Ideas to help you connect with and learn more about birds in your backyard.

Bird’s eye view

Ideas to get you thinking about how birds experience the world.

  1. Dress for the conditions and head outside safely.
  2. Lie on your backs outside and look up at the sky.
    • What would the ground look like? Take photos from this perspective and/or draw a bird’s eye view map. You could keep photos and drawings in a nature journal.
    • Can you imagine flying through the sky? What would it feel like?
    • Which senses would you use to find your way around?
    • If you were a bird, what would you be doing today?
  3. Going further- expand your perspective by creating a bird’s eye view map of your house and/or street!

Which birds have been here?

  1. Head outside safely.
  2. Look for birds or proof of bird visits. Proof of birds may include items such as feathers, nests, eggs, eaten fruit and/or berries.
  3. Can you use the items you have found to identify what types of birds may be in your backyard?

Bird watching

What you need
  • Hat
  • Binoculars (you could make your own binoculars using cardboard rolls, wrapping paper, ribbon and tape)
  • Bird ID guide (PDF, 292K)
  • Something to suit on
  • Recording sheet and/or nature journal
  • Camera/device for taking photos
What to do
  1. Look and listen for birds and observe their behaviours. What type (species) of birds can you see and/or hear?
  2. Take photos and/or record observations in a nature journal.
  3. Repeat this activity at different times of the day. Can you find different birds? Are their behaviours different?
  4. Get involved in citizen science by participating in the Garden Bird Survey.

Sensing birds

Mind map for sensing birds.
Sensing birds mind map

After observing birds outside, record ideas about sensing birds on a mind map:

  • What birds look like – I see...
  • What birds sound like – I hear...
  • What birds smell like – I smell...
  • What birds feel like – I feel...

You could keep this in your nature journal.

Bird brained

Birds show many examples of intelligent behaviour, such as planning for the future, using different strategies for accessing food and recognising different birds and their eggs.

  1. Form a role-play, dance, story or musical interpretation of life as a bird in your green space.
  2. Create bird masks to use in your performance.
  3. Consider what food is available, where birds might spend their time, where their shelter is, any potential threats and interactions with people.

If you are interested in learning about birds, check out Experiencing birds in your green space.

Get help identifying species

Get help from scientists and fellow nature observers to identify the plants and animals in your photos by uploading them to iNaturalist, Seek and/or NZ Bird Atlas.

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