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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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Robin Nature Study – Where Have They Gone?

Robin nature journal
We have studied Robins in the past.

This week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge was to do a robin nature study…but where were the robins? Just a few weeks ago we counted six for our Project FeederWatch count. We saw forty-two during the Great Backyard Bird Count this year in February. This week….zero. We have been vigilant about looking but they are gone from our neighborhood now. So what to do?

We were out looking for any birds this morning and we were surprised to see that our neighbor’s trees were full of Cedar Waxwings! We have learned that they visit us on their way south and then again northwards. The interesting thing, according to our family’s records, we usually see the big flock come through during the GBCC in February. We did not see them this year at all until now. What does that mean? Not sure but it will be interesting to see what happens next year.

Would you like to see our Cedar Waxwings?

Cedar Waxwings in the Trees

They filled three trees and were munching on the “nuts” from the pistache tree that have lasted all winter…just waiting for them to come and polish them off before the next growing season. What a wonderful provider they have!

Cedar Waxwings - In Tree 1

Yes, we had very gray skies this morning but it wasn’t very cold. They sat resting and eating for quite some time and I was able to get up close to take a few colorful photos of them as they sat in the tree. Don’t you just love their yellow-tipped tails? I could really hear them making their very unique buzzing sound. Do you want to hear? Here is a link to AllAboutBirds and you can click over and hear what I heard…click the “high pitched hissy whistle” and that is exactly it.

Cedar Waxwings in Flight

Then in a blink of an eye, they were off again. I was amazed at just how fast they flew away in a flock. What a great experience we had this morning! I am forever grateful for the Outdoor Hour Challenges. I know that if I had not started this adventure with all of you that I would have missed out on so many deeply memorable times with my family.

It spurs me on to get outside and this month I have enjoyed joining in with Debi at Go Explore Nature and her #GetOutside project…a photo scavenger hunt. This simple project has already brought such joy to our family. It has encouraged us to think about how we can incorporate outdoor time each day in the month of April. I hope you will consider jumping in with us and take a few minutes to read more about the way it works on her blog. You can see all my entries in my Flickr Set: April GetOutside Project.

April GetOutside Project

Another great week of nature study with my teenage sons.

More Nature Study Book 3 Button
Don’t forget to share your April Outdoor Hour Challenge blog entries with the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival.You can submit entries directly to me if needed:

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Backyard Bird: Robin in the Pistache Tree

Robin in the Pistache Tree
American Robin. Isn’t he magnificent? What a great image with all the colors!

We had a flock of robins, starlings, and another bird I never could identify fly through our neighborhood yesterday. They were all perching in the pistache tree and eating the fruits/nuts. What a noise they made!

Our Dark-eyed Juncos were at the feeder yesterday for the first time in a very long time. There are also about 25 House sparrows and White-crowned sparrows at a time that eat at the front birdfeeder each day.

I am really loving this time of year and the return of so many birds to our area.

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Spring Robin and Wildflower Hikes – Robin Nature Study

We took a walk to look for birds as part of the Spring Bird Observation Challenge from last week. It had been raining earlier in the day but we took off for our hike as soon as the clouds parted a little. The walking trail had lots of earthworms wiggling across which is why we saw A LOT of robins. The robins were singing and then hopping along side the trail as we hiked.

American Robin in a Pine

I think I was too distracted to capture a good photo but you can see him up there on the branch of the pine.

Robin nature journal

He did make it into our nature journals though….big fat red belly and all. There is lots of information in the Handbook of Nature Study for the robin. I encourage you to use this information as the basis of a great spring study of birds. There is an official Outdoor Hour Challenge for robins: Red Birds.

Here is an additional printable brochure on American Robins that is excellent: American Robins.

Yellow Globe Lily

We were lucky to catch this wildflower blooming…

Yellow Star Tulip

Yellow star tulip.

Scotch Broom along Trail

Part of the trail is lined with Scotch broom….yellow boughs make a beautiful setting. I know it is considered a “noxious” weed and invasive but I will enjoy it as I walk the trail this spring.

4 23 11 Red Shack wildflowers Sierra Pea

On another section of the trail the Sierra peas are in bloom giving the grass dots of purple and pink.

4 19 11 yard and walking trail CA Poppies

The California poppies are really blooming now and this section of the trail full of them.I am working on a new blog entry featuring poppies that I will post soon.

4 19 11 yard and walking trail Blue Eyed Grass

We recognized this flower from last year…Blue eyed grass which isn’t a grass at all but it is in the iris family.

Tweet and See button

Here is our list for April:

  1. Canada goose -on the move, although we have some that stay year-round in a marshy area at the edge of town
  2. Mourning doves (always a pair)
  3. Anna’s hummingbirds
  4. White-crowned sparrows
  5. White-breasted nuthatch
  6. Acorn woodpecker
  7. California towhee
  8. House sparrows
  9. Brewer’s blackbirds
  10. American crow
  11. Turkey vultures
  12. Red-wing blackbirds
  13. Western scrub jays
  14. Common ravens
  15. Cedar waxwings (saw these yesterday) – heard their high pitch whistle
  16. Oak titmouse
  17. American robins -counted 47 one day
  18. California quail – flock of them
  19. Yellow billed magpie – on a day trip, distinctive sound
  20. Blue heron – on another day trip
  21. Steller’s jays
  22. Cooper’s hawk – we hear this sound a lot in our yard (nest call/alarm call)
  23. Red-tail hawk
  24. Rock pigeons

I think the most interesting thing about our list is the absence of some of our “regular” feeder birds. It appears that some of them have moved on: House finches, Lesser goldfinches, Spotted towhees, Dark eyed juncos.

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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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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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Great Backyard Bird Count: Saturday and Sunday

Saturday, February 13th-We were only able to observe in our own backyard about 30 minutes.
5 White-crowned sparrows
4 House sparrows
1 Anna’s hummingbird (Spotted in our flowering broccoli!)
1 Western scrub jay
1 California towhee
2 Spotted towhees
8 Juncos
1 House finch
1 American robin
1 Oak titmouse
1 American crow (heard but not seen)
1 Nuttall’s woodpecker

Spotted towhees
Sunday, February 14th-Two different times observing for a total of 45 minutes.
8 Juncos
1 Western scrub jay
1 Nuttall’s woodpecker
11 House finches
2 Spotted towhees (There are two shown in the photo above.)
2 California towhees
1 Anna’s hummingbird (in the feeder this time)
1 Oak titmouse
2 Red-tailed hawks (soaring over our house and screeching loudly)
2 Canadian geese (flying over noisily)
1 White-breasted nuthatch
5 White-crowned sparrows
2 American crows (loud caws and then they flew overhead, one had something in its mouth)

Robin in the Tree
I think we did a good job at counting this year and for once we knew every bird in the feeder. This is our fourth year participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count and we have come a long way from that first year where we only knew the most basic of birds.

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The Beginnings of a Robin Study

“Most of us think we know the robin well, but very few of us know definitely the habits of this, our commonest bird. The object of this lesson is to form in the pupils a habit of careful observation, and to enable them to read for themselves the interesting story of this little life which is lived every year before their eyes. Moreover, a robin notebook, if well kept, is a treasure for any child; and the close observation necessary for this lesson trains the pupils to note in a comprehending way the habits of other birds. It is the very best preparation for bird study of the right sort.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 57

What started off as a hike after the rain had stopped, quickly turned into an exciting weekend of robin watching. Heading down our regular hiking trail, we immediately saw a sight that made us stop in our tracks. Up over our heads in huge groups were groups of birds flying, some stopping to perch in the tall pines above us. Some of the birds were just flying very fast all in one direction. I did not have my binoculars on this afternoon so we had to use the camera to see at first what kind of birds they were. Robins! Flocks and flocks of robins!

Robins in a Pine 2 6 10
We were amazed at the numbers of robins and I tried to capture a few photos, but I had my little camera that does not have an adequate zoom. The photo above is the only photo that you see the robins.

None of us had experienced this large of a flock of robins before. We realized exactly what is in the quote above from the Handbook of Nature Study. How could we have never noticed the robins migrating/flocking before? Where are they coming from? Where are they going? We had so many questions in our minds as we finished our hike.

