Bird-Watching Projects for Kids

Bird-watching is a great hobby for people of all ages.
Bird-watching is a great hobby for people of all ages.

Bird-watching projects for kids bring kids in touch with birds -- one of the most common creatures in nature. In fact, bird-watching has become a very popular hobby in the United States and around the world. Many organizations, such as the National Audubon Society, exist to promote birds and bird-watching.

So for all you bird lovers out there, here are some bird-watching projects that will help you join the millions of people already engaging in this fun activity.


Check out these projects and activities to learn more about the fascinating world of birds. Whether you are new to bird-watching or a seasoned birding veteran, you're sure to find a great bird-watching project in this article.

For great bird-watching projects and activities, check out these links:

Bird Behaviorist Bird-Watching Project

Because birds are active during the day, they make terrific subjects for studies of behavior. See how much you can learn from birds with this bird-watching project.

Bird Journal Bird-Watching Project

Most bird-watchers keep track of the birds they have seen. You can start your own record with this bird-watching journal project.

Bird Track Tracing Bird-Watching Project

Make an impression -- learn how to capture bird tracks in this great project.

A Day in the Life Bird-Watching Project

Learn about the daily habits and traits of birds with this bird-watching project.

Birdcall Bird-Watching Project

This fun bird-watching project will help you learn to identify and imitate bird calls.

Egg-sploration Bird-Watching Project

When the nesting season is over, you can go on an "egg-sploration" of your own with this "egg-citing" project.

Bird Feather Bird-Watching Project

This bird-watching project will show you what to do the next time you find a feather outside.

Favorite Foods Bird-Watching Project

Do birds really "eat like birds?" Find out what these animals munch on to fill their little bellies, and learn about birds' diets with this bird-watching project.

Get Close Bird-Watching Project

Can birds learn to trust humans in their world? Find out when you do this up-close-and-personal bird-watching project.

Bird 'Collection' Bird-Watching Project

Seasoned bird-watchers keep a "life list" of every bird they have seen. Make your own life list with this project.

Speedy Tweety Bird-Watching Project

Which are faster, smaller birds or larger birds? This project will help you find out.

State Birds Bird-Watching Project

You may know your state capital, but do you know your state bird? You will after doing this bird-watching project.

Beak-Watching Bird-Watching Project

This project will help you identify birds by their beaks and their feet.

Bird Migration Bird-Watching Project

See which birds pass over your neighborhood with this bird-watching project.

Bird Talk Bird-Watching Project

Birds only use chirps and tweets to communicate. See if you can do the same with this fun bird-watching project.

Sapsuckers and Woodpeckers Bird-Watching Project

This bird-watching project will help you learn the difference between sapsuckers and woodpeckers.

Tweet Repeat Bird-Watching Project

All you need is a tape recorder and some practice to learn how to speak bird with this bird-watching project.

Watch the Birdie Bird-Watching Project

Discover which birds live near your house with this interesting and easy bird-watching project.

Continue to the next page to find out if your neighborhood fowl are on their best "behavior."

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Why do birds act the way they do? Take some time to observe bird behavior with this project and find the answers for yourself.

What You'll Need:

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Binoculars
  • Bird guide for your area

An easy way to study birds is to set up a feeding station in your yard that's visible from a window (for instructions on how to create a feeding station, see the Bird Cafeteria Bird Feeder).

Set up a comfortable chair in front of the window and be ready to write down what you see. At first you may only see a confusing jumble of activity, with birds flying this way and that. Some will be at a feeder one moment and on the ground the next. They never stop moving. How can you make sense of what you see?

The best way is to pick something out of the action to observe. You might first observe just one bird. Follow it with your eyes and describe what it does. Then, watch one bird feeder. Describe how the birds act when they are on the feeder. Finally, look for one kind of behavior. Count how many times one bird chases another away from food, for instance.

By watching a flock of birds carefully, and noting who chases who, you may be able to determine which birds dominate the flock. You can also watch for any peculiar or interesting behavior. For instance, you may notice Downy woodpeckers work up a tree trunk as they find insects in the bark. Watch how nuthatches and brown creepers go down the tree headfirst to find insects the woodpeckers miss.

Learn how to keep track of your bird observations with a bird journal on the next page.

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Keep track of the birds you see and learn more about them with this Bird Journal Bird-Watching Project.

What You'll Need:

  • Composition book or notebook
  • Pen or pencil
  • Bird-shaped
  • Stickers or bird pictures (optional)
  • Binoculars
  • Bird guide for your area

Get a sturdy, bound notebook, preferably one with a hard cover. An ordinary composition book will work very well. If you like, decorate your notebook with bird stickers or cut-out pictures of birds. Reserve the first two or three pages for your "life list" -- a listing of every kind of bird you've seen. You will add to your list each time you go outdoors and spot a new bird you haven't seen before.

