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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 – Blue Jays and Bluebirds

Blue+Birds+@HBNatureStudy.jpg

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Blue Birds – Jays and Bluebirds

From the Archives and from the Learning About Birds ebook

 

This is a fun challenge that incorporates a study of blue birds and also the study of bird beaks. Even the youngest of children will be able to participate after you explain the challenge to look for various kinds of bird beaks.

Make sure to use the ideas in the archive link above to encourage the observation of birds and their beaks.

Bird Beak Graphic from clipart.com

 

Additional Idea for Bird Study

Use the All About Birds website to look up more information about any birds you study this week: All About Birds. The archive link above includes links (bottom of the archive post) to this website for the particular blue birds we are learning about in this challenge.  I always love to click on the “sound” tab to hear each bird’s particular song.

Are you enjoying your bird study? You may wish to check out the complete series of bird challenges included in the Learning About Birds ebook.

Learning About Birds ebook Bird List @handbookofnaturestudy

This blue 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.

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Backyard Birds – Autumn Images

I love the way this image came out with the gray sky as the background and then the shapes of the sticker balls and leaves.

The bird watching in our neighborhood has significantly improved with cooler weather. The number and variety of birds has been amazing! Every day I end up with my camera and binoculars viewing some new bird visitor….in my feeder, under my feeder, in the berry bushes, in the pistache tree, in the birch tree, in the sweet gum tree.

This was obviously on another day when we had crystal clear skies. This Western bluebird and many of his friends were eating the fruits of the pistache tree. These are such pretty birds and they always seem to come in a flock.

I love it when I load the photos onto my desktop and I find I have captured a “moment”. This is another Western bluebird image showing his magnificent wings and ability to grab a bite to eat on the fly. Love it!

Here is another one of those surprise images. I think this is a starling and I love the way it shows his legs and feet and speckled belly.

We had a couple of days this month when we had turkey vultures by the tens all soaring over our house. All of those black specks are turkey vultures just soaring and swirling around. We looked it up on the internet and there is an official name for this….a kettle of turkey vultures.

 
Fun Turkey Vulture song on YouTube.com

We also had one day where the sparrows came by the hundreds to eat at our feeders, in the trees, and on the street as well. It was an amazing sight.

We have been counting birds as part of Project Feederwatch a couple of days a week.

Here is my list:

  • House sparrows
  • House finches
  • White-crowned sparrows
  • Dark eyed juncos
  • Titmouse
  • Anna’s hummingbirds
  • Lesser goldfinches
  • Spotted towhees
  • Western bluebirds
  • White-breasted nuthatches
  •  Cedar waxwings
  • American robins
  • Mourning doves
  • European starlings

Next month one of the Outdoor Hour Challenges is to note how the weather affects animals and birds in our neighborhood. This will be a fun way to see how our autumn birds stack up against other seasons. 

 

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Handbook of Nature Study – December Bird List with Two New Birds!

December Bird List – 
Our Family’s On-Going Record of Our Bird Sighting 
A Life Project

We have had a busy and full month watching birds in our yard and as part of our December travels. Project Feederwatch has become a natural part of our weekly routine and helps us take a few minutes two days a week to count birds that come to our feeders. First a few interesting photos and then this month’s bird list!

White Breasted Nuthatch 3

First off, our sweet and fabulous White-breasted nuthatch resident…or at least one of the three that entertain us everyday with their acrobatics on our backyard tree trunks. Ups and downs and lots of pecking are observed as we watch out the window. They also have a very distinct bird sound that they make and we are alerted to look up when we are outside and they are present. If you click the link above and click the Pacific song, you will hear what our nuthatch sounds like (there is an Eastern song as well).

White Breasted Nuthatch 2
I had to zoom this one in and crop it to show you this cute little guy and his expression.

California Towhee and House Sparrow in the Feeder

Our beloved California Towhee in the feeder….usually he scratches around under the feeder but today he showed up for pictures. Isn’t he interesting with his pink-orange rump and pink-orange around the eye? There is always a pair in the yard and they don’t ever stray very far from each other. We learned that the colored patch under the tail is called the “crissum”.

