A Day in the Life of a Bird


Lesson adapted from Exploring the Secret of the Meadow Thicket

Spring is here! And Summer is not far behind, which means birds are more active now than any time of year! What can you learn about a bird from observing them for a day? Let’s find out!


  • Pen or pencil
  • Nature Journal
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Bird Identification Guide (optional)

Doing the activity:

  • Start by writing down some questions that you have about a bird’s daily behavior. 
  • Head outside and look for a bird! You can choose any bird you please, however, be aware if you are deep in a forest, it might be hard to see the bird in the treetops! An open area might be best for this observation activity. 
  • Once you spot the bird, get ready to sit for a while and make observations. You can sit for 30 minutes, or the whole day!
  • Below are a few observations to consider, but remember the questions you came up with as well, and try to answer those from watching the bird. 
    • Appearance & Flight; 
      • What does it look like?
      • How does it flap its wings when in flight? Is there a pattern to it?
      • How and where does it land?
    • Behavior & Communication;
      • What kind of behavior does the bird exhibit when defending its territory?
      • Does a pair of birds guard the nest or feed young? How do they act?
      • How do they communicate to each other?
    • Hunting / Foraging;
      • What kind of food does the bird hunt/forage for?
      • How far does it go from its perch and where does it go?
      • How much time does it spend eating and gathering food?
    • Adaptations;
      • What special adaptation does the bird have for camouflage?
      • For flying?
      • For protection?
      • For communication?
    • Habitat;
      • What habitat has the bird chosen for a nesting site?
      • For food gathering?
  • Map it!
    • Create a map of the area where the bird lives. Include the nest site, how far the bird flies to get food, and how much territory the bird defends.
  • Take it further! Identify the bird!
    • Reference VINS’ Backyard Birding & Citizen Science lesson on www.vinsweb.org under “At-Home Education Resources” to learn the 4 simple steps to identifying birds!

Contact education@vinsweb.org with questions or comments.