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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 – Gray Birds 2018

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Gray Birds – Pigeon and Mockingbirds

From the Archives and from the Learning About Birds ebook

Using the link above to the archived challenge, you’ll find a lot of helpful information on getting started with a gray bird nature study. Pick one or two of the ideas to get you started and then make sure to get outside to observe your backyard or neighborhood birds.

An advanced study would be to do a comparative study of the pigeon and the mourning dove.

This is our last bird study from the Learning About Birds ebook. I’ve enjoyed taking a closer look at the birds in our backyard using the Handbook of Nature Study and I hope you have too!

Summer Nature Study Ebook

Starting next week, we’ll be working through the Summer Nature Study – Using Your Senses ebook.

It’s found in the Ultimate level membership 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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Handbook of Nature Study – May Printables

 Outdoor Hour Challenge May 2016 Monthly Printables for Members @handbookofnaturestudy


Take a look at the two new printables available in the Member’s Library for both the Ultimate and Journey level memberships. There is a simple Northern mockingbird notebook page and also a set of notebook and coloring pages for the buttercup and the poppy (4 pages in all). For a complete list of member’s printables, click the button below for a printable list.


Printables for Members Button

Please note that Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level members have access to members only printables each month in addition to the newsletter printables. You will need to log into your account and then go to the “Other Releases” section. You can download a complete list of printables available to members here: Printables Current List May 2016.


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Project Feederwatch Continues – More December Birds

I had in mind a totally different post for you this week but our internet has been down for over a week so working online has been limited. Instead, I have a collection of recent bird photos that show some of our feeder birds that we enjoy everyday. As the leaves fall from the trees, observing birds becomes much easier. We also have more of a variety to enjoy this time of year and keeping track of them for Project Feederwatch becomes our normal routine at least two days a week.

The Outdoor Hour Challenges this month focuses on the weather and we have been noting how the weather affects the birds in our yard. We have had ice on the birdbaths quite a few mornings this week and if I don’t go out and break it up, the birds skid around on it which makes me laugh.

House finches can seem common at the feeders…oh, just another finch. But, when you see these colored birds through the eye of a camera, you realize they are not just another bird. They come in varying shades of pink, orange, red, and purple…they come day after day and provide a happy bird song (listen on All About Birds to hear the sweet sounds of a finch).

Our backyard Anna’s hummingbirds are still at the feeders every day. They have a particular tree they sit in and most days it is on the same little branch that hangs over one end of our deck. I can hear them making their little chattering noises whenever I am outside. In this image the feathers look black but it is just the way the light is hitting him. If he tilts his head in just the right way or the sun hits him just right, his chin and throat are the most brilliant pink and his body is a dazzling green. I always thought that hummingbirds were delicate creatures but I have seen them at my feeder in the pouring rain and when we have snow. All About Birds says that they weigh the same as a nickel….imagine that!

The return of the Dark eyed junco is complete for the season. We started having one or two a day under the feeders but now I am counting 12-20 every day. They mostly poke around under the seed feeders to glean some food but I have noticed that they are hanging out at the suet feeder as well. They do give the woodpeckers first chance at the suet but as soon as the woodpecker flies away, they hop on and have a meal.

Our Northern Mockingbirds make daily appearances at the berry vines in our front yard. I read on All About Birds that they switch to an almost all berry diet in the fall and winter. The other fact I learned about the mockingbird is that they don’t sing at this time of the year. The website says that they sing from February to August and then from September to early November. Isn’t that interesting? I am going to record the dates I hear them sing in my neighborhood…a little extra project for me.

The Nuttall’s woodpecker is a frequent diner at the suet feeder. We seem to have a female that is rather shy but I have observed her quite a bit as she hops up and down the trees near the feeder. She shares the feeder many times with the little White-breasted nuthatches.

The excitement this season is that we appear to have a wintering Red-breasted nuthatch who comes daily to the trees outside my window. At first I thought he was my usual White-breasted nuthatch but I read online that the Red-breasted has an eye stripe….sure enough, our nuthatch had an eyestripe. He is super quick and I have yet to capture a clear image but you can see in this one that he definitely has an eyestripe! Hopefully I will get a good image of him for my  nature journal sometime this winter.

Project Feederwatch has helped bring my bird observation skills to the next level. In just a few minutes a day, I have learned so much more about the bird life right outside my window. What a gift this activity gives…hopefully you enjoy seeing my bird friends and are inspired to start learning about your own backyard birds.

Take it one bird at a time and enjoy!

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 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.

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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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Backyard Birds Part 2

Today it snowed. Today it rained. Let’s just say we were surprised at how many birds we had in our feeders despite the crazy weather.

I had my Canon Rebel out again and did some practicing and experimenting with various settings.

Western Scrub Jay in Sweet Gum Tree 2
This is a resident Western Scrub Jay in our Sweet gum tree. I like the little sticker balls in this photo.

Mourning Doves 2
This is my absolute favorite photo of the day. A pair of Mourning doves perched in the Sweet gum tree and did some posing just for me.

