Categories
Distance Learning Young Naturalists Club

What you can do to help birds

Hey guys! This week we learned about bird nests and bird migration. Today, we wrap up the week by looking at ways to increase bird biodiversity, right in your neighborhood!

Have you heard of biodiversity before?

Let’s break it down:

  • The first part of the word, Bio, means life.
  • The second part, Diversity, means a variety of things.
  • So put together, it means a variety of living things.

Scientists consider more biodiverse ecosystems to be healthier.

We can attract a diversity of birds by creating diverse places for them to live, and creating diverse food sources for them. Let’s look at some examples of how to do that.

So how can we improve bird biodiversity?

We’ll go over:

Categories
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:

Categories
Distance Learning Young Naturalists Club

Best of Bird Nests

When admiring a freshly made bird nest, my grandfather would whistle and say, “they put us to shame.” He was impressed with the nests’ efficiency, beauty, and that they make them without hands. Another amazing thing about bird nests? Almost every species makes a unique type of nest.

Today, we challenge you to find at least one bird nest and try to identify the bird species who made it. Key clues to solve this mystery are:

  • material the nest is made out of (leaves, moss, sticks, spit, dirt?)
  • habitat type in which you found it (the woods? Near water? A field?)
  • its size 
  • height off the ground (on the ground? In bushes? High in a tree?) 

Compare your clues to the descriptions of nests at allaboutbirds.org (which has lots of other great bird information too!). 

If you are quiet and patient, you might also see:

  • What the eggs or chicks look like
  • Parent birds coming and going

That will definitely help you figure out what kind of birds made the nest!

Some of the easiest nests to identify in Southeast Ohio are made by Baltimore orioles. They weave bag-like nests out of milkweed and other plant fibers. See the nest below on the left, and the male oriole on the right: