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The mysteries of bird migration come to life in this activity that takes a class outside to model the movement of North American bird species between their wintering habitat and Arctic nesting grounds. As students "fly" along migration pathways, they gain a sense of the length of these journeys and the vital role of stopover habitats to sustain birds until they reach their destination. This resource fosters curiosity and wonder about the natural world as students learn how seasonal movements of animals are related to environmental changes.
This resource supports learning about habitats and animal life cycles. Students also use numeracy skills to count and track steps to evaluate distances and there are many opportunities to strengthen vocabulary. The activity could become part of a comprehensive bird teaching unit where a class selects a local migratory species for an in-depth study of physical characteristics, adaptations, habitat requirements and movement patterns.
Since many bird species migrate at night they face the constant danger of collisions with man-made structures like windows in buildings. To extend their learning students could develop an action project where they communicate with local homeowners and businesses about simple strategies for reducing bird strikes.
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