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Homeschool Nature Book – Birds, Nests, and Eggs

The book Birds, Nests, and Eggs is the perfect beginner’s book for homeschool nature study. It’s also a wonderful take along guide that features many of the common birds that we see in our yards and neighborhoods.

The book Birds, Nests, and Eggs is the perfect beginner’s book for many of the common birds that we see in our yards and neighborhoods.

Homeschool Nature Book – Birds, Nests, and Eggs

Birds, Nests, and Eggs – Take Along Guide

(Note the link above is an Amazon affiliate link to a book that I own and love.)

The illustrations give a wonderful look at something we don’t often see because they are hidden from sight. The nests are shown in such a way that you can see the shape and what materials are used for creating just the right container for the fragile bird eggs. The eggs are also shown in full color. This is a fun way to learn more about birds and their life cycle. In addition, you’ll find some fun bird related activities to try and to weave into your backyard bird study.

This book is one that we have in our nature book library. I know you’ll enjoy it too! Birds, Nests, and Eggs – Take Along Guide

The book Birds, Nests, and Eggs is the perfect beginner’s book for many of the common birds that we see in our yards and neighborhoods.

More Take-Along Nature Guides for Your Homeschool

When I found my first “Take-Along Guide” at a used book store, I was interested so I purchased it.  But it was later when I began really reading it that I became really interested.

I would recommend reading through your Take-Along Guide before taking off on your nature walk. Then you can put it in your bag and bring with you on your walk and use it to identify things as you go. Read more of the Take-Along Nature Guides for Homeschool.

The book Birds, Nests, and Eggs is the perfect beginner’s book for many of the common birds that we see in our yards and neighborhoods.
The book Birds, Nests, and Eggs is the perfect beginner’s book for many of the common birds that we see in our yards and neighborhoods.

Bird Resources to Use in Your Homeschool Nature Study

Examples of Nests and Eggs: This is a page on the Cornell website that shows actual nests and eggs for many common birds. Spend some time with your children clicking the images and viewing them together.

Nestwatch: This citizen science program is something your family could participate in if you have a nest in your yard. Take a look and see if it’s something you can incorporate into your nature study plans.

Learn About Birds Homeschool Nature Study membership.

Bird Nest Study in our Homeschool Nature Study Membership

You can use notebooking pages in Homeschool Nature Study Membership to complete a bird study that focuses on the nest.

You can find even more bird nature study ideas in the Learning About Birds Outdoor Hour Challenge curriculum. This ebook curriculum is available in annual Homeschool Nature Study membership.

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Homeschool Nature Study: The Chickadee

This homeschool nature study will have you looking at winter birds and in particular the sweet little chickadee.

I consider this particular challenge as a personal lesson/revelation that nature knows no borders. You see when we first started using the Outdoor Hour Challenge and this little bird popped up as the focus of our weekly studies I was disappointed. I live in the UK and we have different birds to those of you in the States. I didn’t think that we would be able to follow along and it was so early on in our nature study days that I did not have the confidence to just find something else on our walk.

As I was gazing out of the dining room window at our bird feeder pondering on my dilemma, who should come along but a coal tit!

They are no stranger to our feeders along with their cousins the great tit, blue tit and those sweet mouse-like birds, the long-tailed tit.

The coal tit looks remarkably similar to the chickadee. After a bit of investigating I discovered that the American Chickadee and the British tits are all in the same genus. Yes, we may live across the pond and have wildlife that is unique to each country but there are similarities and connections.

From that challenge on if it was focussed on an animal or plant unique to the States, I would simply see if we had something similar and go with that. So please be encouraged to do the same whatever country you live in.

Homeschool Nature Study: The Chickadee

Nature Study Lesson Plans for Chickadee Nature Study

Here are some inside preparation ideas for your chickadee nature study:

  1. Read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 68-69 (Lesson 14).
  2. Highlight a few of the questions in the lesson to use during your outdoor time.
  3. Check your bird field guide, using the index to look for chickadees in your area. Share the images with your children.
  4. Younger Children: Read Burgess Bird Book Ch. 37 online or listen to an MP3 recording to hear the chickadee story.
  5. YouTube: Chickadee Documentary and What Do Chickadees Eat? 

Outdoor Hour Time: 

  1. Use some of your outdoor time this week to look for backyard birds. Chickadees should be present during the winter season and are often found at backyard feeders. Remember the questions from the Handbook of Nature Study lesson and gently guide your children to observe the chickadee to find the answers. Chickadees are often seen with nuthatches and downy woodpeckers and are attracted to feeders that offer suet and black oil sunflower seeds.
  2. In areas that do not have chickadees, observe another feeder bird and their habits. Do they sit on the feeder or under the feeder? Which kinds of food do they like? What do they sound like? How big are they? How many of them are at the feeder?

Chickadee Nature Study Homeschool Follow-Up Activity:

  1. Follow-up your outdoor time by pulling out your bird field guide to identify and/or confirm any bird observations. If you saw a chickadee, have your child describe the bird with as much detail as possible. If they have trouble remembering, bring up an image on the computer to help them along.
  2. If desired, allow time for a nature journal entry. Ebook users: Complete a Chickadee notebook page (regular or advanced) or a Winter Feeder Bird notebook page entry to capture the memory of your time outdoors. There is an optional coloring page included in the ebook.
  3. Advanced follow-up: Read Distinguishing Chickadees. Read about Tricky Chickadees (Black-capped and Carolina). Compare two chickadees (notebook page included in the ebook).
Homeschool Nature Study: The Chickadee

Join the Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Nature Study Curriculum and Year Round Support

There are so many benefits to joining. You will access our full range of curriculum, our interactive learning calendar as well as a brand new homeschool nature study challenge post each week!

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Homeschool Bird Study For Different Learning Styles

This homeschool bird study for different learning styles is a wonderful example of how nature study can benefit any child. It allows you to provide a variety of experiences to tap into their natural learning style and complete a bird study all along the way!

Making Nature Study Easy: Adapt to Your Child’s Interests

Are you struggling with making your nature study meaningful for your family? Have your attempts to begin a nature study plan with your children failed because of their bad attitudes or lack of interest? Do you feel like nature study is just another academic subject that you need to check off your list?

You are not alone. I think many of us have tried to make nature study a regular routine in our homeschooling week but ended up throwing in the towel because it was just too hard to get into a rhythm.

Our Different Homeschool Learning Styles

I’m a mom of four children, one daughter and three sons. I found it impossible to make every study interesting for every child when it came to nature study. As a homeschooling mom, I attempted to educate myself in ways to offer subjects to my children that met their needs and interests, strengths, and skills.

I found nature study to be most successful when you allow your children to make connections that are meaningful and fit their style of learning. I was more successful when I offered a variety of activities to appeal in some way to their personal interests. (You can read more about the concept of addressing the various ways we learn here: Multiple Intelligences.)

This homeschool bird study for different learning styles is a great example of how nature study can benefit any child.

Homeschool Bird Study For Different Learning Styles

Here is a specific example of this kind of customized learning for you to think about and adapt to your family with a Homeschool Bird Study For Different Learning Styles:

  • Musical Learner: Enjoys listening to and learning to imitate bird calls. Easily identifies a bird by its call. Writes a song about birds.
  • Verbal-Linguistic: Records a birding experience in a nature journal using words or tells a story about the nature walk. Writes or copies a poem about a bird into their nature journal. Learns the Latin names of birds as well as the common names. Reads the biography of Audubon.
  • Mathematical-Logical: Tallies birds at a feeder. Keeps a running list of birds seen over a period of time in a nature journal. Collects bird feathers and categorizes them into groups. Studies migratory maps and learns where local birds go for the winter. Learns all the state birds. Experiments with different kinds of bird seed to see which ones particular birds like best. Participates in citizen science projects like the Great Backyard Bird Count and Project Feederwatch.
  • Visual-Spatial: Makes a model of a bird from clay. Sketches a bird in their nature journal. Notices the differences between birds: beaks, wing shapes, tail shapes, size. Builds a birdhouse. Designs and builds their own birdfeeder. Constructs a bird blind in order to observe birds.
This homeschool bird study for different learning styles is a great example of how nature study can benefit any child.
  • Kinesthetic: Loves to take a walk and look for birds using binoculars. Climbs a tree to find a bird’s nest or just experience a “bird’s eye” view. Hangs a bird feeder and keeps it full. Plants a bird garden.
  • Interpersonal: Joins a birding group and learns from the more experienced birders about their local area. Volunteers at a bird reserve with a friend. Organizes a field trip to a bird aviary for their co-op.
  • Intrapersonal: Spends quiet time outdoors observing birds, perhaps recording their experiences in their own nature journal that they don’t share with others. Has a pet bird.
  • Naturalist: Enjoys lots of time outdoors looking for birds and learning their life cycles. Learns the names of birds, keeps a bird life list, learns the calls, and keeps a nature journal. Easily remembers the names of birds and their habits. Has a collection of bird’s feathers, bones, and nests.
  • Existential: Learns about endangered species of birds. Spends time contemplating a bird’s life cycle. Keeps a journal of their thoughts about birds and how they fit into the web of life on the earth.

