I am preparing our bird study and looking for suggestions as to how to proceed with our study. We have books and feeders. I am trying to teach Citcat to stand quietly at the window to watch the birds. It is bit difficult for a 3 year old to not make sudden movements. Citcat understands that birds lay eggs and make nests. It would be fun to see a quick peek inside a nest of eggs or baby birds. Citcat has an amazing ability to remember birds that she sees in books. She can recognize birds in nature as well but not as many as she can recognize in books. It will be interesting to see her ability unfold as she has a chance to see different birds in nature. We are very lucky to have a host of birds visit our house everyday from titmouse to wrens. Last week, she was so excited to see that the robins had returned. Also, she came running to me and said "mommy what is that big black bird?" I assumed it was a crow but alas it was a grackle. Spring really is approaching. I've never seen a grackle up close. They are quite large and fearsome looking but their blue heads are beautiful.
Here are a few books that we have read about birds. One of my favorite preschool bird books is In the Nest which is published by Usbourne. The author has written several other books that we found useful including Rainy Day and Snowy Day. My Spring Robin is a great early Spring title. It should be more meaningful this Spring than last as we search for daffodils and fiddleheards. Also, the beautifully illustrated book Wild Birds continues to delight us.
For fun we have read Best Nest and Early Bird. Neither of them offer much information but they are so much fun to read. Early Bird is a Richard Scarry book and is a friendly introduction to worms. I have read Best Nest at least 100 times. I once did a whole weekend of bird activities for an organization where I read the book and then made a pine cone bird craft every 20 minutes.
I highly recommend Flute's Journey: The Life of a Wood Thrush. School Library journal recommends it for ages 5-8 which seems about right. It is not a preschool book. Flute's journey is more compelling than the author's more well known work The Great Kapok Tree primarily because our local birds are so dear to me. The story follows a wood thrush from the nest through the migration to Costa Rica and back to a small patch of land in Maryland. The thrush encounters difficulties due to the destruction of its habitat. This story will compel you to want to figure out ways to conserve the environment for the birds. I felt a sadness as I read the story knowing that my home contributed to the destruction of habitat. It might lead you and your child to figure out ways to encourage bird habitat. This book prompted me to look closely at National Wildlife Federation's site about creating a Backyard Wildlife Habitat. I realized that creating a habitat can be a long term educational project. Flute's Journey will be part of our home library and bird study for many years.
I plan to use Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing The Birds and A Nest Full of Eggs as spines for our bird study this summer. I should probably find a field guide with actual photographs. I've been considering the advice from this book that suggests illustrated guides are better for observation of the finer details.
Here is my list of summer bird activities:
Hang string and such around the yard for the bird to make their nest.
Purchase & establish a bird bath.
Plant shrubs and trees for attracting birds.
Play outside and watch for opportunities to see birds.
Spend sometime around the lake looking for birds that stay close to water.
Hang hummingbird feeder.
Return to listening to bird song CD. Learn to recognize a few birds by their song.
I ordered the Burgess Bird Book (Dover edition) but I wish I could find an older version. We have read all the books mentioned above. Are there any others that you recommend? I am also considering some crafts, field trips and park workshops. If you know of anyone who has written a bird study unit on their blog, I would appreciate a link. Just as I was about finish this post I found this site Everything Preschool and their detailed bird unit. So much to read and not enough time. I am off to start our home school day.