California Towhee - Tail View

Here is the other half of the pair….up on the branch, waiting for a turn in the feeder. (Males and females look alike.)

Spotted Towhee with seed

Since we started participating in Project Feederwatch, we have seen three of these Spotted Towhees in the yard. They are strikingly beautiful birds and since they are not year-round residents we try to enjoy them while they are here.

Sparrow
I love the way this bird friend is clinging to the twig and posing. You can see the dried up blackberries on the vine that we left from the summer garden. The birds are seen frequently stopping by for a purple snack.

Western Bluebird
The Western bluebird enjoys a little bath this time in our front yard. I still get excited when he comes to visit. They usually come in a small bunch and then leave all at the same time. Lovely.

Anna's Hummingbird
Here is the very best shot of the Anna’s Hummingbird at our feeder that I could capture to share. The flash accidentally went off but that really shows his beautiful ruby/pink/iridescent color. We have one or two at a time in the feeder these days, usually a male and a female. There might be more than two since the feeder is emptied frequently even at this time of the year.

In Our Yard – mostly at the feeders

  1. Spotted towhee
  2. Dark-eyed junco
  3. House sparrow
  4. White-crowned sparrow
  5. Mourning dove
  6. Western bluebird
  7. Mockingbird
  8. Western scrub jay
  9. American robin
  10. White-breasted nuthatch
  11. California towhee
  12. House finches
  13. Lesser goldfinches
  14. Anna’s hummingbird
  15. Oak titmouse
  16. Ruby-crowned kinglet
  17. Acorn woodpecker

Out and About:

  1. American crow
  2. Northern flicker
  3. California quail
  4. Steller’s jay
  5. Wild turkeys
  6. Brewer’s blackbird
  7. Pigeons
  8. White-tailed kite ***New to our life list
  9. Red-tail hawk
  10. Barn swallow
  11. Bewick’s wren ***New to our life list
  12. Downy woodpecker – hanging on a tall weed (more on that later)

Bird Sleuth button
There is a wealth of birding information on the internet but I have not found a more homeschool-friendly site than the ones sponsored by Cornell University. I would love to encourage you all to subscribe to their homeschool blog (click the logo above to pop over there now).

You can also follow them on Facebook .
You can download their FREE Homeschool Guide to Project Feederwatch.
Of course, my favorite resource is their AllAboutBirds website which is a great tool for identifying and learning more about birds in your own neighborhood.

I would love for other families to join ours in watching your feeder birds. It is super easy and you just need to devote a few minutes a week to getting to know your feeder birds one bird at a time. Email me with any questions you have about the program.

So which bird photo did you like the most? I think I like the California towhee in the feeder the best since it is one that I have been trying to snap for awhile now.

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Handbook of Nature Study – November Bird List

November Birdfeeder Station
Our front yard feeder has been busy, busy, busy the last few weeks. The colder nights and mornings seem to draw the birds out to our feeders and it is a joy to watch each day from our front window. I joined Project Feederwatch this year for the very first time and I am thoroughly enjoying counting birds two days a week…just a few minutes a day.

We have had some wonderful bird visitors to enjoy and it makes me happy to see them spending time in our yard plantings and feeders.

Western Bluebird November
Here is our beautiful Western bluebird in the Pistache tree. We don’t see these regularly so it is a treat when they flock into the trees to snack and then sun themselves.

Ruby Crowned Kinglet
Our most exciting new friend is the Ruby-crowned kinglet. We have nicknamed him Rudy the Ruby. He looks much like a little goldfinch but there is a bright orange patch on the top of his head…the feathers sort of ruffle up to show the color. These images are taken through our living room window when Rudy was sitting in the bushes looking into the house right at me. He came four days in a row and landed on the same branch….I loved being able to get a really good look at him up close. Thanks Rudy.

Ruby Crowned Kinglet in bushes
Here he is with his feathers down. Interesting huh?

November House Sparrows in the Birdbath
This is the first year we placed a birdbath in the frontyard and I am always amazed at how many birds each day come to bathe and drink from this water source. I highly recommend putting out a birdbath to attract bird visitors. We found that if we put a few rocks in the middle of the birdbath, making the water a little more shallow, more birds actually bathe. Don’t they look like they are having fun?


