Bird Babies are Back!


Baby birds hatched on the day this photo was taken. 5/7/14

Look closely. What do you see?

There are baby birds in the nest—Black Phoebes. They have a little tuft of black down on their heads. They don’t have any feathers yet, and you can see the pink skin of their tiny bodies.

This is the time of year when baby birds are hatching and then fledging (leaving the nest), and it’s one of the most dangerous times in a bird’s life. If you find a baby bird that’s fallen out of its nest, carefully place it back inside. Contrary to what many people believe, its parents will continue to care for it.

LESSON PLAN: Physical Fitness

In this lesson, your students will perform various bird-related actions at stations around the room. The lesson concludes by reading selected pages from The BLUES Go Birding Across America to see pictures of the birds from the stations and The BLUES Go EXTREME Birding to find out about other amazing bird feats.

Suggested Grade Level: K-5

Common Core and Science Standards (see below)


  • 5 ping pong balls
  • empty waste basket or box
  • 3 jump ropes
  • signs at each station explaining the activity


1. Begin by challenging your students to see how many times they can flap their arms like a bird in one minute. They’ll discover that a minute of arm flapping feels like a long time!

2. Explain that a Ruby-throated Hummingbird flaps its wings over 3,ooo times a minute. It is the smallest bird found in eastern North America, and it flies non-stop for 25 hours as it migrates across the Gulf of Mexico to Mexico and Central America. That’s a long way! The hummingbird has to be in top physical condition to make the trip.

3. Direct children to “flit” from station to station around the room. At each station they will perform a bird-related physical activity. Demonstrate the activity at each station.

Station 1—Flap wings like the Ring-billed Gull: children do jumping jacks
Station 2—Peck at food like the Northern Cardinal: children reach up and down touching their toes
Station 3—Lay eggs like the Bald Eagle: children toss ping pong balls into a box or waste basket
Station 4—Hop on the ground like the American Robin: children jump rope
Station 5—Paddle in the water like the Mallard: children run in place while moving arms.

4. Divide the class into five groups and assign each group a beginning station. Play lively music and have students perform the physical activity until the music stops. When the music stops, shout “FLIT,” and have the children move to a new station. Continue playing until the children return to their beginning station.

5. Debrief the activity by asking students which feats were the easiest for them and which were the most challenging. Read the pages in The BLUES Go Birding Across America that relate to the station activities (Gull, Cardinal, Eagle, Robin, and Mallard). Be sure to also read the science notebook associated with each bird. Ask students to guess what bird flies the fastest, dives the deepest, and flies the highest. Then read about the Peregrine Falcon, White-throated Swift, Emperor Penguin, and Bar-headed Goose in The BLUES Go EXTREME Birding to find out if they’re correct.

Common Core Standards
~Reading Literature: Key Ideas and Details (k.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, 4.1, 5.1)
~Reading Informational Text: Key Ideas and Details (k.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, 4.1, 5.1)

Next Gen. Science Standards
From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes (K, 1, 3, 4, 5)

subscribe     Blog by Carol Malnor I love making connections: kids and nature, science and reading, fun and learning. I discovered the joy of connecting Dawn Publications' books with kids when I was a classroom teacher. Dawn's books were easy to incorporate into my lessons and the kids loved them. I used picture books with students of all ages, from primary school all the way up through 9th grade. Over the years, my relationship with Dawn changed and developed, and I authored Dawn’s Teacher’s Guides as well as writing books for children 4-14 years old. ARTICLE How to Use Creative Nonfiction Picture Books in Support of Common Core and Science ACTIVITIES Dawn Publications STANDARDS Common Core State Standards Next Generation Science Standards National Science Teachers Association Picture Perfect Science   OTHER FAVORITES Dawn Publications Children and Nature Network
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