How could you get more birds to visit a bird feeder?

How could you get more birds to visit a bird feeder?

Lesson narration:
Scroll for prep
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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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Lesson narration:

Activity Prep

Print Prep

In this lesson, 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
COVID-19 Adaptations
Students can work solo
Digital worksheets available

Students at home
Students need the supplies listed below, or you can have them look in the recycling bin at home for materials to build a bird feeder. Students also need the My Birdfeeder worksheet (printed or digital).

Exploration

27 mins

Wrap-Up

3 mins

Extend this lesson

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