Noisy Birds in Your Backyard

NBIRD_COVER2Whether you live in the city, suburbs, or rural area, birds are some of the most common wildlife you’re likely to see…and hear! So common, in fact, it’s easy to take them for granted.

The following lesson brings birds into focus for you and your students.

This lesson is a perfect tie-in to The Great Backyard Bird 2015GBBC_ChickadeeFlyer-231x300Count, a world-wide citizen science project. Next weekend, Feb. 13-16, people from 135 countries will be counting the birds they see in their own backyards and neighborhoods. The data they post online will be compiled by scientists to create a “real time snapshot” of birds in the world.

Even if you don’t participate in the GBBC, Noisy Bird Sing-Along will engage your students and get them interested in birds.

LESSON PLAN: Gotta Have a Habitat
In this activity, students use the book Noisy Bird Sing-Along to learn about 12 common birds. In addition to illustrating bird sounds, readers learn the basic habitat requirements of birds. They then go outside to discover what bird habitat is available on their school grounds.
Note: This lesson is available as a pdf on the Dawn Publications website. 

Suggested Grade Level: K-3

~The book Noisy Bird Sing-Along
~Habitat chart to write on board (click here and scroll down the page for the chart)
~Map of school grounds, one per pair of students

Teacher Prep
~Draw a simple map of the school grounds that shows the building(s) and roads. Make copies.


  1. Read aloud Noisy Bird Sing-Along. Students will have fun making the noises for each bird!
  2. Ask: “What do birds need to survive?” List their responses on the board.
  3. Then group their responses into four categories: food, water, cover (shelter) and space. “Cover” includes nesting areas, places to sleep or rest, and places to hide or escape. “Space” includes the amount and kind of area needed to hunt, feed, and live as well as migration routes. Tell students that a “habitat” is a place that gives birds these four things that birds need to in order to survive.
  4. Read aloud Noisy Bird Sing-Along again, having students listen for the four components of a habitat. Also look at the illustrations for habitat information. After reading each page, fill in as many categories as possible on the chart. Read additional info about each bird from the back of the book  (also available here) and add to the chart. Compare the kinds of food, cover, and space each bird needs.
  5. Divide the class into pairs. Give each pair a map and pencils. Have students spread out around the school grounds to draw on the map any sources of food, water, cover, or space for birds.
  6. Back inside, have students compare their maps. Ask students what kinds of birds might be attracted to the school grounds. Ask if there is anything they could do to make their school grounds a better habitat for birds. Follow through by doing as many habitat habitat suggestions as possible.

Common Core Standards (ELA K-3)
Reading: Informational Text
~ Craft and Structure (K.1, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1)
~ Integration and Knowledge of Ideas (K.7, 1.7, 2.7, 3.7)

Next Generation Science Standards (DCI K-3)
LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
~ A: Structure and Function
~ B: Growth and Development of Organisms
~ C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
~ D: Information Processing
LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
~D: Biodiversity and Humans
ESS3: Earth’s Systems
~ A: Natural Resources

PenWoodpecker-iab-228x300 This lesson is adapted from Bird Sleuth’s Feathered Friends Activities, a collection of monthly lessons about birds. You can download an entire year of activities.

The title of this lesson is from a fun and lively song by the Banana Slug String Band.

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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