Bird-Watching Projects for Kids

Bird Feather Bird-Watching Project

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: