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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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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Goldfinches and Meadowlarks


Outdoor Hour Challenge

 Yellow Birds – Goldfinches and Meadowlarks

From the Archives and from the Learning About Birds ebook

Use the links above to find out more information for the birds included in this Outdoor Hour Challenge. You’ll find links to listen to each of these bird’s beautiful songs and I highly recommend that you listen to each one carefully for future reference. Also, there’s a link to a free bird coloring book that many families have found helpful in their bird nature study as a follow up to viewing each bird.

In our area, we have several kinds of finches to observe as the season warms up, so we’ll be learning about finches in preparation of their arrival at our feeders.

goldfinch in feeder

Do you have American goldfinches, Lesser goldfinches or both in your feeders?




Learning About Birds 3D cover

This yellow bird challenge is from the Learning About Birds ebook here on the Handbook of Nature Study. It’s found in the Ultimate and Journey level memberships for you to download and use with your family. If you would like to gain access to this ebook, you can purchase a membership now and have instant access.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

Use the discount code BIRDLOVER5 for $5 off an Ultimate Naturalist Membership.

Practical Homeschool Reader Award 2018 border

The Outdoor Hour Challenge tied for second place in the Elementary Science category in the Practical Homeschooling Reader Awards!

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Perfect Winter Hike – Looking for Color

Just another day of perfect December hiking and taking in the challenge to find some color. Our winter nature study is shaping up to look more like fall….warm temperatures and dry, dry, dry. We looked at each other after lunch today and everyone was in agreement. We needed to be outside.

I quickly filled the backpack with water, snacks, and camera then we were out the door. The parking lot at the trailhead was about half full of vehicles and most of those were trucks with horse trailers, a few with bike racks. We opted to hike since the Kona dog wanted to take a swim at the river. It was that warm.

Cronan Ranch Trail
The trail starts off on a downward slope and if you look in the distance you can see our landmark “lollipop” tree (farthest hill with a single tree). We aim for that tree and know that the river is somewhere over there. It is an easy hike with several trail options. We took the Long Valley Trail down to the river and the South Fork Trail back up.

Goldfinches in the Winter weeds
Along one section of the trail we observed lots and lots of goldfinches having a seed feast. Amazing yellow color in real life…our first real color of the hike. We also stopped to observe another little bird who sat on the cattails in the ditch. It was a new bird and we took the time to really look with the binoculars, noting shape, size, color, eye-stripe, beak shape, tail shape, and song. (We identified back at home as a Bewick’s Wren=new to our life list!)

South Fork View
The river was running high and we had the place to ourselves, except for some barn swallows swooping overhead and a couple of fellow travelers on horses. This is a gorgeous section of the river all lined with oaks in the winter sunshine.

Kona Swimming American River
Kona took a swim right off the bat and I decided to rest on the rock overlooking the river. She splashed and retrieved sticks for the next half hour. One man in a canoe and one woman in a kayak went past. I was happy to be dry up on my rock but I waved a friendly wave as they floated past.
South Fork American River
I soaked in the sun, watching the water rush by, and contemplated the beauty.

I was grateful. My heart felt refreshed or maybe just cleansed of the everyday.

South Fork American River
The view from my rock spot was enjoyable and it is easy to get lost in your thoughts as the water rushes by you. So much power and so much potential…wondering where the water will end up at the end of its river journey. I even thought for a few minutes about the rocks just under the surface of the water, the rocks the kayaker succeeded in navigating around on her trip down the river. We all need to know where the rocks are.

River Rock and Leaf

Here is my favorite image of the day showing the winter color of my world. The shore of the river is always changing but these multi-colored rocks keep the river from eroding the banks away except in the highest storm waters. What are your favorite colors found in the rocks? The green? The pinkish orange? The speckled? The white? I put one in my pocket and now it is sitting on my shelf as a reminder of my winter color walk afternoon to the river.

American River Swim
We had to drag Kona away from her beloved stick fetching and started back up the hill towards home. Along the way we watched two birds in flight over the rolling hills…stopping to hover over some prey. We used the binoculars but were unable to really identify this second new bird of the day. We noted behavior, wing shape, size, color. At home we identified this new bird as the White Tailed Kite.  How exciting is that?

It was a very good day.

December Nature Journal in Progress

My December nature journal entry in progress…notes and things I want to remember about this month….to be continued as the month rolls along.

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Spring Cattail Nature Study and Voles…Oh My!

Cattails in Spring

Our Cattail Adventure- Spring Cattail Outdoor Hour Challenge

I already hinted about our cattail spot….the one that was cut down and cleaned out. We were a little disappointed but not discouraged. We have two others places to check but one has so much water right now because we have had heavy rains. Eight inches from Thursday to this morning….crazy wet! The boys were upset about the cattails being cut down but there is hope if you look at the photo below.

Spring Cattail Spot 1

We are going to watch this spot to see if those little baby cattails will fill in the creek area like they were before. It will be interesting to see how long it takes to have another batch of cattails to observe. If you haven’t seen Creation Wiki yet, give this LINK a try to read more about cattails.

Cattail Nature Journal
Watercolor pencils, background semi-moist watercolor, Prismacolor Pen

On another note…

Vole Tunnels

We came across something that was interesting. Our retaining wall had started to fall over and Mr. A helped me fix it but in the process we realized the problem was caused by a system of vole tunnels directly underneath the cement blocks. The wall is right near the birdfeeder (find the green in the photo and then you will see the post) and the voles are tunneling up underneath…in fact there was a hole earlier in the year that came up directly under the hanging feeder and the spilled seed just went down the hole, a very convenient set-up for the vole. Not sure how to solve the problem but we got the wall back up and we will see how long it lasts.

How about a couple pretty images to end this entry?

Goldfinch 2

We have had quite a variety of birds at our feeders during the month of March…lots of Lesser goldfinches, even in the cold snowy weather we had last week.I am keeping a list of our birds observed for the month to post on Heather’s Tweet and See.

Goldfinch 1

They are one of my favorite feeder birds right now and I cannot stop taking photos of them.

We are going to have an on-going study of cattails again this year because I think we can glean some new information for our nature journals.One thing we will research is how they reproduce and how the seeds are spread…..which we sort of know a little about already but we want to have some concrete facts to include in a future journal entry.

Hope you have a chance to check out your cattails soon!

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My Fine Feathered Friends and Those With Bushy Tails

Tweet and See button

It’s been a week for the birds…..

Finch 3
Who are you looking at?
Finch 4
Camera shy…or is this his better side?
Finch 5
Me and My Gal!
Snow Day Goldfinch
Who you callin’ yellow?
Finch 2
Playing Statue.
American Robin in the Tree
Puffed Up With Pride….King of the Tree…Lord of the Flock.
Finch in the Blossoms 1
Snacking on the Pink Stuff.

Now on to the furry friends…

Gray Squirrel in the Tree
Gray squirrel, gray squirrel, swish your bushy tail.
Fox Squirrel on the Road
Late for the fun…snow storm slowed me down…just a little.

“Where have you seen a squirrel? Does the squirrel trot along or leap when running on the ground? Does it run straight ahead or stop at intervals for observations? How does it look? How does it act when looking to see of the coast is clear?” Handbook of Nature Study, page 236.

If you have a squirrel to observe, I highly recommend looking at Lesson 57 in the Handbook of Nature Study. There are quite a number of questions to answer and to record in your nature journal. In this section Anna Botsford Comstock also gives the account of “Furry” their pet squirrel in journal style that you might like to read for fun to your children.

Hope you enjoyed taking a look at my friends.

House Finch ID

Goldfinch ID

As part of Tweet and See, here is our list of February 2011 birds observed for the month:

  1. Mourning dove
  2. Acorn woodpecker
  3. Nuttall’s woodpecker
  4. Northern flicker
  5. Oak titmouse
  6. White-breasted nuthatch
  7. American robin
  8. Cedar waxwing
  9. Spotted towhee
  10. California towhee
  11. White-crowned sparrow
  12. Dark-eyed junco
  13. House finch
  14. House sparrow
  15. Canada goose
  16. Western scrub jay
  17. Anna hummingbird
  18. Lesser goldfinch
  19. Red-shouldered hawk
  20. American crow
  21. Brewer’s blackbird
  22. Turkey vulture
  23. Rock pigeon
  24. California quail

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GBBC and Birdzilla and Our Enthusiasm

Birds flying
Our “squirrel-proof” birdfeeder is very popular with the finches and sparrows.

The excitement for the Great Backyard Bird Count mounted last week all over the blogging world, especially among homeschoolers. I could feel it here at the Handbook of Nature Study as so many families prepared to participate. Birdzilla was the talk of the bird blogs….check it out for your state.

Little bird big seed
Black oil sunflower seeds are the seed of choice at our feeders. You can read some more tips HERE.

Our family has been a long time fan of the GBBC but the enthusiasm I felt became a little contagious as the boys helped me count birds most of Friday afternoon from our windows, watching our feeders and trees. Much to our surprise, the day before it had snowed so Friday was cold and there were patches of snow on the ground. The birds didn’t seem to mind.

Friday’s Count:
American robins – 5
Mourning doves – 2
Acorn woodpeckers – 2 (tapping on the side of our house!)
Nuttall’s woodpecker – 1
Norther flicker – 1 (he has become a regular visitor to our back grass)
Oak titmouse – 1
White-breasted nuthatch – 1
Spotted towhee – 5
California towhee – 2
White-crowned sparrow – 14
Dark-eyed junco – 15
House finch – 5
House sparrow – 5
Cedar waxwing – 57

Cedar Waxwings 2 18 11
Cedar Waxwings

Yes, we saw fifty-seven cedar waxwings and it was the spot of the day. Here is the story. We were about to finish up our counting and I said to one of my boys that I was disappointed that we didn’t see any cedar waxwings. We changed windows for a last look and honestly….a flock flew into the tree in our neighbor’s yard at that very moment. It was amazing. I truly would have been satisfied to have seen the flicker again but the cedar waxwings made the whole thing perfect.

