Bird Watching Lesson Plan

Please note, this lesson plan was created by as a general guide and is not specific to any particular venue listed on our site.

Birds migrate to move from areas of low or decreasing resources to areas of high or increasing resources. The two primary resources being sought are food and nesting locations.

Birds that nest in the Northern Hemisphere tend to migrate northward in the spring to take advantage of burgeoning insect populations, budding plants and an abundance of nesting locations. As winter approaches and the availability of insects and other food drops, the birds move south again. Escaping the cold is a motivating factor but many species, including hummingbirds, can withstand freezing temperatures as long as an adequate supply of food is available.


• Birds have feathers, wings, lay eggs and are warm blooded.
• There are around 10000 different species of birds worldwide.
• The Ostrich is the largest bird in the world. …
• Scientists believe that birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs.
• Birds have hollow bones which help them fly.



Types of Birding Migration: The term migration describes periodic, large-scale movements of populations of animals. One way to look at migration is to consider the distances traveled.

Permanent residents do not migrate. They are able to find adequate supplies of food year-round.

Short-distance migrants move only a short distance, as from higher to lower elevations on a mountainside.

Medium-distance migrants cover distances that span from one to several states.

Long-distance migrants typically move from breeding ranges in the United States and Canada to wintering grounds in Central and South America. Despite the arduous journeys involved, long-distance migration is a feature of some 350 species of North American birds.

The pattern of migration can vary within each category, but is most variable in short and medium distance migrants.

Take a field trip to a nature center or an Aududon Center that have a birding program. Explore what birds students will observe and have your students study them.


Audubon: American ornithologist and artist. His effort to catalog every species of bird in the United States resulted in the publication of The Birds of America (1827-1838), a collection of 1,065 life-size engravings of birds found in eastern North America.

Aviary: a large cage, building, or enclosure for keeping birds in. Aviaries are large enough to allow the captive birds room to fly around.

Bird: a warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrate distinguished by the possession of feathers, wings, and a beak and (typically) by being able to fly.

Bird Migration: is the regular seasonal movement, often north and south along a flyway, between breeding and wintering grounds. Many species of bird migrate.

Camouflage: concealment by means of disguise. The rabbit’s white fur acts as camouflage in the snow.

Estuary:  a water passage where the tide meets a river current; especially : an arm of the sea at the lower end of a river.

Feather: any of the flat appendages growing from a bird’s skin and forming its plumage, consisting of a partly hollow horny shaft fringed with vanes of barbs.

Habitat: the natural home or environment of an animal, plant, or other organism.

Incubate: to sit on (eggs) so as to hatch by the warmth of the body. b : to maintain (something, such as an embryo or a chemically active system) under conditions favorable for hatching, development, or reaction.

Nesting: of a bird or other animal) use or build a nest.

Ornithology: the branch of zoology that deals with birds.

Perch: a thing on which a bird alights or roosts, typically a branch or a horizontal rod or bar in a birdcage.

Wing: any of a number of specialized paired appendages that enable some animals to fly, in particular.


– Classroom community building

– Listening skills

– Verbal communication

– Vocabulary development

– Information analysis

– Critical thinking/problem solving

– Writing


Create your own birding site at your school. Put a birdhouse on your school grounds and keep records of what type of bird visits and how many of each species.



Bird Species

Bird Migration