This activity is suitable for Key Stage 1 and pupils with special educational needs or disabilities.

Identify and name a variety of the birds in the park and recognise differences in their bodies, diets and habitats.  A very sensory session which encourages children to think about sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.

Which season is best for this activity?

This activity could easily be done at any time of year, as most of our native birds in the Park don’t head south in winter, they stay here. Birds adapt to the different seasons, which will affect what we see on the day.

This activity encourages children to identify birds in their natural environment

Learning objectives and links to the national curriculum Programme of Study

The content of this activity should involve pupils in using the following practical scientific methods, processes or skills:

1. asking simple questions and recognising that they can be answered in different ways
2. observing closely, using simple equipment
3. performing simple tests
4. identifying and classifying
5. using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions
6. gathering and recording data to help in answering questions.

The session links directly to these National Curriculum Science Programmes of Study:

  • Key Stage 1 Animals including humans; Seasonal changes
  • Key Stage 2 Animals including humans; Living Things and their Habitats

Outline of the activity

This activity comprises four parts:
1. In the classroom, look at pictures of common birds. Look at some of their physical characteristics, how they have adapted to suit their diet and environment e.g. plumage of male and female birds; Duck feet vs Robin feet; bill shape to suit diet.

Out in the Park or on the Nature Trail
2. Play the camouflage game – designed to show the importance of camouflage in nature
3. Observe and identify common birds using our bird feeding station. Record data on species seen, this data can be taken back to school in the recording booklet.
4. Make two bird feeders to take back to school, to use back at school and reinforce this learning.

This is also an excellent sensory activity for children with special needs. We use feathers and nesting material to explore touch, bird song to stimulate hearing and activity on our bird feeders to see the birds.

Ideas for pre-visit learning

Before bringing a group to do this activity, here are a few ideas to help introduce the topic of birds:

  • Ask the children to talk about what they know about birds
  • Do any of them have bird feeders in their garden?
  • Does anyone have a nest box in their garden?
  • Do they know the names of any common birds?
  • What do birds eat?
  • Do you see any birds from your classroom window?

Ideas for follow up work back at school.

  • Draw up a data record sheet for the birds seen on the day.
  • Look up the birds that were seen and draw one or two of them.
  • Put up the feeders you made and record the birds that visit the feeders. This data can be put into bar or pie charts.