Now for our November Bird List:
Yard and Feeders

  1. California Towhee
  2. American Robin
  3. Western scrub jay
  4. House sparrows
  5. House finches – really pink right now
  6. Lesser goldfinches
  7. Anna’s hummingbird – still several birds that come everyday to the feeder
  8. White-breasted nuthatch
  9. Spotted towhee
  10. Oak titmouse
  11. Dark-eyed juncos
  12. White-crowned sparrows
  13. European starlings
  14. Western bluebirds
  15. Great horned owl – hooting 5 AM
  16. Mourning doves – sweet pair
  17. Ruby-crowned kinglet – new to our life list!

Travels around town and to the Sierra

  1. American Crow
  2. Canada geese
  3. Brewer’s blackbirds
  4. Steller’s jay
  5. Pigeons
  6. Turkey vulture
  7. Snowy egret – flying
  8. Red-tail hawk
  9. California quail
  10. Bald eagle!
  11. Mallards
  12. White-headed woodpecker
  13. California gulls
  14. Osprey
  15. Common raven

This was the best birding month in a very long time. My field guide has been busy and our bird list is always handy.

Bird Sleuth button
There is a wealth of birding information on the internet but I have not found a more homeschool-friendly site than the ones sponsored by Cornell University. I would love to encourage you all to subscribe to their homeschool blog (click the logo above to pop over there now).

You can also follow them on Facebook .
You can download their FREE Homeschool Guide to Project Feederwatch.
Of course, my favorite resource is their AllAboutBirds website which is a great tool for identifying and learning more about birds in your own neighborhood.

We also are submitting this post to Heather’s Tweet and See link-up.
Tweet and See button

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Birds in Our November World

Can you believe it is almost December? I thought I could fit in another November World post or two before the end of the month. It is surprising what you will see if keep your eyes open!

It has been really cold the last week or so and when I opened my blinds early in the morning a few days ago, this is what I saw at my birdfeeder.

11 24 10 Hummingbird in the feeder

Mr. Hummingbird.

We still have hummingbirds in our yard although the temperatures have been in the low 30s and the world has been frozen. Another day I saw some hummingbirds in my remaining lavender blooms in the front yard. One morning the feeder was frozen so I had to bring it in and defrost it and refill it with more liquid. Two hummingbirds come regularly and sit and feed for long periods of time and then they fly off. I am not sure if they are the same birds over and over or whether they are different birds migrating. So many questions….

11 24 10 Northern Flicker eating 1
Later in the day, this Northern Flicker (red shafted) caught my son’s attention and he had to run in and get me to see it. Over the years Mr. A has become a great spotter of birds and I think it is because we have taken the time, one bird at a time, to get to know them and their habits.

11 24 10 birds The Whole Gang
The Chinese pistache tree in our front yard has little red-orange nuts on it this time of year. The local birds come here quite frequently and there seems to be quite a few migratory birds that stop by once or twice a year to enjoy the nuts. Here is a whole gang of different birds in the tree at one time.

11 24 10 birds Cedar Waxwing
One of my favorite colorful birds was visiting, the Cedar Waxwing.

11 24 10 birds American Robin
Mr American Robin was there too making his presence known.

11 24 10 Western bluebird in the Pistache Tree
And don’t forget Mr. Western bluebird. I see these just about every day now and I love them. We are thinking of finding a place to put a bluebird house for them to nest in but we need to do some more research about size and location.

November World birds seem to cheer even the coldest day up!

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Some More Backyard Birds to Share

We have had an abundance of birds in our yard for the past few weeks. Part of the reason is my new birdfeeder station in our front yard but mostly because it seems to be that time of year.

I grabbed my son’s camera the other day and took quite a few photos of just a small fraction of the variety of birds right in our yard.

Western Scrub Jay with an Acorn
There are always lots of Western scrub jays in our yard. This one found an acorn snack.

Northern Mockingbird
This is the best I could get of the Northern mockingbird in our front tree.

Western Bluebird
There have been quite a few Western bluebirds hanging around this week. I was able to snap a good photo of this pretty little bird.