American Robin in the Snow

We woke to snow on the ground again on Saturday and I was up early looking out the windows. The bird spotting of the day was to see the robins sitting in the snow-filled tree outside our window.There were a dozen of them sitting in the frozen morning world, quiet and still.

CA Tohwee on branch
California Towhee

The snow melted quickly and we had another bird filled day. We counted at our feeders again but when we went on our afternoon walk we heard and then spotted a red-tailed hawk flying high over our heads. I felt like he appeared just for us. Thanks Mr. Red-Tail.

Scrub jay in the feeder

The only other bird we added to our list for Saturday was the Western Scrub Jay. He can be a very aggressive bird but isn’t he pretty in the morning sunshine? The Western Scrub Jay’s brilliant color almost makes up for not having any cardinals in our part of the world. Almost. The rest of the numbers were higher for most of our regular visitors on Saturday since the weather was actually quite nice by the afternoon hours.

GBBC buttonIt is not too late to join in the fun and you can spend as little as fifteen minutes looking for birds if that is all you can spare. Read more about the Great Backyard Bird Count and share your list with the Outdoor Hour Challenge too!

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Meet My New Friends-The Goldfinches

Lesser Goldfinch 1

We have had a hard time attracting goldfinches to our yard. We tried thistle feeders before but the goldfinches never came. I decided two weeks ago to try again and this time….they arrived right outside my window!

Lesser Goldfinch 2
I can’t tell you how thrilled we were to see them in the feeder, lined up along the branches, and sitting in the top of the tree. Their bright yellow color is amazing to see flash across the yard and their sweet little song is so beautiful coming in the windows.

Lesser Goldfinch 4
Mr. B came in yesterday with a gift for me.

Lesser Goldfinch feather
He found a goldfinch feather under the feeder and brought it in for me to see. Doesn’t it look as if someone dipped the tip in yellow paint?

This is going in my nature journal! We found the goldfinch in the Handbook of Nature Study and now we are going to read up on them and do some of the suggestions in Lesson 10.

“Goldfinches are seen at their best in late summer or September, when they appear in flocks wherever the thistle seeds are found in abundance.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 57

Hopefully they are here for awhile so we can get our fill of finches.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge-Birds: Meadowlarks and Goldfinches

Outdoor Hour Challenge Birds #3
Goldfinch and Meadowlark (Western and Eastern)

Inside preparation work:
1. Read the Handbook of Nature Study pages 29-33 about feathers. Another great link is found here: Feather Structure. Here is another link to Bird Wing Shapes.

2. Read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 53-57 about the goldfinch.

3. Read the Handbook of Nature Study pages 80-82 about the meadowlark.

4. Backyard Birds: Read aloud with your child pages 16-19. Use the illustrations to point out the field marks for each bird and for the goldfinch, the differences between the male and female birds.

5. Peterson Field Guide: Make note of the wing and tail shape illustrations on pages 18 and 19(W) 24 and 25(E) Look up in the index the goldfinch and the meadowlark. Observe the illustrations carefully and read the narrative descriptions and explanations. Notice the beak, the tail, and the wing shape for future reference. (See links at the bottom of the post for the particulars on these field guides.)

Outdoor Hour Time
Practice your quiet observation skills for at least part of your 10-15 minutes of birding time. Remember the focus from challenge two and make special note of the shape of the beak and the way the bird uses it. Also, make note of the wing and tail shapes of any birds that you observe during this challenge.

Shape of the tail: Square tip? Rounded? Pointed? Notched?
Shape of the wing: Rounded? Pointed? Slim? Long? Short?

Sometimes a bird’s wings and tail look differently when they fly. Observe a bird during flight to see if you can notice different colors, shapes, or stripes when they fly. Remember to make these observations for any bird you see during your outdoor time and not just for the meadowlark and/or the goldfinch.

Follow Up Activity for the Goldfinch and the Meadowlark
You can make a nature journal entry for the goldfinch and the meadowlark if you would like. There are several styles of journal pages in the set below.

You will find a coloring page for the goldfinch in Feeder Birds Coloring Book.

For something different in your nature journal, copy the John Keats poem on page 57 of the Handbook of Nature Study. Many families like to include poetry in their nature journals and this poem about the goldfinch is a perfect addition.

If you are using’s bird nature study set (shown below), you can use the pages on feathers to record your feather observations or you can draw a feather and label its parts.

If you would like to hear the bird calls for this week’s birds, here are the links:

Also I am highly recommending that you purchase the Bird Bundle from as a great supplement to your study of birds using the Outdoor Hour Challenge. Note: These are affiliate links.

All About Birds Basic Study Notebooking Pages
Birds of North America Notebooking Pages

Use code discount5 to save $5 on any purchase $10 or more from the Shop. (This does not include membership purchases.)