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  • Writer's pictureAmy Wung Tsao

This Science is for the Birds!


“If you take care of birds, you take care of most of the environment problems in the world.”~ biologist Dr. Thomas Lovejoy


“If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.”- pilot Charles Lindbergh


Close-up photo of a bird with orange chest, blue back, and long red beak, perched on a branch
Credit: @brewbottle on UnSplash

There is so much fun and surprising science related to birds. Their colorful feathers, their bird calls, even how they sleep! Lots of questions to explore for curious preschoolers, kindergarteners, 1st and 2nd graders.


Here are some fun STEM books, videos, and activities - for the kids who want to chase birds outside, and for the kids who want to snuggle indoors with a cozy bird book. Something for everyone! 


(Just a reminder - I am never paid to mention any of these resources; there are no affiliate links.)

 

Bird Science Videos


Birds that Talk! from SciShow Kids


When a parrot parrots, do they really understand what they’re saying? Not only is this video about the science of bird sounds, it’s also about what makes human language unique!




If you’ve got a kid who loves dinosaurs and not birds, boy are they in for a surprise. This video is all about how we know that birds are descended from dinosaurs. Worth a watch just for the illustrations of dinosaurs with fancy feathers! 



from Nat Geo Kids 


Hear from real vets what having a pet bird is like. They’re not an easy pet, requiring lots of attention and specialized feed over a really long lifespan! Check out the clips of a pet bird flying wild all over the vet’s office at the end.



What’s Inside Owl Pellets from PBS Kids Mega Wow 


OK, this one is only for the kids who are ready to hear about owls eating small rodents and seeing small rodent bones. But if there’s a kid like that in your life, they will get a kick out of this video! There’s a clip of an owl casually spitting out a pellet that gets me every time.


 

Bird Science Books


My favorite bird picture book is actually Woodpecker Wants a Waffle. But as you can probably tell from the title, that’s not a STEM book! So here are some gorgeous picture books full of fascinating bird science.



Cover illustration of several colorful birds and a butterfly perched among leaves or flying. Under the title in all caps, text reads “What might you find when you go outside?”

by Christie Matheson


There are treasures (birds) in the trees! Count all of them, and search for some hidden ones. The interactive elements make this book great for introducing preschoolers to different bird species.



Cover illustration of bird asleep on top of choppy ocean waters below a full moon in the night sky.

written by Dave Obuchowski, illustrated by Sarah Pedry


Did you think birds sleeping would be boring? How about birds sleeping while flying? Some other birds sleep in warm snowbanks, and some make termites their neighbors. There is so much beautiful variety!



Cover illustration of a variety of colorful feathers lined up, including a large peacock feather.

written by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen


Sure, most bird feathers are built for flying. But some are also built for warming or cooling, hiding or showing off. Some feathers “dig holes like a backhoe…or carry building supplies like a forklift.” Amazing!


 

Bird Science Activities



Make Recycled Bird Feeders from SciShow Kids

Upcycle your toilet paper rolls, plastic water bottles, or milk jugs with these three easy bird feeder designs. Plus, learn about what birds really need to eat. (Bread crumbs are not great, and definitely don’t use trail mix that has chocolate in it!)  




Identify birds with the Merlin Bird ID app from Cornell Lab of Ornithology


This free app identifies birds for you, just from their bird song! I used it to identify the loud birds hanging out at the bird feeder at my in law's house, and it was amazingly fast!


 

I hope you and the kids in your life find a lot of reasons to fall in love with birds this month! I’ll be back in your inbox next month with STEM books, videos, and activities all about the water cycle. 


Until next time, have fun lighting sparks of curiosity,

Amy Wung Tsao


P.S. If you enjoyed this post, sign up to get future posts in your email, so you never miss an update!


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