How to Incorporate Birding Activities Into Your Homeschool Day

Birding seems to come naturally to families who are used to doing nature study and taking nature walks or hikes together. Do you need help incorporating birding into your homeschool? Audubon birding books and notebooks are a great way to introduce your family to the world of birding.

Birding Activities - How to Incorporate Into Your homeschool Day - picture of birds on a feeder in the winter

What is birding?

The term birding is such a funny word. It may be associated with nerdy people with walking shorts, sun hats, binoculars, telescopes and field guides. Yet those are pretty common items that these birders take with them to make their outings more effective and comfortable.

Birding is the observation of birds in their natural habitat as a hobby. It can be addictive as you start to spot birds and create a bird list of what you have found. You will want to continue to find more and more birds and discover new bird species in the area that you live.

Many birders really make a sport out of it. They begin to buy expensive equipment and even travel to different locations to seek out birds that would not normally be in an area that they live in.

Birding as a sport

Did you know that birding is the most popular sport in North America? Over 60 million Americans have said that they enjoy bird watching at their local parks, state parks, wildlife areas, and in their own backyards.

That is more people than those that play basketball, baseball or football combined! That is a staggering number of people that enjoy the creation that God has given us.

Birding has gotten extremely popular as people seek to connect with the natural world around them and get out in nature and explore. It is easy to get started, and it’s a fast way to make friends and get healthy as you spend the majority of time outdoors birding.

How do you include birding in your homeschool?

When you expose your children to nature on a regular basis, they seem to gravitate toward it.

Before you know it, they are searching for things and seeing birds, animals, and bugs outside that you would normally not pay attention to.

It is very easy to get started with watching birds and identifying them out in the wild.

Here are some great ways to include birding into your homeschool days:

Create a natural habitat for birds in your own backyard.

This is a great way to get started with birding from the comfort of your own home. The best way to attract birds to your backyard is by creating some natural areas in your yard. Your kids will have a lot of fun helping to create a wildlife habitat for birds and animals in their own backyard.

Start with finding some natural resources such as tree branches and logs that you can stack up in an area of the yard. A small open water source such as a pond, or bird bath will help attract birds for drinking and bathing.

Plant shrubs, trees and plants that bear fruit or nuts. Common species that are native to your area will start to appear in your yard and call it home. They may even begin to create nests and lay eggs.

If you have a cat that lives outdoors make sure that you put a collar with bells on it. This will help to keep the birds safe and they will know to fly up and out of the yard when they hear the cat coming.

Attract birds with food

Putting out food is a wonderful way to get birds to come and visit your yard fast. Early morning is a great time to watch for birds as the sun is coming up and everything is waking up. A great place to set out a feeder is by a kitchen window so you can watch the birds during breakfast time.

Make a Bird Feeder

Include your children in creating bird feeders for the birds and turn it into a full-blown learning experience or even a shop class. There are many plans available online for simple bird feeders that you can build yourselves. This would be great for older children that may be interested in learning carpentry skills.

There are even simple kits that you can purchase online and put together yourselves with no extra tools needed. Local home improvement stores sometimes have days where you can come and build pre-made bird house kits or bird feeders for free.

Store Bought Bird Feeders

If you don’t feel like breaking out the tools, you can fill store bought feeders with wild bird seed. You can even create simple treats for the birds by putting peanut butter on pine cones or toilet paper roll tubes, dipping them in bird seed and hanging them in your backyard.

Putting out extra food in the winter months is a great way to attract different species that may only be hanging out during that time of year. If you live in a warmer area you may see new species that have migrated there just for the warmer weather.

If you live where it snows, putting out food for the birds is a nice way to help to feed and provide for them when resources may be scarce.

Take Nature Field Trips

Nature field trips are a great way to expose your children to looking for birds out in the wild.

There are many nature centers that will have photographs and even pamphlets of birds that frequent the area. A nature center is usually attached to a big boardwalk or hiking trail. You can take your nature walk there and look for them in the guides they give you.

