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Audubon for Kids!

In many ways every child is born a scientist—exploring their world, leading small experiments, asking questions, searching for answers. That innate curiosity and drive to inquiry is what Rachel Carson, the groundbreaking conservationist and author, called a sense of wonder. “A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement,” she wrote. © “It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood.”

ɋThis page aims to bring together activities from across Audubon’s national network of environmental educators, including the classroom curriculum Audubon Adventures, plus related DIY activities and content from Audubon’s editors. These activities can be done at home or in a yard or park, sometimes with the help of a computer. The goal isn’t to teach a child how to name and identify bird species, but rather to give them space to explore and feel connected to the natural world. If you’re a parent or caretaker, that means you don’t need to worry about your own knowledge of birds or plants. All you need to be is a companion to your child’s curiosity.

“If a child is to keep their inborn sense of wonder, they need the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with them the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in,” Rachel Carson wrote in 1956. M We hope these lessons, which we’ll refresh each week with a new theme, will help you you find awe and inspiration in nature together. Disponible en EspañolTimelapse of a puffin sketchTimelapse of a goldfinch sketch#sketchwithsibleyTimelapse of an owl sketch

Begin your birdy journey


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Get to know birds



illustration of a robin eating a worm

Do you love animals, including wildlife? Then you just might want to get to know the wildlife you probably see every day: birds. There are many special things about birds. For one, they have feathers. No other animal has them. Birds come in an amazing variety of colors and sizes. That’s another special thing about birds—diversity.

How do you describe a bird? You may describe its colors and color pattern, the size and shape of the beak, or what its legs and feet look like. These are called field marks. Field marks are clues that people use to help them identify a bird. When you become comfortable recognizing field mark clues, you can begin to identify specific kinds of birds. So, grab a field guide or open an app, or go outside if you can. When you spot a bird, take a closer look.


Draw a bird with David Sibley
 

You don’t need to go outside to get to know birds: Try drawing them instead. David Sibley, the ornithologist who wrote and illustrated The Sibley Guide to Birds, created a video for Audubon for Kids that shows how to sketch a Black-capped Chickadee—a teeny, acrobatic songbird. Get out a piece of paper and a pencil or crayon and try it yourself! Share your art on Instagram: #SketchWithSibley @audubonsociety.


Learn the lingo
field mark

a characteristic that helps identify a bird, such as color, color pattern, size, tail shape, leg length, size and shape of beak, kind of feet, and so on

wildlife

wild animals living in nature

species

a group of plants or animals that share certain characteristics and are able to breed and reproduce their own kind

diversity

the condition of having many different kinds of things, such as people, plants, and animals

beak

the hard, horny part of a bird’s mouth; also called bill

roost

for birds, to settle down to rest or sleep; a place where birds settle down to rest or sleep


 
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All about owls



illustration of a Great Horned Owl

When it comes to birds, owls are big attention-getters, with their huge eyes, razor-sharp beak, and powerful feet with piercing talons. Their haunting calls echoing through the dark give us chills. Owls are also symbols of wisdom, making them popular characters in ancient myths and modern stories.

Owls are categorized as raptors, or birds of prey. They are predators, and the animals they catch and feed on are prey. In other words, they’re hunters. Their diets range from insects and worms to small mammals, reptiles, fish, crustaceans, and even other birds. Like other raptors—eagles, hawks, falcons, kites—owls grab their prey with their feet. Their hunting skills are enhanced by their keen eyesight, excellent hearing, and special feathers on the edges of their wings for flying silently after unsuspecting prey.



Meet Some Amazing Owls!
 

The John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove is home to fascinating resident owls. These birds are badly injured and unable to survive in the wild, so now they are part of Audubon Pennsylvania's education program. Get to know the owls with Audubon staffers Carrie Barron and Christine Lin in this video series, starting with this episode on owl anatomy. Watch Episode 1 to see an Eastern Screech Owl eat a mouse. Our hosts dissect an owl pellet in Episode 2.


Whoooos who?

Quiz yourself to learn your North American owl species by sight!

Click on an owl’s photo to see the species name on the back.

 

Burrowing Owl

 

Barred Owl

 

Barn Owl

 

Eastern Screech-Owl

 

Great Gray Owl

 

Snowy Owl

 

Great Horned Owl

 

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Photos clockwise from top left: Jolie Gordon, Paul Lesko, Randy Heaton, Robert Strickland, Matt Scott, Ed MacKerrow, John Adolph, Barbara Fleming. All Audubon Photography Awards.

Draw a bird with David Sibley
 

You don’t need to go outside to get to know birds: Try drawing them instead. David Sibley, the ornithologist who wrote and illustrated The Sibley Guide to Birds, created a video for Audubon for Kids that shows how to sketch an Eastern Screech-Owl. Get out a piece of paper and a pencil or crayon and try it yourself! Share your art on Instagram: #SketchWithSibley @audubonsociety.


 
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Birds on the Move



illustration of a Tern in flight

Every year in spring and fall, millions of birds migrate, taking to the air to travel between their summer and winter homes. It’s a relatively short trip for some. Others travel thousands of miles, sometimes flying for days without landing. Different birds use different skills to get where they need to go. Some learn from their parents. Others use landmarks, sound, the sun and stars, or Earth’s magnetic field to find their way.

No matter where you live, birds migrate through or to your neighborhood. They may stay for a short time, stopping to rest and refuel on their way to someplace else. Or your neighborhood may be the destination for certain species, where they will nest and raise their young in spring and summer, or pass the cold months of fall and winter in a warmer climate.


Interactive game!
Learn the lingo
migrate

to relocate from one habitat to another in a regular cycle

flyway

the route birds follow as they migrate

habitat

a place in which an organism is normally able to find the resources it needs for survival

stopover

a place where migratory animals spend time during their migration

navigate

to find the way from one place to another

instinct

the natural behavior of an animal in response to environmental factors or other influences


Draw a bird with David Sibley
 

You don’t need to go outside to get to know birds: Try drawing them instead. David Sibley, the ornithologist who wrote and illustrated The Sibley Guide to Birds, created a video for Audubon for Kids that shows how to sketch an Arctic Tern. Get out a piece of paper and a pencil or crayon and try it yourself! Share your art on Instagram: #SketchWithSibley @audubonsociety.


 
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Plants Are for the Birds!



illustration of a Goldfinch on top of a flower

A healthy habitat with native trees and plants—the ones that have evolved in that place along with the other living things there—is key to making birds feel at home. Plants provide protection from weather and predators, and