Astoria Park Elementary School
Tallahassee, FL
Program for Gifted Students and Able Learners
Spring 2005

Mrs. Sandy Beck ,Teacher

Ornithology for Kids
Over 9,000 different species of birds inhabit all parts of the world, from puffins in the Arctic to the birds in your backyard. And they are everywhere: soaring and diving through the clouds, flying from branch to branch, hopping on the sidewalk, singing from the trees and bushes. For all their closeness to us, birds continue to fascinate us.

Ornithology is the study of birds. One way ornithologists study different species of birds is by observation and careful note taking on bird behavior, appearance, and special adaptations. In this class, students will become ornithologists and will investigate what sets birds apart from all other creatures.




Weekly Class News and Updates
Resources: Bird Internet Links (Please check these out! They are excellent!)
Students' Weekly Homework Assignment
Students are to take their Birding Journal notebook home each week and then return it to class again every Wednesday. At home, students are to spend at least 10 minutes observing, sketching and writing about at least one new bird that they see during the week. Students will use six clues to help them identify each new bird. These clues are in their Birding Journals along with an example.
Parents' Homework Assignment
Please check our class web site with postings of class news, updates, projects and field trips. *Please remind your children to do their weekly assignment neatly and thoroughly and to return their Birding Journal notebook to school every Wednesday.
Our Birdwatching field trip to the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge will be March 16th. We will leave school at 9:30 a.m. and return at 1:30 p.m. Please contact Mrs. Beck if you can chaperone.
Term Project: Students will use PowerPoint to produce an on-line field guide to the birds they discover and observe during this class.
Bird Words puzzle - 3-5 class
Bird Words puzzle - K-2 class

What Students Will Do in This Class

Birding Journal

Students will create a Birding Journal in which they will sketch and write about the wild birds they see at school, on walks, in their backyard and on trips. They will learn how to use binoculars and field guides -- books, on-line and CD-Roms. They will learn how to recognize at least 20 common Florida birds, both residents and migrants, and participate in the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission's Wings Over Florida certificate program.




Feathered Dinosaurs?

Most scientists agree that the birds we know today first appeared 65 million years ago, about the same time that the huge dinosaurs disappeared. Students will investigate theories of how the first birds evolved. Could dinosaurs be the ancestors of today's birds, like this 130 million-year-old Dromaeosaur (photo on left) covered in feathers it used to keep warm?


Students will brainstorm characteristics that all modern birds have in common then study these adaptations which have enabled them to survive. They will learn how birds communicate through specialized songs, calls, and displays. Students will also learn how birds fly and experiment with paper airplanes.

Migration Mysteries

They will ponder the mysteries of migration.

Live Birds

They will also meet and learn about live, permanently injured birds of prey from the St. Francis Wildlife Association and learn how to recognize several different birds of prey.

Birding Field Trips

There will be a field trip to the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge where students will have the opportunity to observe and learn about nesting bald eagles and other magnificent birds: March 16th.

On Saturday April 9th, I recommend attending the Pinewoods Birding Festival at the historic Pebble Hill Plantation.

On Saturday, April 22nd - 24th, parents and students are encouraged to attend the Wakulla Birding and Wildlife Festival at Wakulla Springs.

On Saturday, May 15th, St. Francis Wildlife will present the 2nd Annual Tallahassee Wildlife Festival's "Wildlife Art in the Park" in Ponce de Leon Park, N. Monroe Street and Park Avenue.

Innovative Wild Art

Using a variety of beans and birdseed, students will create a mosaic of a favorite species.

On-line Field Guide

Students will use PowerPoint to produce an on-line field guide to the birds they discover and observe during this class.

e-mail Sandy Beck

The Wild Classroom