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Distance Learning Young Naturalists Club

Bird Migration

Right now, in our very own backyards, an amazing annual event is taking place. Birds are currently traveling from their winter residences all the way to their summer homes! This is called migration.

Your challenge today is to find as many different species of birds as possible and to figure out how they got here!

As it is currently the height of migration season, we have an incredibly diverse population here with us. Some birds might be full-time residents, but others are just passing through. Take a look outside and see what you can find!

Once you’ve found a bird, go to Cornell’s All About Birds site to be guided through identifying it.

It may take patience to see birds outside your home. If you can’t get a good look at a bird at home, try these livestreamed bird feeders:

  • This live footage of a bird feeder in Ithaca, NY has similar birds as Ohio.
  • This one in Fort Davis, TX is farther away. Do you see any birds that are the same as here? Any birds that don’t live here?

What to look for:

When trying to identify birds, there are a few characteristics that can be incredibly helpful:

  • Size
  • Feather colors
  • Beak color
  • Wing shape
  • Beak Shape
  • Tail Shape
  • Where you saw it

Make note of these things before you go look up your bird! For a deeper look at how to identify birds, click through this presentation from Cornell (hit “present” mode for best experience).

Species you might see:

These are all species we see in southeast Ohio in April! When you look at these photos, think about the “what to look for” list above. What colors, shapes, sizes, and habitats do you see in the pictures?

Carolina Wren, photo by George Blankenhorn
Eastern Bluebird, photo by George Blankenhorn
Prothonotary Warbler, photo by George Blankenhorn
Baltimore Oriole, photo by George Blankenhorn
Chickadee, photo by George Blankenhorn

Do you remember what any of these birds nests look like from Joe’s lesson?

Amazing Migrators

There are a ton of bird species that migrate every year, but some birds migrate astonishing distances! Click on the name of each species to learn more about their epic journeys.

Why might a bird have to travel so far?

Your mission today:

  • Find as many different bird species as you can around your home.
  • Do your best to identify them with help from All About Birds.
  • Pick one or two of the birds you found, and learn more about them. Try find out:
    • Where this bird spends its winters
    • What kind of habitat this bird likes
    • Whether Ohio is just a stop along the way or the final destination
    • And, for an added challenge…
      • Use Google Earth or Google Maps to try to find 5 places with suitable habitat for this bird to use as a stop. Like a bird road trip!

Tell us about the birds you found, or share your Bird Road Trip in the comments!

2 replies on “Bird Migration”

I saw an American Redstart this morning for the first time this spring. They are really beautiful; the males are black with bright orange, and the females brownish with bright yellow. Their name in Spanish is candelita, or little flame.

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