Now find some good places to watch for birds. Feeding stations, parks, ponds, shores, marshes, meadows, and fences are great places. Take your journal with you each time you go. Find a comfortable spot to sit, and stay quiet as you watch for birds. Take a pair of binoculars with you if you have them.

On the top of a fresh page, write down where you are, the time of day, and the date. These are important, because you won't see the same birds everywhere, and you'll see different birds each season. List the names of the birds you see. Sketch or write a description of birds you don't recognize.

Note as many features of the bird as you can so you can look it up later. Record what the birds are doing. Are they feeding, flying, singing, fighting, or displaying? Is there a bird on a nest?

Your bird journal entries will teach you a lot about birds. You'll be able to tell which birds migrate through your area and which stay a whole season or all year. You'll get a pretty good idea of which birds are most common, too.

Now that you know how to keep track of your bird-watching activities, continue to the next page to learn how to study their tracks.

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Have you ever looked at the delicate tracks of your neighborhood birds? Check out this bird-watching project on bird tracks to learn how to recreate your own bird tracks.

What You'll Need:

  • Old cake pan or cookie sheet
  • Soft, wet mud or sand
  • Bird feeder
  • Bird seed
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Old bowl and spoon to mix plaster

Pick an area near a tree often inhabited by birds. Now fill an old cake pan or cookie sheet about halfway with soft, wet mud or very fine sand. Don't fill it too high. It should be wet enough to leave a good impression when you press a dime into the surface and then take the dime away.

Fill an ordinary bird feeder with bird seed, set the seed at the end of the pan, then scram. Come back in a few hours (or the next day) and see what tracks your feathered friends have made.

For extra fun, carefully fill the pan the rest of the way with plaster of Paris. Once the plaster dries, you'll have a perfect raised cast of your bird track experiment.

The daily life of a bird is filled with adventure. Find out how you can study the daily habits of birds on the next page.

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A Day in the Life Bird-Watching Project
A Day in the Life Bird-Watching Project

Discover how birds spend their days by creating this bird-watching project.

What You'll Need:

  • Reference book about birds
  • Index cards
  • Pen
  • Markers
  • Stapler

From the tiny hummingbird to the giant ostrich, there are a lot of different kinds of birds in the world. And they all have different habitats. Seagulls and pelicans live along water shores. Penguins live in cold, arctic regions. You can find many strange and colorful types of birds (like the toucan) in rain forests and tropical islands. Even large cities can be home to sparrows, pigeons, doves, and many other varieties of birds. What kind of birds live near you?

Get some books on birds out of the library, study them, and pick out your favorite variety of bird. Afterwards, write a mini-book on a day in the life of this bird.

Use an index card for each page of your book. Start by drawing a cover on the first index card (put your name as the author). Then write an interesting fact about the bird on each card. Don't forget to leave room for illustrations; include pictures of the bird's shape, nest, and habitat.

What does your bird eat? Is it most active during the day or at night? Where does it live? When all of your pages are done, staple them together.

Now that you have your list of bird habits, take a stab at mimicking their voices. Keep reading for more great bird-watching projects for kids.

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Tweet your way through the Birdcall Bird-Watching Project.

What You'll Need:

  • Field guide to birds

Go to an area where there are lots of birds and eavesdrop on their conversations. Listen and look at the same time, and begin to learn which sounds are made by which birds. If you know how, you can actually get birds to come close to you so you can watch and listen to them. One way is to buy a birdcall at a nature store.

Or, try this method: Open your lips but keep your teeth together. Put your tongue lightly against the back of your teeth, and blow out. Stand very still while you do this, so the birds notice the sound, but don't notice you.

Listen to birds and try to imitate their sounds. The better your imitation is, the more interested the birds will be. Pay close attention to what the birds look like, so you can try to find them later in a field guide.

Some of the easiest birds to imitate are the whippoorwill, the bobwhite, and the chickadee. Owls are fun to imitate, too, although it's not always as simple as "who?" or "hoot!"

If you hear a deep, loud hoot, you're probably hearing a Great Horned Owl, which lives all over North America. If you hear eight hoots in a row, you probably are hearing the Barred Owl. (It's nicknamed the "Eight Hooter.") If you hear a loud noise that sounds like a monkey, but you don't live in the jungle, you're probably hearing another type of call of the Barred Owl.

Bird-watching projects usually involve a little "egg-sploration." Find out how to explore the world of birds on the next page.

For more fun crafts and bird-watching activities, check out:

For more fun crafts and bird-watching activities, check out:

Find out what birds leave behind with the Egg-sploration Bird-Watching Project.

What You'll Need:

  • Stepladder
  • Adult help
  • Work gloves
  • Soap

With adult help, use a stepladder to reach abandoned nests. Be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands from bacteria and tiny insect pests.

What do you find inside the nest? Are there tiny eggshell fragments? Whole eggs that didn't successfully hatch? What story do these eggshells tell? How do different eggshell colors differ from nest to nest? You never know what fun facts you'll hatch next.

When you are finished looking at the nests, leave everything where it was. Be sure to wash your hands with antibacterial soap as soon as you finish this activity.

Discover how much bird feathers can tell you with the next fun bird-watching project.

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Can you identify birds by their feathers?
Can you identify birds by their feathers?

Take a closer look at the complex structure of feathers with this Bird Feather Bird-Watching Project. It will give you great information to add to your bird journal.

What You'll Need:

Walk around your neighborhood looking for bird feathers on the ground. (Some bird feathers carry disease, so be careful to wear gloves when you handle them.) If you keep a bird notebook, you can add this information to your notes. Most feathers you find will have a hollow quill running down the center. Coming out of both sides of the quill are barbs. Look at them carefully with your magnifying glass. Notice the small, hook-like barbules that make the barbs stick together. Feathers come in three basic types: Down feathers have no quill to speak of. The barbs are soft, and the barbules do not stick together. Body (or contour) feathers, have downy barbs at the base for insulation, while the upper part forms a flat, windproof layer. Flight feathers have no downy parts at all. They are long and stiff, and form the shape of the wings.Draw your findings in your notebook. Using the color and the size of the feather, see if you can figure out what bird it came from. When you are done looking at the feather, put it back where you found it. Laws that protect our nation's birds also protect bird parts. Some feathers can be collected by permit only.Learn about birds' diets with the bird-watching project on the next page.For more fun crafts and bird-watching activities, check out:

Different kinds of birds have very different ideas about what makes a nice meal. See which birds eat which foods with the Favorite Foods Bird-Watching Project.

What You'll Need:

  • Pie plates
  • Several kinds of bird food (birdseed, sunflower seeds, oats, bread crumbs)
  • Paper
  • Pen

First, gather several different kinds of bird food, including birdseed, sunflower seeds, oats, bread crumbs, and anything else you can think of. Put each kind of food in a separate pie pan, then put all the pie pans outside, a few feet apart. Watch from a distance or from inside to see which kinds of birds eat which foods. Keep a record of this.Try putting some of the pie pans on the ground, and some up high in bird feeders or trees, and watch what happens. Then, switch the pie pans around. Put the ones that were on the ground up high. What do you discover? You'll probably see that some birds prefer to eat on the ground, while others only eat in the trees. Birds may ignore even their favorite food if it's in the wrong place! If you try this activity at different times of the year, you may see different kinds of birds.Continue reading for a project that will help you get up close and personal with your neighborhood birds.For more fun crafts and bird-watching activities, check out:

Prove you can watch without wounding in the Get Close Bird-Watching Project.

What You'll Need:

  • Ruler

Can you get close to birds without disturbing them? Why not take a summer to find out? Watch your yard to find out where birds like to gather. First, watch them from your house, talking softly as you look. Then, move outside, but stay close to your house, again talking very softly. Move just two feet closer each day, being careful to sit still and make no sudden movements. How close can you get to your feathered friends? If you're patient, you might be surprised.

Keep reading to learn how to "collect" birds without having to capture a single one.

For more fun crafts and bird-watching activities, check out:

Bird "Collection" Bird-Watching Project
Bird "Collection" Bird-Watching Project

Collect birds without even catching them with the Bird "Collection" Bird-Watching Project.

What You'll Need:

  • Notebook
  • Pen
  • Field guide to birds
  • Local bird checklist from Audubon Society (optional)

Begin with a small notebook or blank book that you can carry around. Reserve the first few pages for a running list of all the different birds you see. Use field guides and local bird checklists to help you identify birds in your area.

Each time you add a bird to your list, make a page for that bird. Draw its picture using the field guide to help you. Note where you saw the bird, what time of year, and what the bird was doing.

Describe its song. Write down some interesting facts about the bird. Each time you see that bird again you can add more information to the page.

If you ever wondered how fast birds can fly, then you'll love the next project. Keep reading to learn more.

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The Speedy Tweety Bird-Watching Project will help you learn how fast different birds move.

What You'll Need:

  • Birds to watch
  • Stopwatch
  • Notebook
  • Pencil or pen

Are bigger birds faster birds? Are smaller birds in more danger? Are the answers as obvious as they seem? Study your neighborhood birds to find out.

Sit quietly somewhere that birds like to search for food, water, and shelter. Time exactly how long it takes each species to go from ground to treetop.

Keep careful notes. You may find that while bigger birds have stronger wings, they also have more weight to launch into flight. You may find that smaller birds beat their wings faster but rise no faster than their bigger, more powerful friends. You may discover that it depends entirely on the individual bird. But whatever you observe, you're sure to find the study is a real "tweet."

Find out more about your state bird with the next bird-watching project.

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There's a lot to learn about your state -- the State Birds Bird-Watching Project will help you learn about your state bird.

What You'll Need:

  • Field guide to birds

Find out what your official state bird is from the list below. Why do you think that bird was selected? Which bird is the state bird for seven states?

Learn about your state bird from a field guide to birds. Then, whenever you're out hiking, watch for your bird. Can you find any other state birds where you live?

  • Alabama Yellowhammer
  • Alaska Willow ptarmigan
  • Arizona Cactus wren
  • Arkansas Mockingbird
  • California California valley quail
  • Colorado Lark bunting
  • Connecticut American robin
  • Delaware Blue hen chicken
  • District of Columbia Wood thrush
  • Florida Mockingbird
  • Georgia Brown thrasher
  • Hawaii Hawaiian goose
  • Idaho Mountain bluebird
  • Illinois Cardinal
  • Indiana Cardinal
  • Iowa Eastern goldfinch
  • Kansas Western meadowlark
  • Kentucky Cardinal
  • Louisiana Eastern brown pelican
  • Maine Chickadee
  • Maryland Baltimore oriole
  • Massachusetts Chickadee
  • Michigan Robin
  • Minnesota Common loon
  • Mississippi Mockingbird
  • Missouri Bluebird
  • Montana Western meadowlark
  • Nebraska Western meadowlark
  • Nevada Mountain bluebird
  • New Hampshire Purple finch
  • New Jersey Eastern goldfinch
  • New Mexico Roadrunner
  • New York Bluebird
  • North Carolina Cardinal
  • North Dakota Western meadowlark
  • Ohio Cardinal
  • Oklahoma Scissor-tailed flycatcher
  • Oregon Western meadowlark
  • Pennsylvania Ruffed grouse
  • Rhode Island Rhode Island red
  • South Carolina Carolina wren
  • South Dakota Chinese ring-necked pheasant
  • Tennessee Mockingbird
  • Texas Mockingbird
  • Utah Seagull
  • Vermont Hermit thrush
  • Virginia Cardinal
  • Washington Willow goldfinch
  • West Virginia Cardinal
  • Wisconsin Robin
  • Wyoming Meadowlark

Continue reading for more interesting bird-watching projects for kids.

For more fun crafts and bird-watching activities, check out:

Beak-Watching Bird-Watching Project
Beak-Watching Bird-Watching Project

Learn how birds use their beak and feet to help them survive in the wild with the Beak-Watching Bird-Watching Project.

What You'll Need:

  • Field guide to birds
  • Poster board
  • Markers

One of the easiest ways to identify different birds is by looking at their beaks. Some have sharp beaks for pecking. Others have long, wide, flat, or curved beaks. How does each bird's beak help it get food? (A pelican's beak, for example, expands to hold the fish it catches.)

Now think about birds' feet. Some have powerful feet with claws, called "talons." Other feet, like a duck's webbed feet, are designed to help birds swim. How does a bird's feet help it move around in its habitat?

Look through a field guide to birds and pay special attention to birds' beaks and feet. Then make a chart showing the beaks and feet of different birds, and telling how they help the birds survive.

Watch birds flying south for the winter with the project you'll learn about next.

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The Bird Migration Bird-Watching Project will help you follow the spring and fall bird migrations in your area.

