In case you stopped by looking for craft, or cookie ideas, don't worry - more are on the way. But, this morning we're busily cutting, and gluing pictures of some of the most common, and abundant birds in our area, onto note sized flashcards. We had so much fun looking for nests on Sunday, and we spotted a number of birds in the process, but realized pretty quickly how few of them we could actually identify.
There are 800 species of birds in North America, and according to Stan Tekiela, in the introduction to Birds of Montana (a guide we've found useful enough to purchase), there are 350 species in Montana alone. 136 of the most common are included in his field guide.
That's a lot of birds to get to know. Too many really for beginning birders. We needed to narrow down the list.
First, we started by finding a checklist of local birds, local as in those found in our county, from The Northern Prairie Wildlife Center online. They seem to have regional lists for all fifty states, so you might want to check them out, if you're planning any bird watching in the States.
Secondly, I highlighted all the birds marked as common, or abundant on the list. That narrowed our list of birds to seventy-five, which isn't too bad, when you consider many of them are birds of prey, or water birds, we probably won't be seeing in our backyard.
Then, I went through the list, searching for, and copying pictures online, mainly from Wikipedia, to make a personal database of pictures, that we can print out as wallet sized photos, for flashcards, or to cutout, and glue to construction paper for place mats, or posters...
...or as smaller thumbprint sized photos, to make jello-backed stickers, to add to our nature notebooks, as we spot the various birds this summer.
It's great to be a homeschooler.