If you’re struggling with deciding what your child’s learning style is, be patient and if all else fails, ask them what they want to do for nature study. You could share some of the ideas in the printable referenced below as a way to introduce new and fresh ideas.

It’s really a case of trial and error until you have it all figured out.

Homeschool Nature Study Membership for All Learning Styles

Specific ideas for adapting nature study are in the printable Multiple Intelligences and Grid Study in the Homeschool Nature Study Membership in the Resources course. Topics covered include mammals, reptiles, wildflowers, astronomy, insects, trees, weather, and invertebrates. This set of pages has ideas for ways to adapt nature study to fit your child’s style of learning.

Try applying the principle of this Homeschool Bird Study For Different Learning Styles to any nature study subject. You’re only limited by your imagination.

This homeschool bird study for different learning styles is a great example of how nature study can benefit any child. Printable included.

 

 

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Great Backyard Bird Count Homeschool Resources: Everything You Need!

Are you ready? Enjoy these Great Backyard Bird Count Homeschool Resources as you watch birds in your backyard this February!

Are you ready? Enjoy these Great Backyard Bird Count Homeschool Resources as you watch birds in your backyard this February!

The Great Backyard Bird Count: An Overview

Let’s start with the basics!

What Is The Great Backyard Bird Count?

Each February, for four days, the world comes together for the love of birds. Over these four days we invite people to spend time in their favorite places watching and counting as many birds as they can find and reporting them to us. These observations help scientists better understand global bird populations before one of their annual migrations.

Birdcount.org

When Is The Great Backyard Bird Count?

Each February. This event has been going strong for 25 years!

Who Can Participate In The Great Backyard Bird Count?

Anyone in the world!

How Can My Family Be A Part Of It?

Count birds in your yard and at your feeders. Report the data to the Great Backyard Bird Count.

Need more information? Visit the Great Backyard Bird Count website for printables and more.

Great Backyard Bird Count Homeschool Resources

 

 

Top Ten Birds Reported in the Great Backyard Bird Count

Great Place to Start for Beginners

 This is a great beginner’s list of birds to know and be able to identify. Use the links above to take a peek at these common birds that may be visitors to your neighborhood. Make sure to scroll down to the “similar species” section for each bird and that will give you additional birds to look for if you don’t have that particular bird in your neighborhood. Also, reading the “Backyard Tips” and “Find This Bird” sections will give you some clues and hints for actually viewing this bird in person.

  1. Northern Cardinal
  2. Mourning Dove
  3. Dark Eyed Junco
  4. Downy Woodpecker
  5. American Crow
  6. House Finch
  7. American Goldfinch
  8. Blue Jay
  9. Black Capped Chickadee
  10. Tufted Titmouse
Are you ready? Enjoy these Great Backyard Bird Count Homeschool Resources as you watch birds in your backyard this February!

Download and save the Cornell Feeder Bird coloring book. This book has many of the most common birds you will see in your backyard and it makes a perfect complement to your family’s bird nature study.

A Homeschool Bird Study with Chalk Pastels by Erin – A chalk pastels bird study with Nana is a wonderful way to introduce bird art lessons in your homeschool. Chalk pastels are perfect for preschoolers to adults. They are super easy to use with no long art supply list needed. You’ll love adding these vibrant birds to your next homeschool nature study or in preparation for the Great Backyard Bird Count!

Are you ready? Enjoy these Great Backyard Bird Count Homeschool Resources as you watch birds in your backyard this February!

The Great Backyard Bird Count Homeschool by Heather – It’s that time of the year when citizen scientists everywhere are gearing up for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). It’s easy to participate and the bird count is a great way to contribute to actual data being used by ornithologists. You can have a Great Backyard Bird Count Homeschool!

All of the birds homeschool nature study resources listed are available as an Outdoor Hour Challenge in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. If you have a membership, you will be able to pull up the Outdoor Hour Challenge curriculum and print any notebook pages, coloring pages, or other printables for your birds nature study.

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

Can you believe all of these bird resources you will find in membership? You will also find a continuing series on bird nature study, bird watching and attracting birds plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for nature study in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. There are 25+ continuing courses with matching Outdoor Hour curriculum that will bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool! In addition, there is an interactive monthly calendar with daily nature study prompt – all at your fingertips!

Our family is going to be counting in the Great Backyard Bird Count! Be sure to share on social media and tag @outdoorhourchallenge on Instagram or Homeschool Nature Study on Facebook with your results too!

Are you ready? Enjoy these Great Backyard Bird Count Homeschool Resources as you watch birds in your backyard this February!

-First published by Barb February 2020 and updated by Tricia January 2022

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The Ultimate List of Birds Homeschool Nature Study Resources Using the Outdoor Hour Challenge

You can enjoy a simple birds homeschool nature study with these resources we have gathered for you to use in your own backyard. It is such a delight to study and learn about these beautiful creatures!

Birds Homeschool Nature Study

This is not required, but it is always good to have some birds homeschool nature study references on hand for your part of the world. Here are some bird resources I have shared about:

Review of Peterson Field Guides for Young Naturalists

Peterson Field Guides for Young Naturalists – What would the world be without birds? Birds are a favorite subject for young children as they spy birds in their yards and at near-by parks. Nurturing a love of birds is easy when you have one or two of Peterson Field Guides for Young Naturalists on hand. These compact field guides are beautifully illustrated and feature many of the birds you can find right outside your own window. They are enjoyable to page through and you will find yourself sharing these books over and over with your family.

It is such a delight to study and learn about these beautiful creatures! You can enjoy a simple birds homeschool nature study with these resources.

Favorite Bird Field Guides and Resources by Tricia – everything from each child choosing a favorite bird to study to bird field guides with bird songs, a window observation feeder and a suet recipe.

John James Audubon quote and bird chalk pastel art lessons.

A Homeschool Bird Study with Chalk Pastels by Erin – A chalk pastels bird study with Nana is a wonderful way to introduce bird art lessons in your homeschool. Chalk pastels are perfect for preschoolers to adults. They are super easy to use with no long art supply list needed. You’ll love adding these vibrant birds to your next homeschool nature study or in preparation for the Great Backyard Bird Count!

The Great Backyard Bird Count Homeschool by Heather – It’s that time of the year when citizen scientists everywhere are gearing up for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). It’s easy to participate and the bird count is a great way to contribute to actual data being used by ornithologists. You can have a Great Backyard Bird Count Homeschool!

Bird Study Outdoor Hour Challenges in Homeschool Nature Study Membership

All of the birds homeschool nature study resources listed are available as an Outdoor Hour Challenge in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. If you have a membership, you will be able to pull up the Outdoor Hour Challenge curriculum and print any notebook pages, coloring pages, or other printables for your birds nature study.