Some of the best places to go on a bird walk are at local parks, state parks, nature centers or botanical gardens.

Look for parks that offer guided tours by park rangers. They are usually well versed in the birds in the area and can take you to nests. Many of these have bird observatory towers and even binoculars and telescopes that you can use. Most of these are free as well.

Create a bird life list

A bird life list is a record of the bird sightings you have seen since you began birdwatching. This can be done at home or when you go on nature walks.

Many birders keep a nice journal or notebook to record their sightings in. You can start your kids out with a nice journal that could carry them through adulthood, keeping record of the birds they have seen and identified.

This is a great way to help children learn how to take proper notes for research. They would write down the bird species, how they identified it, the date and location they saw the bird. If you have a child that likes to draw they could create a little sketch of the bird that they saw.

Make sure that the bird has been properly identified either by markings and or sound before recording it on your list.

A bird life list can be broken down into different categories:

  • Backyard Birds – birds that you see on a regular basis in your own yard or neighborhood.
  • State Lists – this would list the birds that can only be found in your state and that you see when traveling within your state.
  • Traveling Lists – you can use this list to keep track of birds that you see when you travel outside of your state.

Include Books and Curriculum

There are so many wonderful nature books and bird books to enrich your knowledge of birds and nature. You can even create a full birding unit study or nature study subject into your homeschool schedule with these books.

Birding Notebook – A Companion to Audubon Birding Adventures For Kids

When you use our Birding Notebook alongside Audubon Birding Adventures For Kids you can create a nice unit study curriculum or science nature study class. The notebook will be a great record to document all the birds you have seen, and what you have learned while going through the book.

Audubon Birding Adventures for Kids is an inexpensive and thorough resource for families that want to get started with birding and are beginners. It was created by the National Audubon Society of North America. Your kids will learn about 25 birds as the book guides you through a birding adventure to learn how to birdwatch. There are also resources for building your own bird feeders, creating a birding club and more.

Our Birding Notebook companion has 129 pages of notebooking and record keeping activities. There are notebooking pages on bird habits, profiles, range maps, bird walk journals, observation records, research pages, birding games, creating habitats and more. Your kids will also enjoy the different bird sketching pages to practice drawing the birds that you see.

Nature Notebook – Companion to Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman

Our Nature Notebook is a wonderful companion to the most loved Nature Anatomy book by Julia Rothman. The notebook makes the book come alive, and it really immerses your children in what they are learning.

Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World is a great reference book for your homeschool library. There is such a wide variety of nature science topics that are included. Your kids will learn about the geography of the Earth, plant life, trees, flowers and leaves, animals, animal habitats, bodies of water and flying creatures, including birds and bird and nest identification.

The Nature Notebook has 171 pages of written narration, labeling and drawing exercises as well as nature art, sketching, and question prompts as you go through Nature Anatomy. The notebook references Nature Anatomy in order and even lists the page numbers.

Though Nature Anatomy is secular, our Nature Notebook is neutral and can be used with any type of worldview. It is designed for grades 3-8, which means that you can use it with different ages at one time. We’ve even had high school students enjoy this series! Make sure you print a notebook for each of your children, so they can customize their very own nature notebook. It will make a beautiful keepsake and a record of all you have studied in the past year.

When you combine Nature Anatomy and the Nature Notebook together you can get a full rounded nature science curriculum unit study for your homeschool.

Free Resources for Bird Studies

Free Printables and Resources About John James Audubon – Learn about John James Audubon through unit studies, artist studies, and online resources.

Audubon Birds Notebooking Journal – Introduce your children to some of the many birds that were painted during Audubon’s life using this fun notebooking journal.

Bird Terms Vocabulary Copywork – Learn some bird terminology with this free copywork notebook printable.

In Conclusion

There are so many fun ways to incorporate birding activities into your homeschool day. The Birding Notebook is a great place to start as it will walk you through birdwalks and how to document your sightings.