Which birds live in your schoolyard? Join students and teachers across Canada who are exploring their schoolyards, identifying and counting local birds, and sharing the results.
The Schoolyard Bird Blitz is fun for all ages and it’s easy for your school to participate. Your observations actually help scientists monitor Canada’s birds!
1. Prepare for your bird count:
Once you’ve registered, the following ideas and resources will help you learn about birds and get started with your Bird Blitz.
- Download your region-specific Bird ID Guide from Birds Canada. Print a card in colour, double-sided, for each student. You may choose to laminate the cards for use outside or subsequent activities.
- Print a Bird Tally form to record observations during your bird count.
- Encourage students to bring in field guides, binoculars, or posters from home to assist with bird identification.
You can improve your Schoolyard Bird Blitz and take your bird learning experience even further with these ideas:
- Engage with a birder – invite any birding parents to help with the count, or connect with your local naturalist club for a volunteer.
- Knowledge Building Circle – Prepare for your bird studies by sharing classroom knowledge about birds. Pass around a feather or other bird-themed object for each student to share a word or topic about birds. Build and display your classroom bird word wall or organize into a mind map.
- Classroom Bird Experts – Choose a local bird species for each student to research for a presentation or display. Collectively, you will be a classroom of bird experts!
- Birds and Technology – Check out these great resources to assist with identification or research activities: Hinterland Who’s Who, All About Birds, iBird Canada App, Merlin Bird ID App, eBird Canada.
- Bird Bulletin Board – Display bird posters, a sightings list, news items, bird facts, photos, and art on a school bulletin board. Share photos with other classes using the hashtag #BirdBulletinBoard!
2. Search for and count birds:
- Choose any day in May to conduct your bird count, or participate several times throughout the month.
- Observe birds for as little as 15 minutes, or all day!
- Designate one student to record group observations on the Bird Tally form.
- Travel around your schoolyard or neighbourhood as a large group, or separate into smaller groups. Try to reach all the different habitats that make up your schoolyard.
- Identify and count all the birds you see at your schoolyard or surrounding neighbourhood. Try not to double-count moving birds!
- Use the Bird Tally form to help keep track of your observations.
Tips for finding and identifying birds:
- Use binoculars if available and a camera to take photos of birds.
- Encourage students to be observant, using eyes and ears to find birds. Birds can be found on the ground foraging for food, taking shelter in shrubs or trees, flying across the yard or high up in the sky!
- Take note of size, shape, colors and patterns, songs and calls, behaviors and habitats of birds
- Cross reference your observations with a field guide or use the Merlin Bird ID app to help identify birds by sound.
- Be aware of repeat observations during your count period. Try not to double-count moving birds!
3. Report and share your observations:
Register or log in to NatureCounts to submit your bird observations.
VIEW BIRD DATA
Explore the birds reported from your province or across Canada!
Be social! Tag us with your Bird Blitz adventures here: