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Wings Over Arkansas, Grades Pre K – 3rd (FBCEC)

TopicLaboratory and Hands-on Activities - Arts and Crafts
Laboratory and Hands-on Activities - General
Outdoor Skills - Identification
Outdoor Skills - Watching Wildlife
Wildlife - Birds
Participants will use field guides, binoculars and other resources to learn how to identify birds. They will practice identification by ear as well. They will also be introduced to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Wings Over Arkansas program.
Grade LevelPre K - 3
Recommended SettingIndoor or outdoor classroom
LocationFred Berry Conservation Education Center, Yellville, AR
Education Program Coordinator, 870-449-3484
Duration1 - 1.5 hours
Suggested Number of ParticipantsUp to 20
Special Conditions
Outdoor area is needed for practice. Active bird feeders are useful.
  • Use sight and sound to identify local birds.
  • Experience using binoculars.
  • Be able to pick species-appropriate colors to complete bird pictures.
Key Terms*


Bird song


Field marks




Arkansas backyard birds mini field guides


Bird identification cards

Bird song recordings or Identiflyer with song cards

Coloring sheets of five common birds

Tongue depressors, five per participant

Wood glue or hot glue

Optional: AGFC backyard birds poster


Anyone who has watched the activity at a birdfeeder or birds of prey soar has participated in birding. Those who often take notice at an early age develop a lifelong interest. Birds are diverse and beautiful, and while watching them can sometimes be quite challenging, many species are easy to view. Learning a few viewing and identification skills can enrich the experience.

  1. Begin by playing some bird songs. Don’t tell them what you are doing. Just start the recordings, and when a common bird is heard, hold up a picture of the bird making the call. Do this for a minute or so without saying anything.
  2. Ask what they think you were doing. One will probably guess. Tell them they are going to learn how to identify five birds found near Crooked Creek and their songs (for very young, try three).
  3. Hold up a bird card and ask them what they notice about the bird. Record their responses on a dry erase board. Tell them the things they are noticing are called field markings and help birders identify birds.
  4. Show them one bird at a time, telling them the name and asking them what field markings they notice. Record their responses until all five birds have been introduced. As each bird is introduced, pass out the color sheet and let them color it to look like the bird.
  5. When they are coloring, make sure they understand it does not have to look just like the bird, just so they know what it is. For example, they wouldn’t color a cardinal purple, or make a chickadee have a red head.
  6. As they are coloring, play the bird’s song a few times.
  7. Let them cut out the pictures and glue them on the tongue depressors.
  8. Tell them they will be playing a game in which they will use their puppets to identify the calls made by the various birds.
  9. Play a call, and when the participant thinks he/she knows what it is, have him/her hold up the corresponding puppet. Play the game for as long as they seem interested.
  10. Pass out binoculars and go outside, looking for the birds they have learned about. After the activity, let them describe where they saw the birds, and if there is time, let them draw a picture of what they saw.
  11. Read a book or sing songs about birds. (Have participants share the songs they know about birds.)

Back from the Argentine and 65290 tasks cards from the Leopold Education Project.

  • Explain how binoculars help birders.
  • What are field markings?
  • Describe two or three field markings for the northern cardinal.

Binoculars – two identical telescopes mounted side by side and aligned to point accurately in the same direction, allowing the viewer to use both eyes (binocular vision) when viewing distant objects; also known as field glasses


Bird song – vocalizations that are melodious to the human ear; in ornithology, bird “songs” are often distinguished from shorter sounds termed “calls”


Birder – a person who studies birds in their natural habitats as a hobby, usually from a distance using binoculars; also called birdwatcher


Field marks – distinguishing marks or coloration on a bird


Identification – assigning a pre-existing individual or class name t an individual organism


Species – biological classification of plants and animals immediately below the genus level