Birds course Handbook of Nature Study Outdoor Hour Homeschool Curriculum
  • Autumn Bird
  • Winter Bird and Migration – Winter Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Winter Birds – Winter Wednesday Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Spring Bird Bird Song –  Spring Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • American Dipper – Bird Set #1 Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Baltimore Oriole – Summer Nature Study Continues
  • Belted Kingfisher – Autumn Nature Study Continues
  • Catbird – Autumn Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Chickadee – More Nature Study Winter Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Chicken – Autumn Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Clark’s Nutcracker – Bird Set #1
  • Common Raven – Forest Fun Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Crane- Bird Set #1
  • Egret – Bird Set #1
  • Flicker –Winter Nature Study Continues
  • Goose – Autumn Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Hawks – Autumn Nature Study Continues Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Horned Lark – Bird Set #1
  • House Sparrow – More Nature Study Autumn
It is such a delight to study and learn about these beautiful creatures! You can enjoy a simple birds homeschool nature study with these resources.
  • Hummingbirds and Nests – More Nature Study Summer
  • Magpie – Bird Set #1
  • Owl and Owl Pellets – Summer Outdoor Hour curriculum
  • Owl Study and Printable Notebook Page
  • Pelican – Bird Set #1
  • Quail – Forest Fun
  • Robin – More Nature Study Spring
  • Sandhill Crane – Bird Set #1
  • Sapsucker – Autumn
  • Snipe – Bird Set #1
  • Starlings
  • Swallows – Autumn
  • Swan – Bird Set #1
  • Turkey – Autumn
  • Western Tanager – Forest Fun
  • Woodpeckers

This collection of Outdoor Hour Challenges features an incredibly interesting group of birds: pelican, sandhill crane, Clark’s nutcracker, egret, American dipper, horned lark, magpie, swan, and snipe.

Learning all about birds Handbook of Nature Study Outdoor Hour Homeschool Curriculum

This Homeschool Nature Study Course is a collection of the Birds By Color series with custom notebooking pages, clear images, and lots of links and resources for you to use in your bird nature study. You can access this book by purchasing an Ultimate or Journey level membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study website.

 Studying Birds By Color

  • Red Birds – Robins, Cardinals, House Finches
  • Blue Birds – Jays and Bluebirds
  • Yellow Birds – Goldfinches and Meadowlarks
  • Hummingbirds – Flight
  • Brown Birds – House Sparrows, House Wrens, and mourning Doves
  • Black Birds – Crow, Red-Winged Blackbird, Starling, and Cowbird
  • Black and White Birds – Woodpecker, Chickadee, Nuthatch, Towhee
  • Gray Birds – Pigeon and Mockingbird
It is such a delight to study and learn about these beautiful creatures! You can enjoy a simple birds homeschool nature study with these resources.

Follow our Bird Nature Study Pinterest Board!

Even More Misc. Bird Study Ideas

We encourage you to take a closer look at these bird study ideas:

  • Feet
  • Flight
  • Eyes and Ears
  • Beaks
  • Feathers
  • Wing and Tail Shape
  • Starting a Bird Life List
  • 10 Ideas for Keeping a Bird Life List
  • Birding By Ear
  • Bird Study and Nature Table Printable
  • Bird Field Guide Cards Printable

Additional Homeschool Nature Study You May Find Helpful

Join the Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support!

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

Can you believe all of these bird resources you will find in membership? You will also find a continuing series on bird nature study, bird watching and attracting birds plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for nature study in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. There are 25+ continuing courses with matching Outdoor Hour curriculum that will bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool! In addition, there is an interactive monthly calendar with daily nature study prompt – all at your fingertips!

-First published by Barb January 2011 and updated by Tricia January 2022

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Birdwatching 101 Attracting Birds To Your Yard

Here you will find all sorts of ideas for attracting birds to your yard for homeschool nature study and birdwatching without ever leaving your backyard.

Here you will find all sorts of ideas for attracting birds to your yard for homeschool nature study and birdwatching. We love to watch birds and do so on a regular basis without ever leaving our backyard. We can watch from our window or our deck and see usually around 4-5 different kinds of birds each day. At sometimes of the year, we have a lot more than that and it is exciting to see a new kind in the feeders.

Birdwatching 101 Attracting Birds to Your Yard

Here are some ideas for attracting birds to your yard.

Here you will find all sorts of ideas for attracting birds to your yard for homeschool nature study and birdwatching without ever leaving your backyard.

Homeschool Nature Study with a Variety of Bird Feeders

  • Try a variety of bird feeders. We made most of ours from scraps around the house and my boys love to hammer a nail and saw boards so this is a great project with a little supervision.
  • We have some that are called platform feeders. The birds actually land on the feeder and eat from the seed in the tray. We have scrub jays (blue jays), tit mouses, towhees, dark eyed juncos, and house sparrows in these feeders.
  • The second kind of feeders are the hopper kind of feeders where the bird lands on the perches and eat from holes in the sides of the feeders. Birds like house finches, goldfinches, and house sparrows like these types of feeders.
Hummingbird homeschool nature study ideas.

Attracting Birds with a Homeschool Nature Garden

Now for the more “natural” way to attract birds to your yard with a garden. We have chosen some plants for our garden area that seem to attract birds…especially hummingbirds. We planted butterfly bushes and trumpet vines on our arbor to attract butterflies but they seem to attract more hummingbirds. I am not complaining because they are beautiful and I say the more the merrier.

We have several varieties of sunflowers in our garden. Both planted with seed and those that came up from our feeder spillage. The yellow finches seem to like to eat the whole leaf of the the sunflower leaving just a little skeleton for us to look at.

We also have a fig tree in our yard and the scrub jays love to sit and peck at the fruit for an evening meal. They make a big mess but I’m glad someone is eating the figs.

So hopefully that gives you at least an idea of how to attract some birds to your own yard so that you can enjoy birdwatching from your window or backyard.

You may also be interested in visiting my page on feeding birds in winter….which would also apply at other times of the year as well: How To Feed Birds

And don’t miss our Ultimate List of Birds Homeschool Nature Study Resources Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges too!

Join Our Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

You will find a continuing series on bird nature study, bird watching and attracting birds plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for nature study in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. There are 25+ continuing courses with matching Outdoor Hour curriculum that will bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool! In addition, there is an interactive monthly calendar with daily nature study prompt – all at your fingertips!

-First published by Barb May 2008. Updated January 2022 by Tricia.

Here you will find all sorts of ideas for attracting birds to your yard for homeschool nature study and birdwatching with bird feeders and garden plants.
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Winter Bird Homeschool Nature Study: Your Resident Winter Birds

Winter bird-watching can be rewarding! Even when the landscape is covered in snow or ice or mud, there are always birds that will come to visit if you create a little bird-friendly habitat with some seeds, suet, and freshwater. You can observe birds right from your window if the weather isn’t friendly. Or, if you have the right conditions, take a bird walk in a nearby wood. Winter is an amazing time to stroll your neighborhood looking for resident or visiting birds.

OHC Winter Bird Study – Looking at your resident winter birds.

This Week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge: Winter Bird Study

In addition to just enjoying your local birds, this week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge helps you to learn a little bit about bird migration using the information in the Handbook of Nature Study and a couple of online resources. Click over to the original challenge and see how easy this nature study can be for your family.

I’m enjoying Project Feederwatch which helps keep me motivated to look for birds at my own feeder. Use this challenge as a way to motivate your family to look for birds during the winter months.

Winter Bird Nature Study Handbook of Nature Study pages 35-37

Make sure to note the links and additional resources suggested for your tree study.

Check the Handbook of Nature Study index for the bird you observe this week or use the bird tab at the top of my website to see if there is an archived Outdoor Hour Challenge for you to use in your study.

Winter Bird Nature Study Handbook of Nature Study pages 35-37

Additional Ideas For Homeschool Bird Study

Download and save the Cornell Feeder Bird coloring book. This book has many of the most common birds you will see in your backyard and it makes a perfect complement to your family’s bird nature study.

Earlier this year I wrote about the book Birds, Nests, and Eggs as part of the Nature Book Club. You may wish to click over and read that entry and use the printables available in that entry for additional study.

OHC Winter Bird Study – Looking at your resident winter birds.

Please note this challenge is found in the Winter Series course available to our members. Log into your membership to download the Handbook of Nature Study Winter curriculum. There is a custom notebook page for this challenge included in the nature curriculum.

You can find even more winter bird nature study ideas in the Learning About Birds curriculum from the Outdoor Hour Challenge. This nature curriculum is available in membership.

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership

Our nature members have access to all the curriculum books, an interactive calendar and a brand new, weekly Outdoor Hour Challenge post each week.

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Connect With Our Homeschool Community On Social Media

Did you enjoy this Outdoor Hour Challenge? Be sure to tag us on Instagram @outdoorhourchallenge and use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge so we can see and comment!

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Taking Your Homeschool Winter Nature Study Indoors

Taking your winter nature studies indoors when the weather outdoors is proving to be a challenge may be just the thing you need every once in a while. We have a lovely post from the archives to inspire your homeschool nature studies indoors for those days that you can’t face getting outdoors.

