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All About Bird Anatomy

Found In: science, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

All About Bird Biology is a visually engaging resource for learning about birds and biology for general science and biology teachers and students in grades 5-12, though if projected on a whiteboard and read aloud the website could be used with younger students. It is a companion website for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s, All About Birds. The website features interactives, animated slides, multimedia, and articles. The website has just launched and opened with a chapter on Feathers. Bird Song and Fancy Males are being developed.

All About Feathers opens with an interactive examination of feathers that describes how feathers are constructed, feather functions, feather evolution from dinosaurs to the present, and how the male Club-winged Manakin uses its feathers for producing sound. The section of How Feathers Are Built  is representative. The five types of feathers are illustrated and described, and terms are defined. A zoom lets students see minute feather features. A flip & guess activity gives students a chance to identify the function of certain feathers.

The section, Meet a Feather Scientist, is a series of videos with Cornell researcher Kim Bostwick. Bostwick describes her nearly twenty-year process of discovering how the Club-winged Manakin uses its wings to sing. A discussion of feather anatomy and frequency shows how mathematical analysis was applied.


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Counting Birds

Lois Weber, a retired teacher assiting at Sutherland Elementary in Palm Harbor, Florida

With this classroom activity, students participate in a birding event in which they count birds, draw pictures, and write stories.