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Birds & Migration

We all know that birds can fly, but do birds live in the same place all year? Not all birds migrate, but many birds do, and so do other animals. But what does bird migration mean? Bird migration is when birds move from one place to a different place that's far away.


Educational Video

You can watch the video below to learn more about migratory birds and why they migrate.


Search for Bird Food


Many birds have to go different places so they can find food. Can you pretend that you are a bird and go migrate yourself outside to look for things that birds eat? You can take a bucket or bag with you to collect everything you find! Some birds eat small flowers, berries, and seeds. What can you find outside that you think birds might eat? If you ask your parents, do you think you might have any grains in your kitchen that birds would eat?


After you collect everything, can you separate everything into different piles, and then count how many of each thing you found? I found some things, including 4 flowers and 6 berries and 3 little leaves!


Color the Parts of a Bird

You can download and print the picture below to color the parts of a bird. (you may want to print 5 copies, as you can use the other 4 pictures of the bird for another activity that you'll see soon)

And write the names of the parts too if you can!


Measuring Tape and Migration

In the video, we learned that some birds don't migrate at all, and some migrate short distances, medium distances, and long distances. After doing a lot of research, I found out how tricky it is to know how far birds migrate. For example, some Robins don't migrate at all, some will move just up a mountain, some may fly hundreds of miles a day. But before we go into more of that, let's look at some birds.


Here are four birds: Doves, Robins, Blue Jays, and Arctic Terns. Can you color 4 pictures, so that 1 of each picture looks like the birds below? If you don't have a printer, you can try drawing them first and then color them. (don't draw a background yet because we will do that later, just do the birds!)



Once you have them colored/drawn, let's get a measuring tape and some help from our parents! We will need to see if we can find a place in our house, maybe a big room or a hallway - or maybe we'll have to go through a few room! - that is at least 44 feet long. Here is what we will do:

  1. Doves don't migrate, so keep the the Dove you colored at the start of the measuring tape at 0 feet.

  2. Now, let's say Robins migrate 3,000 miles. Can you find the 3 foot mark on the measuring tape and put the picture of the Robin you made there? (1 foot for each 1000 miles)

  3. Next, let's say Blue Jays migrate 6,000 miles. Can you find the 6 foot mark on the measuring tape? That's where you can put your Blue Jay!

  4. We do know the Arctic Tern migrates 44,000 miles, that is a long distance! Can you find the 44 foot mark on the measuring tape? Take the Arctic Tern with you!


Now let's take a step back and look at how far the Arctic Tern flies compared to the other birds!


Your Birds are Home!

Since your birds have migrated and are at a better place, for now at least, can you draw a background for how warm their new home is? Is the sun out? Are there flowers? Berries? Are they flying? Sitting on eggs? Playing?


Here are some things you can draw for each bird:


  • Doves eat fruits and seeds and can have 1 to 3 eggs.

  • Robins eat worms, insects, snails, and fruit. They have 3 to 5 eggs.

  • Blue Jays eat insets, nuts, seeds and grains. And they can have 2 to 7 eggs!

  • Arctic Terns eat a lot of fish! They can also eat insects and have 1 to 3 eggs.


If you are able to write stories, can you choose a bird you would want to be? What would your migration story of travelling be about? What would you do, see, and eat?


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