Nuttall's Woodpecker- Female
There is a pair of Nuttall’s woodpeckers that are frequently on the utility pole across the street from our house. This seems to be the female…the male has red on his head.

Western Scrub Jay in the Rocks
This Western scrub jay was poking around in the rocks. I think he was trying to find some acorns or walnuts that he stashed but I was able to catch him holding still for a few seconds so I could capture his beautiful blue feathers.

Stay tuned because I am sure I will have some more to share soon. We spend time watching birds everyday and it is always fun to share.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge-Birds: Jays and Bluebirds

“The bluebirds are usually ahead of the robins in the northward journey and often arrive in New York amid the blizzards of early March…There is a family resemblance between voices of the bluebird and robin, a certain rich quality of tone; but the robin’s song is far more assertive and complex than is the soft purling song of the bluebird, which has been vocalized as ‘tru-al-ly, tru-al-ly.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 62


Outdoor Hour Challenge Birds #2
Jays and Bluebirds

Bird Beaks

Inside preparation work:
1. Read the Handbook of Nature Study pages 39-40 about bird beaks. Try to think of two birds
that you can observe in person to compare their beaks. Use the illustration on page 41 to show different beak shapes.

Here is a website to see many different birds, their beaks, and an explanation of how they use them. Bird Adaptations-Beaks


2. Read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 62-65 about the bluebird. You might like to mention that the bluebird is in the thrush family just like the robin and they bear a family resemblance.

3. Backyard Birds: Read aloud with your child page 14 and 15 on jays. Jays are easy to spot because of their color and if you have opportunity to observe a jay, make note of the beak shape. Take notice of the field marks pointed out in the illustrations in the book.

4. Peterson Field Guide: Make note of the beak illustrations on page 18(W) or page 24(E). Look up in the index the blue jay and the bluebird. Observe the illustrations carefully and read the narrative descriptions and explanations.

Outdoor Hour Time
Allow at least 10-15 minutes of outdoor time to explore your backyard, neighborhood, or a near-by park. This time you are going to try to focus on finding a bird in order to observe its beak. Every bird has a beak. Sometimes the best way to get children to really see something is to get them to compare two things together. Try to get them started by asking them simple questions.

Here are a few to get you started:

  • How is the bird using its beak? (eating, pecking, scooping, preening, fluffing, carrying, etc)

  • Is the bird’s beak longer than its head? Shorter than its head?

  • Is the beak rounded? Pointy? Bent? Straight? Curved?

Don’t spend too much time talking about birds during your Outdoor Hour, try to observe quietly for a good part of the time. You can discuss and review during your follow-up time.

If you put out a bird feeder with the last challenge, take a few minutes to make sure it is filled up with seeds. Use the opportunity to observe any birds that visit the feeder during your Outdoor Hour Time. Work on your listening skills each time you go outdoors and try to hear the bird sounds in your neighborhood.

Stellars Jay @handbookofnaturestudy

Follow Up Activity For Jays and Bluebirds
You can make a nature journal entry for the jay and the bluebird if you would like.

The two jays from this challenge are included in Cornell’s bird coloring book: Feeder Birds Coloring Book. You can use these as the basis of your nature journal or you can use the simple line drawings as a pattern for your bird sketch.

Scrub Jay Stellars Jay coloring page @handbookofnaturestudy

I also found this link to the National Bluebird Society a great help in our bluebird study and it includes coloring pages for all three bluebirds. http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/PDF/educational%20packet.pdf (see pages 21-23 for the coloring pages)

You can also try to sketching in your regular nature journal a few shapes of beaks and then explain how they are used by the bird. If you are using NotebookingPages.com’s bird nature study set, you can complete the notebook page for beaks in your nature journal as well.

For Other Birds You Observed
For your follow up activity you can learn more about any bird that you observed. If you know what kind of bird it is, look it up in the Handbook of Nature Study for more information. You can also use the Peterson Field Guide or an internet resource such as whatbird.com or Cornell’s bird website at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/

Here are the links for this week’s birds. You can use these links to listen to the bird’s call if you are working on learning to identify birds by their calls.

Learning About Birds 3D cover

This red bird challenge is from the Learning About Birds ebook here on the Handbook of Nature Study. It is 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.