Winter is a great time to do a nature study! You may think it’s too cold to be outside, but don’t let the cold temperatures deter you. We’ve had some pretty astonishingly lovely winter days here lately. So pick a nice day to get out and walk around the park or go for a nature hike and study birds.
One of the best things to study in the winter is birds. There are lots of reasons for this, and I’ll share a few of them here.
Reasons to do a Winter Bird Study
1. You can easily attract birds during the winter because they’ll be looking for good food sources. Not all birds migrate in the winter. Food supplies are low and feeding the birds around your home is an ideal way to study any common bird to your area. You’ll find out what certain birds eat just by what they are attracted to.
2. You can focus in on one bird that is common to your area in the winter. Children (and adults) learn more than just about the bird while watching over a period of time. That’s the neat thing about nature study. It brings us closer to our Creator and slows us down a bit. With regular observation, you may find that your child learns more than just what a bird eats and what color it’s eggs are. He will learn about it’s behavior. Nature speaks volumes to all of us, young or old.
3. You can do a winter bird study indoors too! I know the whole point of of nature study it to get out into your environment. But some days it really is too cold. It’s great that with birds, you can view them from your window if you place your feeders strategically. You could also consider the zoo. Why not take a field trip? They often have indoor aviaries if they are open year round and this way you can expand your bird study to birds all over the world.
Here’s a list of good winter birds to study:
- Penguins- I put to gather a great resource here for a penguin study with or without the book Mr. Popper’s Penguins.
- Black Capped Chickadee- This post includes amazing art work from my son’s 12th grade Natural History course and a few facts about this bird.
- Tundra Swans- We had a unique opportunity while living in Virginia to observe these fascinating birds all winter.
- Seabirds- This was a fun unit we did with the book Seabird. Any seabird is easy to study in the winter. If you are on the coast this may be great for you! And if your not a book like Seabird is perfect to guide your study. Plus the book contains some icy chapters.
If you have a text book or living book that has a lessons on birds, you might want to focus on it in the winter. That’s what we did last year for our homeschool co-op in which we used Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day. We covered the chapters on birds throughout the winter and insects in the fall and spring. That way we could observe insects in action while they were available outdoors.
You can use a nature journal to record your findings or use my Bird Notebook Pages and insert them into a 3 ring binder. The packet covers so many birds so you can add them as you go over the years.