Taking Your Winter Nature Studies Indoors

I knew as I posted the challenges each of the last few weeks that there were families who were buried under snow already and those that have really cold temperatures to deal with. I received a personal email from several of you letting me know that you are suspending your Outdoor Hour Challenge (OHC) participation until spring and it made me a little sad. I have been thinking hard about how to help you to keep up a system of nature study while you are living a more indoor centered life until the temperatures warm up.

Taking your winter nature study indoors

Believe it or not, although my photos are not showing it, we are experiencing cold temperatures here in Northern California. I know that in perspective that they are not as cold as some parts of the world right now but still we have had ice and frost every morning this week and yesterday on our afternoon hike it was 37 degrees. My nose and ears were cold because I took off down the trail without my knit hat. We occasionally will get snow that lasts a few days which is just enough to make it fun and not a chore. I share all this so you don’t think of me as sitting outside in my shorts in the sun under a palm tree just because I live in California.

What can you do to bring a little nature study time to a cold winter’s day?

Long lists of nature study ideas always seem to overwhelm me so I thought I would share just a few really *great* ideas that could get you started in taking your winter nature studies indoors.

  • Hang a bird feeder outside a window where you can sit inside and look out at your daily feathered visitors. A simple seed or suet feeder outside your window will bring years of enjoyment as you get to know and learn about your local birds.
  • Keep a window sill garden. One of our OHC families wrote about their window sill garden, its a great and inexpensive way to enjoy nature.
Taking Your Winter Nature Studies Indoors Keeping a Window Sill Garden

Here is her photo of their window area. Doesn’t it look inviting and make you really want to take a minute to not only look out the window but also take a peek at the plants? They would make great subjects for a nature journal as well. Thanks to Mama Stories for letting me use her photo.

  • Grow a Tabletop Garden. Last year a lot of families tried an indoor gardening project and had great success. It is something easy and inexpensive and so interesting to grow. I was thinking that it was about time to plant another dish garden using root vegetables.Here are the instructions and photos at Hearts and Trees – Tabletop Garden Instructions and Notebook page

This is a really easy project even for little ones to manage. The results are fantastic and will brighten up a winter day for sure. Here is what the tabletop garden looks like after it starts growing. Update #2

This was our tabletop garden last year and it always cheered me up to take a minute to view its progress. We had great results even in this not so very bright window, in a room where we don’t keep the temperature very warm. Things to learn about: roots, leaves, and then eventually flowers. Grow the garden and keep up the notebook pages and you will bring a little nature study into your winter.

  • Another activity that we do around here is to play nature journal catch-up when the weather is too cold or wet to go outside. Items that we have on our nature shelf can be brought to the table and sketched or painted into the nature journal on a long winter’s afternoon. Many times this activity will spark a memory or a question that we had that we never took the time to research before. This is a perfect time to dig a little deeper into subjects that interest your child. A stop at the library the next time you are out running errands can provide the opportunity to look for books on the birds, trees, and wildflowers of summer.
  • Plan next summer’s garden. Okay, I admit it. I love gardening catalogues. One favorite winter nature-related activity that we do in our home is plan next summer’s garden. Browsing and dreaming over the seed and garden catalogs warms your heart in a way that brings optimism and hope during a bitterly cold day. The promise of a garden full of green things can help pass the time as you stare at the starkness of a winter’s scene out your window. Sketch the garden out on paper with colored pencils. Ask your children to participate. Designate one catalog as the cutting catalog and let the children cut the photos of flowers and veggies out and glue them to paper.

My favorites: Burpee, Park Seed, and Pinetree Garden Seeds.

I have in mind a whole new idea for a summer’s garden. It was sparked by this family’s idea and blog entry at Understanding Charlotte. Make sure to pop over to her blog and view her photos of how they brought nature study up close during the summer. This is such a great way to attract nature right up to your window. This idea could be started next spring and kept going for next winter as well. Many times if we just leave plants in the ground over the winter, creatures find a way to use them. I still have sunflowers…very dead sunflowers….in my garden but they provide food and shelter for visiting birds. I think this is such a great concept for families that have limited space or need to contain their garden in pots on a patio. You can use your imagination and plan your own window accessible garden for next spring and summer and winter.

