What makes a bird a bird?


This lesson developed by Reach Out!

Recommended Age: Early and later Elementary


What is a bird?

What you need:

  • Lots of different boxes—shoe boxes, shirt boxes, coat boxes, even a TV or refrigerator boxes!
  • Tubes from toilet paper and paper towels
  • Pieces of cardboard, tissue paper, crepe paper
  • coffee filters
  • feathers
  • sequins
  • yarn and string
  • glue, stapler, tape
  • Felt pens and crayons
  • Scissors
  • Encyclopedias and bird books

What to do:

  1. Think about what makes a bird a bird. All birds have a body, legs, feet with special toes to grip tree branches and bushes or webbed to swim, heads, bills or beaks (no teeth!), forelimbs that are wings, feathers.
  2. Think of a bird you really like. There are lots of different ones—flamingo, robin, turkey, eagle, ostrich, owl, hawk, cockatiel, parrot, hummingbird, penguin....
  3. Look up your bird in a bird book or encyclopedia. Take a good look at how it is built. What does its body look like?
  4. With all kinds of materials, try to make a model of your bird.

chick What is happening?

You are learning what makes a bird a bird. Birds are warm-blooded animals. Their body temperature stays pretty much the same and they need to keep decently warm like we do! They are vertebrates and that means they have a backbone. All birds are hatched from eggs. They are not born alive from their mothers. Birds don't have arms, they have wings. Some can fly, others can swim. They all have feathers. Their feet are different based on whether they swim or not, perch on a tree branch or bush, or use their claws to catch food. Some birds eat plants and insects. Others eat fish and small animals, even including other, smaller birds!

From making a model of a bird, you should know what makes a bird a bird!

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