Mourning Dove 1
I love their little pink feet. They also make a wonderful sound when they fly. If you would like to hear what it sounds like, click over to Cornell and scroll down to where it has the listing for wing whistles. This is exactly what it sounds like.

Junco in the Rain
Here is one of our many, many juncos sitting in the rain.

Northern Mockingbird 1 with worm
This photo is from yesterday and even though it is a little blurry, I thought you might like to see one of our Northern Mockingbirds with a tasty little treat in his mouth. He stopped on my neighbor’s mailbox and looked over his shoulder at me before flying off.

That’s enough birds for today……thanks for indulging my bird photography habit.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge-Birds: Pigeon and Mockingbird

We are to our very last bird challenge of this series. I can’t tell you how much our family has enjoyed learning more about the familiar birds in our neighborhood. Each bird is now a little bit more of a friend since taking some time to read and observe more about them.

Along with learning more about our backyard birds, we also have learned to identify different aspects of the bird and its behavior. We learned about the beaks, the feet, the eyes, and the feathers of many birds that we may some time come in contact with during our outdoor time. This knowledge is knowledge that we can apply to all birds and I know we are getting better at identifying birds since we took time to read through our field guide.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Birds #8
Gray Birds
Pigeon and Mockingbird

Inside Preparation Work:
1. Read the section in the Handbook of Nature Study about pigeons on pages 50-53. I found the information very interesting so don’t be tempted to skip it because you think you know all there is to know about pigeons.
Also read pages 91-94 about the mockingbird.

2. Read in the Handbook of Nature Study the section on the migrations of birds on pages 35-37.

“Birds that travel are called migratory birds. If the spring migrants remain with us for the summer, we call them our summer residents. Fall migrants that remain with us for the winter are called winter residents. The migrants that do not remain with us but pass on to spend the summer or winter in some other area are called our transients or visitors.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 36

3. Read in Backyard Birds pages 44-47 about the pigeon and the mockingbird. You can follow the links above to and click on the button to listen to a recording of each bird call. If you are keeping a list of bird calls (see challenge 5), you can add this week’s birds to your list.

4. Peterson Field Guide: Use the index to look up the pigeon and the mockingbird. Use the information to learn more about the field marks and the behavior of each of these birds. Use the maps at the back of the field guide to determine the range and/or migratory patterns of this weeks birds or any of the other birds we have studied during the challenges. You will find the correct map by looking up the entry and then noticing the “M” code that will correspond with a map in the back of the book. Notice the explanation of the colors used on the maps by using the key on page 359(W) and page 305(E).

Outdoor Hour Time:

“Pigeons are found in every city. Look for them in parks and open areas.”
Backyard Birds, page 45

“The mockingbird is the only one of our common birds that sings regularly at night. It imitates the songs of other birds and has also a beautiful song of its own.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 93

This week you should be able to find a pigeon to observe up close. Although pigeons are not usually a *favorite* bird, you can use its example to take note of the beak and feet of a real live bird. I also enjoy seeing all the variations in colors of pigeons and some are quite beautiful with their iridescent colors.

  • Plan on taking your ten to fifteen minutes of outdoor time to observe birds. Practice all your birding skills.
  • Sit quietly and listen for bird calls.
  • For each bird you see, take note of its shape, size, beak, feet, colors, tail, wings, flight pattern, and any interesting behavior.
  • Take a walk in your neighborhood and look for places you might think you will find a bird: up in a tree, in a pond, on a fence, in a bush, in some tall grass, alongside a meadow, near some park benches, or at a feeder.
  • Get up early and go out birding at dawn or just a little after as the birds wake up and start their morning singing.

Don’t forget to fill your bird feeders and birdbaths each week! Even though this is the last official bird challenge you can keep your study going as long as you wish and your neighborhood birds have come to count on a meal and a bath in your yard by now.

Follow Up Activity for the Pigeon and the Mockingbird
Once you are inside from your outdoor time, discuss birds you observed and try to recall as many specifics as you can about each bird. Help your child get started with this activity by stating something you observed. For instance, if you observed a pigeon, you might say that you noticed that the pigeon’s feet let him waddle along the ground and not hop like a robin. Or you could say that the pigeon has a very small beak compared to the blue jay. You get the idea. You are helping your child recall things that he observed and then compare and contrast them to other facts he already knows about different birds.

You will find a coloring page for the pigeon in Cornell’s bird coloring book: Feeder Birds Coloring Book.

Add any new birds to your bird life list, either in the back of the Backyard Bird book or in your nature journal.

You can also complete the migration notebook page from’s bird set (shown below).

Follow Up Activity For Other Birds Observed:
Use the process described above to discuss any bird observed during your Outdoor Hour time. If you identified the bird, use the Peterson Field Guide, the Handbook of Nature Study, or the website to research any additional information. You can complete a notebook page for each bird if you wish. You will find general bird notebook pages in the set or you can look up your bird in the table of contents of the Cornell bird coloring book.

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.)