This Saturday, May 14th, Sylvan Heights will be celebrating International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD). Developed by the non-profit, Environment for the Americas, this program is the only international education program that highlights and celebrates the migration of nearly 350 species of migratory birds between nesting habitats in North America and non-breeding grounds in Latin America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
Migration is simply defined as the seasonal movement from one place to another. The main reason that birds (or most animals, for that matter) migrate is to find food. You might be surprised to learn that many species, like songbirds, shorebirds, and some waterfowl, migrate (fly) at night when the air temperature is cooler and predators like hawks are less active.
And since most waterfowl are migratory species, this makes Sylvan Heights the perfect location for learning about the migration process. In addition, before coming out to the park on Saturday, you might enjoy visiting the official IMBD website and downloading some of their free education materials. The website is a WEALTH of information for both adults and children. There you will find fact sheets, coloring pages, as well as games & activities on a variety of topics including bird basics, migration, and habitats, to name a few. Be sure to investigate the themes of previous years, as you will find additional educational resources on those webpages, too.
Here are some additional lesson plans on the topic of bird migration:
• Hopscotch Migration (Grades K-6)
• Bird Migration (Grades 5-8)
• Songbirds at the Crossroads of Migration (High School)
You can also learn a lot at the online Smithsonian's Migratory Bird Center. (I love their Migration Game!)
And finally, here are some great books on this topic:
by Mary Cuffe-Perez