How could you get more birds to visit a bird feeder?
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How could you get more birds to visit a bird feeder?
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DISCUSS (1 of 4):

Do you think this bird would come to the feeder? Why or why not? Hint: Think about what the bird would like to eat.

American Goldfinch

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DISCUSS (2 of 4):

Do you think this bird would come to the feeder? Why or why not? Hint: Think about what the bird would like to eat.

Red-headed Woodpecker

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DISCUSS (3 of 4):

Do you think this bird would come to the feeder? Why or why not? Hint: Think about what the bird would like to eat.

Wood Duck

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DISCUSS (4 of 4):

Do you think this bird would come to the feeder? Why or why not? Hint: Think about what the bird would like to eat.

Hawk

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DISCUSS:

How do you think this feeder works to attract hummingbirds?

Bird Feeder

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TEACHERS — NEED A NATURAL STOPPING POINT?

Building a prototype bird feeder can take up to 30 more minutes if your class is enthusiastic.

If your time is limited, this is a natural stopping point. You can have students write their names on their worksheets and collect them. You can then build the prototype bird feeders and complete the worksheet during your next science class.

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Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the Exploration & Activity you just completed.
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Discuss: How to Attract Birds

Adding a bird feeder is one way to attract birds. Are there other ways to make a place more attractive to birds? Think about:

  • Plants that provide the birds with food and shelter
  • Sources of water that birds can drink or bathe in
  • Places where birds can hide and sleep

This article from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology will give you many ideas. If you have a school garden, this discussion could even lead to a project you carry out as a class!

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Activity: Feed the Birds

Celebrate Urban Birds project provides great advice on bird feeders. If you’re feeling crafty, they provide instructions for making DIY feeders. If you don’t have time to make a feeder, consider one that sticks to the window with suction cups, like this one.

What kinds of birds are you likely to see at your feeder? Check out this list of common feeder birds, cross referenced by where they live and what they like to eat.

And if you get stumped and can’t tell a crow from a raven or a finch from a sparrow, you aren’t alone. This these tricky bird identification tips will help!

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Readings

These Common-Core-aligned readings are free with registration on ReadWorks. All readings include comprehension questions.

  • Martin's Birdhouse: Encourage your beginning designers with this story about how drawing pictures helps two friends build a birdhouse. (Grade 2)

  • This set of articles will help beginning readers learn more about birds. (Grade 1)

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Books Online

Unite for Literacy provides online books with audio in English and Spanish.

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Videos: Hungry Birds Are Everywhere

See what birds are grabbing for a snack right now at the Wild Birds Unlimited feeder in Ithaca, New York. Below the live feed, you can check out past visitors to the feeder.

Watch toucans and other tropical birds munch on fruit at the Panama Fruit Feeder Cam.

Check out the hummingbirds visiting a feeder at the Tandayapa Bird Lodge in northwest Ecuador.

Food isn’t the only thing that will attract birds. Take a look at who visits this backyard bird bath. How many different kinds of birds do you count?

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Print Prep
Activity Prep

In this Mystery, students investigate which kinds of birds are likely to visit a bird feeder based on what they eat. In the activity, Design a Bird Feeder, students first draw their own bird feeder design to attract a specific type of bird. Then they build a prototype of their bird feeder using available materials.

Preview activity

Number of students:
Paper Hole Punch
1 paper punch per group
Scissors
1 pair per group
Aluminum Foil
6" per student
Dot Stickers
We prefer stickers because they are easier to distribute in a classroom. Tape will also work.
Details
8 stickers per student
Paper Cups (8 oz)
1 cup per student
Paper Plates
1 plate per student
Pipe Cleaners
2 pipe cleaners per student
Skewers
Sharpened pencils will also work.
Details
1 skewer per student
Small Binder Clips (3/4")
Clothespins will also work.
Details
1 clip per student
Bird Feeder Inspiration printout 1 per group
My Bird Feeder printout 1 per student
Prep Instructions

Each student will create their own bird feeder, but we recommend students work in pairs to share ideas. Homeschool students can work on their own.

Check the Recycling Bin

We encourage you to raid your recycling bin for building supplies. You can use materials you find there to substitute or supplement our list of supplies.

Prepare Aluminum Foil and Dot Stickers

Tear aluminum foil into 6” squares so that you have enough for each student.

We suggest providing each student with 8 dot stickers. You can divide these up before class for easier distribution.

Buy Some Bird Seed (Optional)

If you would like to add bird seed to students’ prototype feeders, you'll need to buy a bag. Be warned: spilled bird seed can be messy. Student prototype bird feeders may not be sturdy enough to actually put outside and use.


Engineering Teacher Tip

We created the Bird Feeder Inspiration printout for students who may be stumped or frustrated by the task of making a bird feeder. We suggest letting students first try to come up with ideas on their own, providing these Inspiration printouts only to those who need extra guidance.

Extensions
Download this Mystery to your device so you can play it offline: