Posted on 4 Comments

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

Posted on Leave a comment

Outdoor Hour Challenge – Black Birds 2018

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Black Birds – Crow, Red Winged Blackbird, Cowbird, and Starling

From the Archives and from the Learning About Birds ebook

The birds in this week’s challenge are some of the more common birds most of us see during our daily activities. The challenge is to take a few minutes this week to observe and learn about one of the birds listed above. Currently, we have starlings and red winged blackbirds in our birdfeeders so we might do a compare and contrast of these two black birds.

The secondary part of this nature study challenge is to focus on looking at a bird’s eye color. Many times eye color is a field mark in identifying a particular bird. For example, some of the blackbirds in our feeders have a gold eye. This helped us to determine that we have brewer’s blackbirds and red winged blackbirds.

Note: There is a fantastic crow video in the archive link above so don’t miss it!

Learning About Birds 3D cover

This black 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.

Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Library

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

Posted on Leave a comment

Outdoor Hour Challenge – Red Winged Blackbird

Outdoor Hour challenge Red Winged Blackbird @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Red-Winged Blackbird

Our new house backs up to a river and that means we have a lot of birds that live along the river visiting our backyard and feeders. The red-winged blackbird is a daily visitor so we’ve had plenty of time to observe it up close. We hear it in the early mornings as the day is awakening.  This challenge is coming at just the right time for us to make a more formal study of this active black bird.

Use the ideas in the Outdoor Hour Challenge in Homeschool Nature Study membership. The suggestions will help you get started using the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock to learn more and help your children get to know this fairly common bird.

What should you do if you don’t have any blackbirds to study this week? Pick another bird!

Posted on Leave a comment

Black Birds: Our Family Outdoor Hour Challenge

We have had our eyes out for black birds of all kinds. We have a short list of black birds that we observed for this week’s bird challenge:
American crow
Red-winged blackbirds
Turkey vultures
Brewer’s blackbirds

The most abundant black bird we observed for this challenge was the Brewer’s blackbird.

Our field guide says that it has a “distinctive yellow eye”. It is very easy to identify.


Here is a short video of a red-winged blackbird eating some sort of seeds washed up alongside the river. You do hear him at the end of the video.

We all decided that the turkey vulture, although it is as ugly as can be, is the best flier of the bunch. They soar and soar and soar on a good day. We often see groups of six or eight turkey vultures all gliding and soaring over our house.

Crows and ravens are the noisiest bunch of the black birds we observed. You always hear them coming before you see them. My son observed that they are also the most obviously useful birds of the bunch. When we were at Yosemite last week we saw a pair of ravens cleaning up a dead squirrel off the road….gross but useful.

Our favorite black bird we learned about this week was certainly the red-winged blackbird. We had the opportunity to see quite a few and it has quickly become a favorite bird because of its flash of red as it flies. Now that we can identify its call, we hear him more often as we hike in different areas.

We realized during our hiking adventures last week that birdsong usually fills the air as we go along. If you stop and listen, you will usually hear some sort of bird singing you a tune. We had an especially happy bird on this day.


We made a joint journal entry later back at Curry Village. Someone forget to bring the boys’ nature journals…oops. I started the entry with the Steller’s jay and Mr. B sketched the ground squirrel after that. I was trying my best to notice with each bird the color and shape of their eye. The Steller’s jay has a very black eye and beak.

So that was our black birds challenge this week. We will continue to look for starlings since they do come to our yard on occasion.

Great bird week for our family.


Posted on 1 Comment

Birds Everywhere: Family Outdoor Hour Challenge

We have been trying to observe birds and their wing shapes and tail shapes over the last few days. The weather has been sunny and cool so the hiking has been fantastic.

We watched two turkey vultures soaring right over our head yesterday…we say their wingtips and the way their feathers spread out as they glide on the wind.

We had the chance to see this pair of barn swallows at the flower farm and even though you can’t see it very well in the photos, their tails are very unique.

As we are working through these challenges, our family is starting to be able to notice more quickly the shapes and sizes of birds and I am sure it is because we are paying closer attention and we now have more vocabulary to express what we are seeing.

We also had a chance to observe some red-winged blackbirdsand to see their beautiful colors as they flew near us. This one has his back to the camera but you can see his pretty red spots.

Yesterday we had a chance to observe goldfinches in a thistle feeder. They are such pretty birds.

“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

We had quite a few goldfinches in our garden last fall because we left our huge sunflower plants intact until just about all the seeds had been eaten. It amazed us that they could land on the head of a sunflower and it wouldn’t even bend over in the least. They must be light birds. They also are fun to watch when they hang upside down in the feeders.

This was a finch at the Living Desert Museum in Palm Springs, CA from February.

My son pointed out the beautiful clouds overhead as we wandered around the local flower farm. There is a vineyard next the the farm and it was a perfect picture looking out in the distance.

Here is the pretty sky over the vineyard and it made the lilacs ever so purple….sigh.

Another pretty sky photo from our week….this time you can see that this big oak has not put on its leaves for the season yet.

We also had a chance to observe some crab apple blossoms. These must be drawn in the nature journal!

So even though we didn’t see many goldfinches or a single meadowlark, we were happy to see some birds to check out their wing and tail shapes. The barn swallow was also a new bird for us so that was exciting too.

We have done the reading up on yellow birds so the next time we are out and the opportunity arises, we will be ready for the challenge.

Posted on 2 Comments

Red-Winged Blackbird on a Spring Day

Red-winged blackbird
You can click the link above and read about this bird and also there is a link to hear his song.

If you click this photo to make it larger, you will notice his little beak is open. He was singing up a storm for us.

Here he is landing in the rushes alongside the pond area at the nursery.

We were out at the nursery on Saturday and the meadow and pond area were full of these beautiful blackbirds. I was able to capture this particular bird by creeping as close as I could and then taking lots of photos. 🙂

The Handbook of Nature Study has a whole section on red-winged blackbirds so I was able to learn a lot about them from Anna Comstock’s easy to read narrative. The section starts on page 117.

“The red-winged blackbird lives in the marshes where it builds its nest. However, it comes over to our plowed lands and pastures and helps the farmer by destroying many insects which injure the meadows, crops, and trees.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 119