  • Last but not least, don’t minimize the power of a quick walk outdoors if the weather cooperates. Seize a few moments each week to step outdoors even if you are bundled up and initially not excited about the thought of getting cold on purpose.

One of my favorite moments in the winter are those few minutes after the snow stops and everything is covered in whiteness. The stillness and quiet of that moment are priceless in our modern world. It is as if everything has stood still and you can capture the clean white slate that snow gives…even in the city or in a neighborhood.

The time before all the kids head out to play and enjoy the winter games of childhood is one of the gifts of winter. As an adult don’t forget the delight you had as a child when it snowed. Muster up some enthusiasm and view the winter weather from your child’s point of view. It can seem like a miracle to them.

“There is enough to see outside in winter to satisfy any poet. In fact, winter may be even better because there aren’t so many things going on in nature that they crowd each other out. It’s easier to notice what’s there.”
Charlotte Mason volume 1, page 86

If you are buried under a blanket of snow which makes getting outdoors a challenge, then consider taking your winter nature studies indoors.

Join the Homeschool Nature Study Membership For Helpful Tips Year Round

We have an exciting winter nature study program planned for the balance of our winter Outdoor Hour Challenges during January and February full of more simple ideas to spark your family’s love for nature at this very challenging time of the year. Plenty of ideas for taking your winter nature studies indoors!

These plans are available right now for our members along with a nature study calendar full of links to explore. Both these are exclusive to our membership so if you are not yet a member please do consider joining our Outdoor Hour Challenge membership…we would love to have you become part of the family.

An image showing the full collection of Nature Study courses

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Did you enjoy this Outdoor Hour Challenge? Be sure to tag us on Instagram @outdoorhourchallenge and use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge so we can see and comment!

Winter Nature Study Resources

Here are some of our favorite resources for winter nature study!

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Brand New! Outdoor Hour Challenge: Magpie Bird Nature Study

Brand New! Outdoor Hour Challenge

Magpie Bird Nature Study

Magpie nature study week! Once you identify a magpie, you’ll never have trouble spotting it again. It has such a beautiful color pattern, and the tail is very distinct. This makes the magpie a perfect bird to study even with very young children.

The Outdoor Hour Challenge this week is officially the black-billed magpie but some of you might need to also look up information on the yellow-billed magpie.

Outdoor Hour Challenge magpie

Take some time to prepare for your magpie study by clicking the links below:

  • Make sure to look at the range maps in a field guide or on All About Birds to determine if you might spot a magpie in your area.
  • Here are some videos for you to watch in preparation: Magpie Song and Magpie Colors.

Please note that I will not be posting the complete challenge here on the blog, but you will find the detailed challenge in the Bird Nature Study Set #1 ebook that’s available both in the Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level memberships. Sign into your account and download the ebook for the details, more links, and notebook pages.

Bird Set ebook cover image

Birds included in this ebook include the pelican, sandhill crane, Clark’s nutcracker, egret, American dipper, horned lark, magpie, swan, and snipe.

Download a sample of the book here: Bird Nature Study Set #1 Sample

To purchase an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership, click on over to the Join Us page at any time.

Learning About Birds 3D cover

You may wish to also download and use the Learning About Birds ebook available in the Ultimate Naturalist Library.

Learning About Birds ebook Bird List @handbookofnaturestudy

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Great Backyard Bird Count Results from Central Oregon

Great Backyard Bird Count

Results from Central Oregon

February 12-14, 2021

We had a fun time counting birds for the project even though we had snow two of the three days and temperatures down into the teens. We had far fewer birds than the last two years. 2021 has turned out to be a surprising year of crazy ups and downs as far as the weather here in Central Oregon. I think this influenced the bird count.

Eurasian collared dove   5

Mourning dove                 3

Downy woodpecker       1

Hairy woodpecker           1

Mountain chickadee       6

Pygmy nuthatch               3

House finch                        11

Dark-eyed junco               3

Northern flicker                1

Song sparrow                     1

Common raven                 1

Here’s a video sharing the GBBC’s results for 2021.

You can read the results and see more images at this link: Great Backyard Bird Count 2021 Results.

 Did you count birds? Anything exciting show up to be included in your count?