During spring migration, many thousands of birds might visit a woodland, field, or wetland near your home. Each and every one of them has their own migration story—the exact journey they made as they flew from wintering grounds in Latin America and the Caribbean to their summer homes in North America, including all the stops they made along the way. These journeys are practically Olympian; birds much smaller than us fly hundreds of thousands of miles in days or weeks, crossing entire oceans or mountain ranges. Then they fly back south just a few months later, only to do the entire loop again the following year.
These journeys are treacherous. Birds face many threats during their migrations. They must stop regularly to eat and rest, and sometimes they stop in places that are polluted. As they fly they outwit predators trying to catch them, and find shelter during dangerous weather like rainstorms. They weave through towns and cities, and sometimes fly straight into glass windows.
Spring migration is not easy. But once birds get to their breeding grounds, they get to find a mate, build a nest, and raise babies. They can find plenty of food for their chicks. And once their chick is old enough to fly, they leave to fly back south on fall migrations.
In this game, written by Audubon New York, follow the journeys of five North American bird species as they leave for their spring migration. Select the bird by clicking on its picture, and then click the arrow to follow its migration story.
Read the stories out loud. As you do, talk about what the bird is experiencing as it finds places to rest and also faces dangers.
Then, your child will write their own bird migration story.
Tell them: Pretend you are a bird migrating along the Flyway you live in. (Complete the Flyway lesson here.) Write a few sentences about your journey, including:
- “I am a . . . ” (which bird species you are);
- “I am migrating because . . .” (the number one reason why you are migrating (to find food));
- “In order to find my way, I . . .” (what you are using to find your way (stars, sun, landmarks, following other bird, magnetite aka compass in head));
- “When I was migrating, I . . . which was very challenging.” (what challenges you faced (storm, city lights, reflection/window collision, predator)).
Then, draw a picture of your bird (it can be based on a real-life bird or your child's invention) and all the things its seen on its journey.
Send a photo of your finished bird story to firstname.lastname@example.org, and post it on Twitter using the hashtag #kidsart and tagging @audubonsociety!
Interactive created by Alex Tomlinson.
Audubon New York’s For the Birds! is a place-based environmental education program that promotes awareness and appreciation of nature through the study of birds. For the Birds! started in New York City in 1997 and provides not only knowledge of local species and habitats, but also encourages a sense of pride in one’s own community and empowers students to take an active interest in protecting their local environment.