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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Few Resources for Learning About Birds

About a week ago while walking my dogs I started to notice the sounds of birds returning my neighborhood. This morning a little fluffy bird landed outside my window stayed long enough for me to take a grainy picture of it. If you live in a northern climate like me, you and your students are probably starting to see the birds return too. Here are some resources for teaching and learning about birds.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers more than 7,500 hours of recordings of nearly 9,000 bird callss. The recordings are published on the Macaulay Library site. You can browse for recordings recommended by Macaulay Library or you can search for a bird by name. When you find a recording you can also see a Google Map of where the recording was made. While the recordings cannot be downloaded for free they can be heard for free. Click here for an example.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a YouTube channel that offers some nice mini documentaries about birds. I've embedded a video about Snowy Owls below.



Untamed Science offers a nice video about bird migrations. Physics of Bird Migration provides some short explanations of why birds fly in V formations, how they navigate thousands of miles and return to the same places every year, and how they prepare for a long migration. The short video is embedded below.



The Canadian Museum of Nature hosts a good collection of online games and animations about mammals, birds, and dinosaurs. A few of the games and animations are Canada-specific, but those and all of the others have a broad appeal. The three games that I tried were focused on the adaptations of animals to their environments. In the mammals section I played a game about the adaptations of polar bears and grizzly bears to their environments. In the birds section I played a matching game in which I had to pair the beak of a bird to the adaptation it represented. And in the fossils section I viewed an animation through which I learned how horned dinosaurs eat their food.