Feathered Friends

How should I prepare my students, I’ve never done this before?

I would spend one meeting on each bird’s beak on your 4th or 5th grade list. Look at the beak and talk about why it might be unique. Each beak will correlate to what the bird eats, and might have some other interesting uses for that particular bird

I would spend one meeting on each bird’s feet on your 4th or 5th grade list. Look at the feet and talk about why they might be unique. Each foot will correlate to the habitat the bird lives in, or might have other unique adaptations for your bird.

I would spend one meeting on each bird’s nest and eggs on your 4th or 5th grade list. Look where the nests are located and approximate # of eggs. Look for variations from the norm. For example, a past question asked about great blue heron nests. They are unique in that they nest in colonies in trees – they were the only bird on the list like that.

I would spend one meeting on each bird’s call on your 4th or 5th grade list (and keep reviewing calls up until competition).

I would spend one meeting on each bird’s range map on your 4th or 5th grade list. *Your students will only need to know the range of birds in Michigan, although it is fair game to ask about a bird’s range specifically for Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor will clearly be marked on the range map if we do this. Note, we specifically mentioned some range maps are not what students would expect. Bird that winter here, but fly further north in the summer, as well as birds that migrate through Ann Arbor, so they will not appear on the range map as being here in either winter or summer.

I would spend one meeting looking through other parts of your book – silhouettes in the back and birds of prey silhouettes in the raptor section

I would spend a few lessons reviewing the allaboutbirds.org pages for each bird on your 4th or 5th grade list. Specifically the overview and ID pages for each bird. Pay attention to descriptions about how a bird flies – if it is specifically mentioned, it is probably diagnostic for identification, or flying that way for a specific (neat!) reason.

Go look at the live birds of prey at the Leslie Science Center and check out the bird specimens at UM’s Museum of Natural History.

Do we need to know eggs?
Answer – yes. Egg photos will be shown with a nest photo that will also show the location/habitat of the nest

Did you know Common Loon is on both the Common Birds, and the 4th grade list?
Answer – No. We will move it to the 4th grade list only.

I am one of the coaches for Feathered Friends and just noticed that on the information that was given to the coaches about the Main Food Sources for birds there is a pretty big mistake. Under the 5th grade bird list it says that American Tree Sparrows eat mammals and Barred Owls eat seeds. Oops! That should be fixed and a new list sent out if possible. Thanks!
Thanks for pointing out our “cut and paste” error. The Bird Diet guide has been updated.