This year, back to school for students has been anything but the same ol’ migration back into classrooms, but seasonal lessons are still available even if they’re not from a school text or a formal classroom discussion. Keep your student engaged with outdoor fall activities such as backyard birding, trail hikes through local parks, and shore excursions to view the multitude of migrating birds making their way south before the cold weather hits.
Autumn is currently in full swing on the First Coast, with a dramatic fall migration upon the state of Florida that includes everything from shorebirds to songbirds. Even though many birds, including shorebirds like plovers and sandpipers, make their way to points further south, many stop along the way to feed and recharge here in Northeast Florida. Songbirds such as warblers, grosbeaks, and thrushes join the southern trek this month, while year-round residents like cardinals and doves don’t migrate, yet still find full feeders and fresh water helpful for their survival. Autumn is a great time to see many birds at the feeder, making their way to warmer areas while the temperatures in most of the country begin to drop. Luckily, the First Coast is the perfect place for birders of any age to enjoy migrating birds as well as year-round residents!
Helping children learn how to maintain a year-round birding backyard is beneficial to our entire ecosystem, and to the future of bird survival. Don’t forget to check in with your local educator and ask how you can help make classrooms, virtual or physical, a more bird-friendly place. You may be surprised to find that many schools welcome donations of feeders and bird baths for their outdoor areas.
Here are a few links to help guide learning about fall migration, feeding needs, and Halloween birding fun:
- Backyard Birding Checklist
- 7 Crafts to Get Kids Birding
- Autumn Bird Feeding
- South FL Migration Road Trip
- DIY BOO Bird Feeder
- Birds of Halloween
- Halloween at Home: Dress Like a Bird
- Birding Cosplay Podcast
- Halloween Birds Renamed
- Minimize Bird Halloween Horrors
- Bird Feeder STEM (All Grades)
- Make a Field Guide (Primary Grades)
- Bird Nonfiction Unit (Primary Grades)
- Bird Beak STEM (Upper Primary Grades)
- Bird Nests STEM (Upper Primary Grades)
- STEM Challenge (Middle Grades)
--Cristina Tuckness, Education Director, October 2020