsored by the Audubon Society, an organization of people who are interested in birds. The purpose of the count is to find out how many birds there are, and what kinds of birds.

HERE'S HOW IT WORKS:

People form groups, and each group counts birds in a certain area on a certain day. The groups count how many birds there are of each kind. Then, all the groups send their counts to the Audubon Society, who adds everything up to get the big picture.

If you'd like to be part of the Christmas Bird Count, call a nature center or bird-watching club in your area for information. They can help you become part of a group.

Continue to the next page for an activity designed to help birds.

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Bird's Little Helper Activity

In the springtime, birds are on the lookout for nesting material. Be a bird's little helper and give them a hand with this bird-friendly activity.

What You'll Need:

  • String
  • Scissors
  • Short strips of old rags
  • Other nest lining

You can encourage birds to nest in your area if you provide them with natural nesting materials or artificial materials that birds will accept as well as the natural ones.

Cut pieces of string into lengths no longer than three inches (or birds can get tangled in it). Short, narrow strips of rag are also useful to birds. Feathers from an old feather pillow are often acceptable as nest lining. If your family discards lawn clippings, save some to dry and give to the birds.

String, rags, and dried grass can be laid out on the ground or on branches of shrubs for birds to pick up. Hang a used berry basket up on a tree limb and fill it with bits of lint or with small feathers.

If you have swallows in your yard, try this trick: In the spring when the swallows first return, go outdoors in an area where you've seen swallows and hold a fluffy white feather in your fingertips as high as you can.

The swallows will dive at the feather until one gets brave enough to snatch it from your fingers and take it home to its nest.

Ever wondered about the bird that left that feather in your backyard? Continue to the next page to learn about a fun feather activity.

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Search for Birds' Feathers Activity

Who does that feather belong to?
Who does that feather belong to?

Finding a feather is a wonderful treat. So why not try this search for birds' feathers activity and find a natural treasure in your own backyard?

Grab a paper lunch sack, slip on your sneakers, and head outside.

What You'll Need:

  • Brown paper lunch bag
  • Gardening gloves (optional)
  • Walking stick
  • Spiral notebook
  • Tape
  • Markers

Keep your eyes peeled. Remember that feathers are light and easily caught by the wind, so carefully use your gloves and walking stick to rummage through piles of natural debris blown against large stones or fallen logs.

When you find your feathers, slip them into your paper bag for safekeeping until you get home. Once you do, ask your parents or adult neighbors if they can help you identify what bird lost each feather.

Use library books or the Internet to find pictures of the birds. Tape the feathers inside a spiral notebook and make a few notes about what secrets

each one revealed.

Be sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water whenever you handle wild feathers of any kind. Feathers can carry germs.

Read on to the next page and learn about how to build a bird's nest, you'll be glad you did.

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Build a Bird's Nest Activity

Make your feathery friends a nest to remember.
Make your feathery friends a nest to remember.

Birds spend hours searching for and collecting materials to make a cozy nest, so why not help them out? Lend them a hand -- or wing -- by trying this Build a Bird's Nest Activity.

What You'll Need:

  • Nature and human-made materials
  • Modeling clay

In addition to twigs and leaves, birds like to use bits of string, yarn, lint, and other human-made materials to build and furnish their homes.

Take a walk outside and pretend that you are a bird that needs to make a nest. See what building materials you can find. Look for natural materials like leaves and twigs, and also for human-made materials.

When you get back home, shape some modeling clay into a bird's nest. Line the inside and outside of the nest with the things you collected, until you come up with the perfect bird home. This makes a great piece of art for your home.

Do something nice for your animal neighbors. Continue to the next page and learn how to treat them to something tasty.

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Animal Treats in a Tree Activity

This activity will leave your neighborhood animals appreciating your creativity and your generosity. Follow the instructions in this Animal Treats in a Tree Activity to give local animals a well-deserved treat!

What You'll Need:

  • Tree
  • Animal treats
  • Rake

This activity is fun to do in winter time, but you can do it any time. Pick a tree in a somewhat secluded spot. In the afternoon, decorate the tree with edible treats for animals.

You could use fruit (pieces of apple, pear, or banana; grapes), nuts, bread smeared with peanut butter, vegetables, chunks of cheese, or anything else you think animals would enjoy.

