This activity will take approximately 30-45 minutes.
- BIMN Teacher Guide (optional)
- BIMN Journal with fillable pdf link
- Bird Walk Check List
- IDNR Home Tweet Home
- Optional: Gloves and hand sanitizer
- Optional: Glue
- Optional: Internet connection (preferred but not mandatory)
Ready? Head to the Classroom!
Facilitate an inquiry-based approach to learning by asking your students the questions below. Have them use their BIMN Student Journal to document research on birds and habitats.
- What do birds need to survive? What places can birds find the things necessary for survival? Let the conversation expand to various possibilities before connecting their responses to the buzz word habitat.
- Have you ever heard of the word habitat? Do you know what a habitat is? A habitat is the home of an animal or a plant. Almost every place on Earth—from the hottest desert to the coldest ice pack—is a habitat for some kinds of animals and plants.
- What do you know about a bird’s habitat? Choose a bird species from the bird checklist on pages 9 & 10 and find out as much as you can learn about that bird’s habitat. You can use page 12 in the journal to write what you learned in your own words.
Share the Learning
Can you identify which birds live where? Using the bird checklist on pages 9 & 10, have students guess the habitat of each of these birds.
Illinois has 4 basic habitats: wetland, forest, grassland, and urban (cities and towns). Habitat consists of food, cover, water, and space. These components are necessary for all living things to survive.
- Food is necessary to live and function.
- The cover provides protection for animals, enabling them to nest, hide, sleep, and travel.
- All wildlife needs water. Some drink water; others obtain it from the food they eat.
- The area required by an animal to survive is called space.
Use Home Tweet Home to understand the four main habitats in Illinois. Have students find photos in books, magazines, newspapers, or online that represent the four basic Illinois habitats. Students can use page 15 of their student’s journals to record what they learned.
- Have you ever visited any of these four habitats? Which ones? What do you remember about the place you visited?
- Can you name which bird would live in one of these habitats?
- Does it live there year-round or does it migrate?
- What does this bird eat?
(Optional) Extra Credit Activity
*Be sure that students use gloves during this activity and that they thoroughly wash their hands after.
After researching birds and their habitats, offer students a chance to create their own bird’s nest with an adult’s supervision. Materials can be found in the student’s front and backyard or a neighboring park. Items can be twigs, sticks, leaves, and more. Have them think about the bird they researched during classroom instruction. When picking materials and measuring the nest diameter have your students consider:
- The bird’s body size
- The bird’s beak size
- The bird’s ideal habitat
- What material would be the most comfortable for the inside of the nest?
After the materials are gathered, students can bring them back home. Using a piece of construction paper, cut out the size of the nest. This will serve as the base of the nest. Next, glue the twigs and other materials gathered together, layering them out in a circular shape and using the softest fibers found for the inside of the nest. There you go, congratulations, you have successfully made a nest similar to what some birds would construct!
Want to learn more? Watch these videos and play an interactive game.
- Home Sweet Habitat: Crash Course Kids provided by Crash Course Kids (5-minute video)
- Animals’ Homes, Birds’ Nests – for Kids provided by Make Me Genius (9-minute video)
- Who Lives Where? provided by The National Audubon Society/Audubon Great Lakes (5-minute interactive game )
See you next week!