What You'll Need:

  • Binoculars
  • Bird manual for your area
  • Notebook
  • Pencil or pen

If you live in the middle of one of the major flyways, you're in a great place to watch the annual bird migrations. Even if you're not near a flyway, you may still spot birds migrating through your area. Flyways are simply where the birds concentrate. Because many migratory birds are attracted to wetlands, locate a marsh, pond, or lake in your area. Find a place near the water where you can watch birds. Use binoculars for a better look. A good bird manual can help. Some of the most common migratory water birds you'll find all over the United States are Canada geese, pintail ducks, mallard ducks, and red-winged blackbirds.Take notes about the birds you see. You'll probably see a lot more species during the migratory season than at other times. Some birds will stay all year. Others are just passing through. Notice also which birds migrate to your area to stay a season. You may have heard that geese fly south for the winter and north for the summer. But watch what happens in your area. People in certain areas are puzzled when they see geese flying all directions in their area all winter long. They expect the geese to "fly south for the winter," but where geese end up may be as far "south" as they fly. The flocks will remain all winter before returning to their nesting grounds in Canada and Alaska.Continue reading for a bird-watching project that will have you speaking in bird-like tongues.For more fun crafts and bird-watching activities, check out:

Could you make yourself understood using peeps and squawks? Find out with the Bird Talk Bird-Watching Project

What You'll Need:

  • Patience
  • Imagination
  • A willing friend
  • One free hour

As humans, we take our ability to communicate for granted. But what if you suddenly had only chirps and peeps to make your ideas understood? What if our words -- hundreds and hundreds of them -- were replaced with bird-like tweets and whistles? Take an hour to find out. Try to share one hour with a friend or family member without saying a single word. Chirp when you're hungry. Squawk when you don't like what you've heard. Whistle a happy song when you're content. See if words are the only sounds worth understanding. Then, go outside and try to have a conversation with the birds you see.Keep reading for more great bird-watching projects.For more fun crafts and bird-watching activities, check out:

The Sapsuckers and Woodpeckers Bird-Watching Project will help you identify what birds are making all those holes in your trees.

What You'll Need:

  • Powers of observation

Sapsuckers and woodpeckers have chisel-like beaks that they use to drill holes in trees. Both feed along tree trunks, but eat different kinds of foods.

Woodpeckers eat insects, and drill for them with their beaks. Sapsuckers punch holes in trees, then lick up the sweet sap with their long tongues.

Look around your yard or a park for trees with small holes in them. Notice the pattern of the holes.

Woodpeckers eat insects wherever they find them, leaving holes randomly scattered around the tree.

Sapsuckers feed more systematically. They will patiently drill a straight line of holes across the tree trunk. By the time the bird finishes drilling the last hole, the first is full of sap. The bird then drinks the sap from each hole, first to last, in turn. When the holes stop dripping sap, the sapsucker drills some more.

If you see horizontal rows of holes along a tree trunk, you know the sapsuckers have been at work. If you like, hide behind a bush or a tree near the tree where woodpeckers or sapsuckers have been working. If you're patient enough, the birds might return and you can watch them feed.

After you learn the next bird-watching project, you just might be able to make some new feathered friends.

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Learning a new language is always an adventure, especially when you learn to speak bird. The Tweet Repeat Bird-Watching Project might just help you communicate with your new feathered friends.

What You'll Need:

  • Tape recorder
  • Bird sounds

Set a tape recorder on "record" and place it near a spot where local birds perch and sing. Slip your recorder inside a paper bag (with a hole cut near the microphone) to protect it from the droppings that sometimes go along with fluttering birds.

Let the tape record for at least 15 minutes. Then retrieve your recorder and carefully study the sounds as you play them back from the tape. See if you can mimic the sounds.

Practice until it sounds just right. Then sing away when a bird is nearby. Do the tiny creatures react? You'll never know until you try.

Discover more about your backyard birds with the next bird-watching project.

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Document which fine feathered friends call your home "home" in the Watch the Birdie Bird-Watching Project.

What You'll Need:

  • Bird feeders
  • Bird seed
  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil

Our fine feathered friends help maintain the balance of nature. When you keep a record of just what birds flutter by your window, you begin to understand how that balance works. Why not set a few minutes aside each day to keep track of which birds (and how many) call your house "home sweet home"? Use a few inexpensive bird feeders filled with seed to draw your birds near. Then sit back and enjoy the show, making sure to take notes on what you see and when you see it.For more fun crafts and bird-watching activities, check out:

About the Craft DesignersBird Behaviorist Bird-Watching Project by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner HallsBird Journal Bird-Watching Project by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner HallsBird Track Tracing Bird-Watching Project by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner HallsEgg-sploration Bird-Watching Project by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner HallsGet Close Bird-Watching Project by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner HallsSpeedy Tweety Bird-Watching Project by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner HallsBird Migration Bird-Watching Project by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner HallsBird Talk Bird-Watching Project by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner HallsSapsuckers and Woodpeckers Bird-Watching Project by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner HallsTweet Repeat Bird-Watching Project by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner HallsWatch the Birdie Bird-Watching Project by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner Halls