After you've finished, rake the ground around the tree until it is smooth.

Come back the next morning to see what treats were eaten and what tracks were left.

If you can find an adult who will come with you, you can visit your tree at night and see the animals that come there.

To find out how you can stay as warm as a bird in winter, continue on to the next project.

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Feather Down Activity

Can you stay as warm as this little fellow?
Can you stay as warm as this little fellow?

How warm are our feathered friends? Try this feather down activity and see for yourself.

What You'll Need:

  • Down jacket or comforter
  • Regular jacket or comforter

It's hard to believe feathers keep a bird so warm even when rain falls

and snow flies. You can find out how it works by wrapping yourself in down. What is down? In simple terms, down is a layer of feathers.

On a bird, down is the term for its fluffy little feathers, rather than its long, spiny quills. In coats and bedspreads, down is a stuffing of small feathers, whether fluffy or not.

No matter what the definition, the way down works remains the same. Layers of natural feathers hold warmth in. So wrap up warmly in a down jacket or bedspread (ask permission before you use the bedspread) and head out into a frosty winter day.

Stand in the cold for a few minutes. Now go inside and change into a regular jacket or wrap up in an ordinary cotton blanket. Spend a few moments in the same cold. Which wrap kept you warmer? Nine times out of ten, down will win.

Goin' South

In the winter, most birds migrate to warmer temperatures -- in the United States, that means they go hundreds or even thousands of miles toward the south, where down coats aren't needed.

Do you eat like a bird? Continue reading to the next page to find out!

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Eat Like a Bird Activity

Can you eat as much as birds do?
Can you eat as much as birds do?

Think birds don't eat very much? Try this eat like a bird activity and think again. When people say, "You eat like a bird," they often mean you hardly eat anything at all. But modern bird scientists (called "ornithologists") have a different perspective.

They say that although birds do eat tiny mouthfuls of food, they do so hundreds and hundreds of times each day. They have to eat a lot just to keep their energetic little bodies moving.

What You'll Need:

  • Ordinary meals broken up into about two dozen tiny meals
  • One free day

So why not try a bird's eating habits on for size? You might not want to feast on invertebrates (bugs & worms), but you can try to eat your food gradually, one tiny bite at a time.

See how it affects your energy levels. See how it affects those hunger pains you usually feel three times a day. You may never look at birds the same way again.

Continue reading to the next page to find out if you can keep a nest nice and warm just like a bird.

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Warm Bird's Nest Activity

Can you keep these eggs nice and warm?
Can you keep these eggs nice and warm?

It may look easy to be a mother bird. After all, all they do is sit, right? Wrong. Experts say bird embryos undergo 42 different stages of growth inside the egg. If the mother doesn't turn and care for each egg, the chick might not survive.

So if you've ever wondered what it takes to change a nest full of eggs into baby birds, check out this warm bird's nest activity and find out by warming a nest of your own!

What You'll Need:

  • Large "nest" of straw or leaves
  • Plastic Easter eggs
  • Companion

Make a nest out of straw and leaves and then sit still on a few plastic eggs of your own. Keep all the eggs warm to the touch. Turn them all over at least once or twice an hour.

And don't forget, you'll need a friend or pretend bird mate to bring you food and give you potty breaks if you're going to pull this experiment off.

Sit for three or four hours to get an idea of how much it takes to raise a baby bird. You'll understand just how important a mother bird is to her unborn babies.

Raising Chicks

Not all birds raise their babies the same way. In some species of birds, both mothers and fathers take care of the little ones, but most birds rely more on the female to handle the rearing and the male to find food.

Is your night vision as good as an owl's? Find out with this fun owl eyes activity.

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Owl Eyes Activity

Is your night vision as good as an owl's?
Is your night vision as good as an owl's?

Can an owl really see better than you at night? Try this owl eyes activity and shed some light on your night vision.

What You'll Need:

  • Binoculars

When it's almost dark, go outside and try your best to see. (Go to an area where there are no outdoor lights.) Pay attention to how much you can see: the outline of a tree or house? a cat moving?

Now, look through binoculars. Can you see more?

You can see better through binoculars because they take in more light than your eyes can. But even with binoculars, you're no match for an owl. Owls' eyes take in about 100 times more light than yours, so they can see quite well at night.

Continue to the next page and learn how to grow a plant for your bird friends.

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Plant For Your Birdies Activity

Make a happy new home for your bird friends.
Make a happy new home for your bird friends.

Why not plan your gardens around the birds you want to attract? Studies show birds prefer these five types of plants when searching for the ideal place to nest and live.

What You'll Need:

  • Seeds
  • Tree saplings
  • Flower starts

Evergreens provide cover, winter shelter, and summer nesting sites. Grass (especially if not mowed during nesting season) provides cover for ground-nesting birds. Nectar-producing plants (especially red blossoms) attract hummingbirds and orioles.

Fruiting trees and bushes, like cherry trees and grapevines, attract dozens of species of birds for obvious (and tasty) reasons. Be sure to plant trees or bushes that bear fruit every season.

Nut and acorn plants, such as oaks, chestnuts, walnuts, and hazelnuts, are good for birds to eat and provide good nesting sites.

Continue reading to the next page to learn how to help out your bird friends with a fun "ring the bells" activity.

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Ring the Bells Activity

Domestic house cats on the prowl instinctively hunt birds, and even though it's a part of nature, they are responsible for the decline of many American songbirds. You can help even the odds with this Ring the Bells Activity.

What You'll Need:

  • Large jingle bells
  • String
  • Safe scissors
  • Ladder

Go to your local craft store and buy the kind of jingle bells you might use during the holiday season. With adult help, tie the bells (on strings) to the lower branches of your songbirds' favorite roost.

When cats climb or jump to the lower branches, the birds will have a little extra warning -- and time to escape.

Want to learn how to make some delicious egg treats? Continue to the next page and find out.

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Robin's Egg Treats Activity

These robin's egg treats are yummy delicious!
These robin's egg treats are yummy delicious!

Real Robin eggs might not taste like jellybeans, but the eggs in this Robin's egg treats activity do!

What You'll Need:

  • 11/3 cups flaked coconut
  • Cookie sheets
  • 3 bowls
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange peel
  • Shortening
  • 1 cup small jellybeans

Be sure to have an adult help you with this project.

HOW TO MAKE ROBIN'S EGG TREATS:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread coconut on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in oven for about 25 minutes or until coconut begins to brown; stir occasionally.

Step 2: Put toasted coconut in bowl.

Step 3: Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Add egg and lemon extract; beat until smooth.

Step 4: Combine flour, salt, and orange peel in a medium bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; blend.

Step 5: Separate dough into 36 small balls; roll each ball in toasted coconut until completely covered. Place each dough ball 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheets.

Step 6: Using your thumb, make a dent in the center of each ball.

Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until coconut is golden brown. Remove to wire racks and cool completely. Put jellybean "eggs" in the indentations of cooled cookies. Makes 3 dozen treats.

Continue to the next page and learn how to make your own birdbath -- the neighborhood birds will love it!

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Birdbath Activity

Splish-splash, this birdie is enjoying his bath.
Splish-splash, this birdie is enjoying his bath.

Birds like bathing in shallow water, and you can make the perfect bath for them using an upturned garbage can lid.

What You'll Need:

  • Garbage can lid
  • Pebbles
  • Water
  • Terra cotta flowerpot (optional)

Fill the lid with a layer of pebbles so that it's weighted down and will stay put. Set the garbage can lid on top of a stump in your yard or on top of a terra cotta flowerpot. Fill the lid with water, and wait for all those birdies!

Ever wondered how fast it takes for a bird to reach the sky? Continue to the next page for an activity that will help you find out.

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Stopwatch Bird Activity

How long does it take the average bird to go from land to air? It depends on the bird, but you can do your own personal study to find out more. Take your stopwatch outside to your favorite bird sanctuary.

What You'll Need:

  • Stopwatch
  • Paper
  • Pencil or pen

The instant you see a bird take off, hit the "start" button. Stop timing when the bird reaches clear sky. Make a note of the time you've logged and the kind of bird that set that pace.

Now search for another kind of bird and repeat the process. When you compare notes, you'll be amazed by the individual start-to-finish potential of different birds.

Birds and balloons -- what could be more fun? Learn how to make you very own elegant balloon swan on the next page.

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Balloon Swan Activity

Make this lovely swan with just one balloon.
Make this lovely swan with just one balloon.
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Balloon sculpting is entertaining for both the sculptor and the audience. While balloon sculpting looks hard, it's easy when you follow these simple instructions. Try this balloon swan activity; all you need to know is a few of the basics before you get started.

After you have the skill to pinch and twist some bubbles and to twist-lock those bubbles together, you can sculpt your own adorable balloon swan.

SAFETY TIPS

1. Always stretch the balloon before attempting to inflate.

Stretching the balloon weakens the wall of the balloon enough to make it easier to inflate. Also, if there is an imperfection in the rubber itself, the popping of the balloon will have less force. This can be very important when you consider that it may pop while you are inflating it.

2. Always inflate at a downward angle.

Balloons that pop while you are inflating them can be dangerous, not only to the balloon sculptor but to others in the audience. Inflating the balloon at a downward angle can lessen the risk that a piece of the popped balloon will hit someone in the face.

3. Expect balloons to pop.

If there is one truth about balloons (especially pencil balloons), it is that they pop, and when you least expect it. The sting of a popped pencil balloon is worse than the sting of a snapped rubber band.

You should be especially careful to avoid having a balloon hit you in the eyes. Be ready to turn your head quickly should a balloon pop. You can keep your hands open while inflating, which helps mask part of your face.

Do not put an inflated balloon in your mouth. And, always ask people in the audience to stand a safe distance when you are sculpting. Anticipation is your best defense.

Supervise Children

An adult should always be present and supervise children, whether they are playing with the balloons or are learning how to twist them. Inhaling a rubber balloon can be deadly.

Never allow children under 3 years old to put balloons (inflated, uninflated, or popped) in their mouths. Any broken pieces of a balloon should he discarded immediately.

HOW TO MAKE A BALLOON SWAN:

Leave a 3-inch tail.
Leave a 3-inch tail.
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Step 1: Begin by inflating a balloon, leaving a 3-inch tail. Squeeze air into 1 inch of the balloon tail.

Step 2: Make a loop using two-thirds of the balloon.

Pinch and twist lock after making the loop.
Pinch and twist lock after making the loop.
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Step 3: Pinch fingers and twist-lock.

Bring the top of the loop down to the twist.
Bring the top of the loop down to the twist.
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Step 4: Bring the top of the loop down to the twist. Be sure that one fold is slightly smaller than the other.

Pinch and twist.
Pinch and twist.
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Step 5: Pinch and twist-lock.

Push the rounded end into the loop.
Push the rounded end into the loop.
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Step 6: Turn the smaller fold over the top of the larger fold, and gently push the rounded end into the loop. If the rounded end pops out, it has not been pushed deep enough. Push first bubble under the swan.

Pinch the swan neck between the front ends of the top fold.
Pinch the swan neck between the front ends of the top fold.
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Step 7: Pinch the base of the swan neck between the front ends of the top fold.

Fold the balloon to create a bend.
Fold the balloon to create a bend.
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Step 8: Gently fold the neck to create a bend.

Ta-Da! Now you have your very own adorable balloon swan.

Continue reading to the next page and learn how to track birds' migration patterns.

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Birds' Migration Activity

Here's an easy way to study a bird's migration route. Try this birds' migration activity to learn about a bird's pattern of flight.

What You'll Need:

  • Reference book
  • Globe or world map
  • Rubber cement
  • Different colored yarn

Migratory birds fly thousands of miles every year. At the library, check out a book about migratory birds. See if your home is on the migration path of any birds. (If it is, watch for them at the times of the year when they migrate.)

Then, on a globe or world map, mark the migration paths of some birds. Use rubber cement or other temporary adhesive to attach a piece of yarn to each bird's starting place. Attach the other end of the yarn to the bird's summer home. Use different colors of yarn for different birds.

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About the Craft Designers

Search for Birds' Feathers Activity by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe and Kelly Milner Halls Feather Down Activity by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe and Kelly Milner HallsEat Like a Bird Activity by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe and Kelly Milner Halls Plant for Your Birdies Activity by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe and Kelly Milner HallsRing the Bells Activity by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe and Kelly Milner Halls Stopwatch Bird Activity by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe and Kelly Milner Halls