Crows and humans are both intelligent, social creatures. Now scientists at the University of Washington have discovered that crows might hold funerals for their dead. They are using sophisticated brain scans to understand and explain this phenomena.
In order to appreciate birds students need to stop and observe. This activity is to help students notice birds around them and collect data to present in class. This activity can be a one period lesson or a more in-depth activity can take place over multiple days.
Paper and pencil
Students can work in groups of 2. Guide students to pick a bird species to observe that is common in your area - make sure it is one they will probably see. Different groups can collect data on the same type of bird at different locations. Students will go outside and observe their bird species for 20 minutes - the teacher can assign locations where they can observe or students can choose a location. Ideally, students will make 3 or more trips to the same location to make their observations - each time they will complete a separate data sheet.
Report and Share Findings
Once students have completed at least 3 data sheets they will summarize their information answering the following questions about their bird species:
Once they have all the data compiled - students will look to identify patterns. Students will share their data with the rest of the class.
Citizen Science Activity - The Great Backyard Bird Count
The Great Backyard Bird Count is an online citizen-science project launched by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to collect data on wild birds. Anyone can participate by registering and tallying the numbers and types of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count.
Bird Observation Data Sheet
Lined data sheet should include:
Questions for Students
How many birds did you see? (make a tally with straight lines)
Where are the birds? List locations ex: in a tree, on the ground, on a structure etc…
What are the birds doing? List different behaviors?
Did you notice anything unusual about any birds (behaviors, locations, markings, etc.)?
Assign directly to your students using the code or link above, without having them log in. Simply tell your students to go to
www.pbsstudents.org and enter the Assignment Code, or click on the Assignment URL to share the assignment as a link.