This experience was repeated several times over the course of our weekend. We even had them flocking and flying overhead yesterday morning at our house. The neighborhood was alive with robins.

This is how our robin study started this weekend. We are going to use the suggestions for progressive robin study in the Handbook of Nature Study and spend some time this spring learning about this common neighborhood bird. You can read the lessons starting on page 61.

“For third or higher grades the pupils may have individual notebooks in which each one may write his own answers to the questions of the successive series……The cover or first page should show the picture of the robin colored by the pupil, and may contain other illustrative drawings, and any poems or other literature pertinent to the subject.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 61

The Handbook of Nature Study contains lessons that follow the spring habits of the robin and it will take us a few months to finish our study.

We found the following links helpful:
Winter Robins
What Happens to All the Robins?
Making Sense of Robin Migration This article has some interesting information stating that the robins only start singing when they have reached their territory. Many of the robins we observed over the weekend were singing…so I guess they are home. More info HERE.
Robin Migration Journal Pages I can’t believe what you can find on the internet with very little effort. I was reading this website and realized they have a journal you can print out and use to keep track of the robin migration for this year. Awesome! They also have more generic notebook pages to go with any study HERE.

I will keep you posted on the progfess of our robin study. Don’t forget that this coming weekend is the Great Backyard Bird Count. Even if you can only devote 15-20 minutes of bird watching in your neighborhood this coming weekend, you can participate in this important birding event. You do not need to be an expert in bird identification either. Report the birds you do know!

I will share our bird tallies as we make our observations.


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Robins in Our Nature Journals-Finally!

These are some feathers we found on our front lawn under a big tree. We are not sure what kind of bird feathers they are but they were very, very soft. We spent our Outdoor Hour listening to birds and trying to spot them. Our feeders have slowed down a bit in the last few weeks with the changing weather. The most predominant birds in our backyard feeders are Western scrub jays and House sparrows at this time of year.

My son was telling me about the flock of robins that were perched in the tree outside his window yesterday after our snowstorm. He thought there must have been dozens of them.

We have a resident robin that sits in the very top of our tree outside the front window and he sings and sings and sings very early in the morning…starting just about this time of year.

Here is what our robin sounds like in the morning:
Robin at Learn Bird Songs

We read through the information in the Handbook of Nature Study and found most of it was new to us. How could we be so uninformed about a bird we practically see very day?

“Moreover, a robin notebook, if well kept, is a treasure for any child; and the close observation necessary for this lesson trains the pupils to note in a comprehending way the habits of other birds. It is the very best preparation for bird study of the right sort.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 57

This statement in the introduction to robins made me stop and think about all of our bird studies. The point is well made that birding is more than just learning to identify birds. Careful study of any particular bird helps us to learn so much about *all* birds and it gives us skills we can use with all birds. We took special interest in the schedule of robin study in the lesson given for robins. This is another example of how to expand nature study to really get the most out of it. My boys were not particularly interested in studying robins so I think we will skip the in-depth study but we will apply the principles to a bird that does interest them.

This week some of us decided to use the coloring page from Cornell to complete in our nature journal and Mr. B (youngest son) decided to just free-hand draw a robin to include in his binder. I like to use the coloring page and then add my own interesting facts as well.

We will be moving on to the House finch later in the week and I will share that study when we are finished.

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Morning Tree Silhouettes: Our Ongoing Tree Study

We have been watching and observing all the different shapes of tree silhouettes we have in our neighborhood. We are all pointing out different shapes and patterns and I can honestly say we are loving our winter trees.

This morning we were looking out and noticed that our trees were filled with American Robins. I counted sixteen of them at one time in the trees along the side of our house.

The sunrise was just so pink and pretty and then the birds with their dark silhouettes….I couldn’t resist trying to get a photo or two or three. If you click to enlarge and look closely, you will see several bird sitting on branches.

All of the photos above were taken within minutes of each other and you can see the sky and the light changed so fast.

Here is my son’s tree silhouette of the walnut tree in our backyard.

I always think of his sketching as sort of gesture drawing. He has such a unique style all to himself.

Great study this week.