Book Studies

Free Nature Studies: Landlord to the Birds

Free Nature Studies: Landlord to the Birds

 

Read the current chapter: “Landlord to the Birds”

Takeaway: We can be good landlords to the birds by providing shelter, a place to bathe, and a consistent supply of food in the winter.

 

Suggestions
  • Take a “bird census” by finding out which birds overwinter in your area. Search the AllAboutBirds.org bird guide for all of the birds in your bird notebook and view the map to the right to see which ones are in your area year round.
  • You’ll find the list of seasonal birds referred to in “Seasons of Birds” in the book Bird Neighbors by Neltje Blanchan.
  • The best way to find seasonal birds in your area is a bird guide book.  You’ll find our favorites in the additional resources below.
  • The author mentions several places to look for the birds that are listed for your area.  Add this information to your bird notebook.
  • For help providing a “good cafeteria” for the birds, use this list from FeederWatch.org.  You’ll find other bird feeding helps in the additional resources below.
  • Make the sliding bird shelter/feeder or one of the other bird feeders as described.  You’ll find more bird feeder ideas in the additional resources below.
  • If you wish to make the bird food mentioned, you’ll find the “recipe” in “How to Invite Bird Neighbors” in How to Attract the Birds by Neltje Blanchan.
  • Make a bird bath in the spring.  You’ll find plans and ideas below.
  • Make bird houses suitable to the type of birds in your area you wish to attract.  You’ll find birdhouse dimensions per species at NestWatch.org.  You can also use this information to make the lists described in the lesson.  You’ll find additional ideas for birdhouses below.
  • Become acquainted with John Burroughs by reading some of his essays on birds.
  • Read Psalm 84 to find the psalmist’s answer to the question:  Why do birds choose the nest sites that they do?  The answer is found in verse 3.
  • Make a gourd birdhouse like the one described at AmishGourds.com.  Or do it the Martha Stewart way.
  • Something to do #1: Read (or re-read) “The Birds of Killingworth” by Longfellow.  First write the poem as prose.  Then make it into a play as suggested.
  • Something to do #2:  Build a birdhouse with this 4-H competition project download at the Alabama Cooperative Extension.
  • Something to do #3: Did you know there was a Bird Day?

    On May 4, 1894, Bird Day was first observed at the initiative of Charles Almanzo Babcock, superintendent of schools in Oil City, Pennsylvania. By 1910, Bird Day was widely celebrated, often in conjunction with Arbor Day. Statewide observances of the two holidays inculcated conservation training and awareness in a broad spectrum of the public, especially school children.

    Library of Congress

    You can read Babcock’s Bird Day: How to Prepare For It which includes the history of Bird Day and teaching ideas.

  • Something to do #4: You’ll find bird identification charts along with observation notebooking pages below.
  • Something to do #5: Check the additional resources below for a variety of bird song resources.
  • Something to do#6:  Maybe you’ll even become as good as the amazing gentleman in the video below!
  • Pick one of the Bible verses listed to memorize and recite.
  • More about birds from the Book of Knowledge:

    Birds are perhaps the easiest wild creatures to attract. They are not too shy of humans, and many seem to prefer living near our homes. Some birds are seed- and fruit-eaters, others feed on insects that infest plants, so a varied vegetation will be best. You may entice a greater number of birds to your plot by adding to the vegetation already growing there.

    To have bird visitors the year around, you should grow those plants that give food in the summer as well as those that produce abundant food in the winter. Specially favored by many birds during the summer are the red and white mulberries, raspberries and blackberries, wild cherry and chokecherry, blueberries, black huckleberry, honeysuckle and shadbush. Fall and winter food plants include the various dogwoods, elders and wild grapes, thicket thorn, Virginia creeper, sassafras, arrowwood, black haw, red cedar, chokeberry, bayberry, hackberry, bearberry and snowberry. Trumpet vines, jewelweed and larkspur attract hummingbirds. Seeds of these plants or the young plants and instructions for planting them may be obtained at your local seed store.

    “Bring Nature to Your Doorstep,” The Book of Knowledge

  • Birds
    Ready to go outdoors? The Handbook of Nature study covers birds beginning on page 27, and continuing through page 143. The beginning pages cover feathers, flight, migration, eyes and ears, beaks, feet, songs of birds, attracting birds, the value of birds; the following material covers the individual types of birds.

 

Further Investigation

Bird Notes
Three downloads at FeederWatch.org that go great with this lesson:

Wild Bird Preferences
Bird feeding chart at Almanac.com.

Common Feeder Birds
Wonderful interactive from FeederWatch.org that helps you know which birds prefer which type of feed and feeder.

 

Activities

NestWatch
Plans for bird house structures at NestWatch.org for nearly every bird! Scroll down, choose the bird you are interested in, enter email addy, and download plans.

Homes and Feeders for Birds and Mammals
37-page download at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources that includes plans, templates, and directions.  We’ve built several birdhouses using their plans. Very helpful!

Activity: Make a Bird FeederActivity: Make a Bird Feeder
Ideas and instructions.

Imitate Bird Calls
Amazing!
(You may want to install an ad blocker before viewing.)

 

Poetry

“The Birds’ Bath” by Evaleen Stein

 

Books

Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America by Roger Tory PetersonFree Nature Studies: Landlord to the Birds
The definitive field guide for beginning birders.

The Bird Study Book by T. Gilbert Pearson
A book by a former secretary of the Audubon Societies written for the beginning student of ornithology.  Includes details of field observation, information on bird nesting habits, bird behavior, making bird sanctuaries (with nesting box dimensions), and how to keep a bird notebook with sample page.  Free and in the public domain.

Free Nature Studies: Landlord to the BirdsThe Backyard Bird Feeder’s Bible: The A-to-Z Guide To Feeders, Seed Mixes, Projects, and Treats by Sally Roth
This family favorite alphabetically covers everything from accessories, accidents and acorns, to wrens and zinnias. Very helpful to those who would like to attract birds.

Free Nature Studies: Landlord to the BirdsThe Complete Book of Birdhouse Construction for Woodworkers by Scott D. Campbell
For those who would like to build their own birdhouses, this book covers complete construction information, matching bird and birdhouse, nesting birds and their requirements, complete detailed design/plan information with dimensions, and placement of birdhouse. Perfect for parents and children to make together!

Free Nature Studies: Landlord to the BirdsBird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song by Les Beletsky
This beautiful book has been a real hit in our home. A photo page with a description of the bird is cross-indexed to its bird song. Unfortunately, this book is increasingly difficult to find…and pricey. Suggest used or the Kindle version.

 

Unit Studies & Lesson Plans

Audubon: A Unit StudyAudubon: A Unit Study
Many, many helpful books, resources and downloads in our Audubon unit including our favorite identification guides, a bird coloring book download from Cornell, and instructions on how to draw birds.

 

Printables & Notebooking Pages

Common Feeder Birds Mini Poster
Free poster from Cornell’s Project FeederWatch. You may also be interested in the one for hummingbirds.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
Free download from HomeschoolNotebooking.com.

Nature Journal Notebooking Sets {Free Download}Nature Journal Notebooking Sets {Free Download}
Free blank nature journal sets for drawing, illustrating, copying, or narrating.

Landlord to the Birds Notebooking Pages
Simple pages for copywork, narrations, and wrapping up.

 

Enjoy the complete series:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World