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By Liza Barney, Science Educator, Bird Studies Canada

Artwork: Alexandre Nicole

“Cheer-up-Cheer-ily-Cheer-io! Conk-a-REEEEE! SWEEET-eeee!!!”
Spring is here, the birds are back, and their songs are filling the air! Whether your aim is to support student inquiry across the K-12 curriculum, or just to get outside, schoolyards provide a convenient study site to learn about our feathered friends. Get to know your local birdlife with upcoming programs and activities.
Schoolyard Bird Blitz
All schoolyards may look similar to the human eye, but the habitats they contain and the surrounding geography vary from school to school. As a result, different schoolyards across Canada attract different wildlife species. Which birds live in yours? Find out by joining schools across the country in an annual May bird count, the Schoolyard Bird Blitz. In addition to learning about local birds, students become ‘scientists’ responsible for conducting a survey of birds at their school and reporting the observations to Bird Studies Canada. It’s fun and easy to participate:

  1. Download your region-specific photo identification guide and bird tally.
  2. Choose any day in May.
  3. Go birdwatching around your schoolyard.
  4. Identify, count, and record all birds.
  5. Submit your observations and share your birding adventures on Twitter with @BSC_Education and #SchoolyardBirdBlitz.

Our new Schoolyard Bird Blitz poster is available! Click here to download and share.
Project NestWatch
Are birds nesting at your school? From robins in a tree, to chickadees in a nesting box, Killdeer in the parking lot, or Barn Swallows on the school wall – there are as many nest types as there are species, so keep any eye out for birds that appear regularly and for their breeding behaviours. If you find an active nest, consider monitoring it throughout the nesting cycle and reporting your observations to Project NestWatch:

  1. Register to create your (free) Project NestWatch account.
  2. Review the Project NestWatch Code of Conduct.
  3. Visit the nest and record nesting activity every three to five days.
  4. Submit your observations online or email them to

A big thank-you to Clean River Recycling for the annual donation of nesting boxes to 100 schools across Canada, and for supporting stewardship and science for birds. If you received boxes as part of the Project NestBox program, please be sure to enter the participant code during your Project NestWatch registration.
For more information on these programs, or other bird education opportunities, please contact

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