Pre-Lesson Plan Prior to taking part in the Winged Migration program at Tommy Thompson Park it is recommended that you complete the following lessons to familiarize your students with some of the birds they might see and some of the concepts they will learn during their field trip. The lessons can easily be integrated into your Science, Language Arts, Social Studies and Physical Education programs. Part 1: Amazing Birds As a class, read the provided “Wanted” posters. The posters depict a very small sampling of some of the amazing feats and features of birds. To complement these readings, display the following websites so that students can see some of these birds “up close.” Common Loon http://www.schollphoto.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=1 Black-Capped Chickadee http://sdakotabirds.com/species_photos/black_capped_chickadee.htm Ruby-Throated Hummingbird http://www.surfbirds.com/cgi-bin/gallery/search2.cgi?species=Ruby- throated%20Hummingbird Downy Woodpecker http://www.pbase.com/billko/downy_woodpecker Great Horned Owl www.owling.com/Great_Horned.htm When you visit Tommy Thompson Park, you may see chickadees, hummingbirds, and woodpeckers. These birds all breed in southern Ontario. However, you probably will not see a Great Horned Owl, because this specific bird is usually flying around at night. Below is a list of some other birds students might see when they visit Tommy Thompson Park. Have them chose one bird each and write a “Wanted” poster for it, focusing on a cool fact about that bird. Some web sites that will help them get started are: www.birds.cornell.edu visit the Bird Guide in “All About Birds” http://wildspace.ec.gc.ca www.borealforest.org/world/birds.htm Breeding Bird Species at Tommy Thompson Park: Double-crested Cormorant Great Blue Heron Great Egret Green Heron Black-crowned Night Heron Canada Goose Mute Swan Gadwall American black Duck Mallard Blue-winged Teal Canvasback Eastern Wood Pewee Willow Flycatcher Least Flycatcher Eastern Kingbird Warbling Vireo American Crow Horned Lark Tree Swallow Northern Rough-winged Swallow Bank Swallow Barn Swallow House Wren Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Gray Catbird Brown Thrasher European Starling Wilson’s Phalarope Ring-Billed Gull California Gull Herring Gull Great Black-backed Gull Caspian Tern Common Tern Rock Pigeon Mourning Dove Black-billed Cuckoo Belted Kingfisher Northern Flicker Hooded Merganser American Kestrel Ring-necked Pheasant Virginia Rail Sora Killdeer Spotted Sandpiper Cedar Waxwing Yellow Warbler Common Yellowthroat Savannah Sparrow Song Sparrow Northern Cardinal Red-winged Blackbird Eastern Meadowlark Common Grackle Brown-headed Cowbird Orchard Oriole Baltimore Oriole House Finch American Goldfinch House Sparrow American Robin Peregrine Falcon Part 2: Identifying and Classifying Birds Birds are from the animal kingdom and since they have backbones, they belong to the phylum Chordata. The Chordata phylum is broken down into classes, one of them being birds. Birds are then broken into about 30 different orders, depending on their characteristics. Some common orders of birds include: Doves, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, passerines (perching birds), owls, waterfowl Each order has something special about it. For example, birds that are in the woodpecker order have chisel-like beaks and feet with two toes in the front and two toes in the back. The birds found in the dove order (which includes pigeons) have a strange, short beak with a hard tip that is wider than the middle of the beak. Each order of birds has its own unique characteristics, so if we know what order a bird is part of, we will know some interesting facts about it. As well, many bird identification field guides are set up by placing birds of the same order, family and genus together. So, if you know the order the bird is classified into, you know which part of the book to look in. Ask students to fill in the following classification chart for the bird in which they created the “Wanted” poster. (students can do a search on the following website to discover how their bird is classified: http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Aves.html ) Kingdom: _____________________________ Phylum: _____________________________ Class: _____________________________ Order: _____________________________ Family: _____________________________ Genus: _____________________________ Species: _____________________________ Where do scientific names come from? ______________________________________________________________________ ____ (the genus and species names put together) Birders use a system called the “S System” to help them identify birds (see attached). Using the information from the “S system,” birds can be identified and classified into “orders” of birds that have similar features. Working in pairs or groups of three, cut out the pictures of birds found on the following pages. Sort the pictures into as many different groups that you think make sense, using some of the categories from the “S System.” The groups can have as few as one bird in them. Explain why you classified them the way you did. As a class, discuss the different ways that the students classified their birds. (Some characteristics students may have picked up on to help them classify the birds are: shape and size of bill, shape and function of feet, body shape, location [water, perched on tree], or distinct markings) The birds depicted in the pictures are birds students might see on their trip (or in their backyards). As a class, see how many you can name: (From the top left-hand corner, going left to right: Evening Grosbeak, Common Tern, Black-capped Chickadee, Blue Jay, Common Loon, Belted Kingfisher, Canada Goose, Northern Cardinal, Wood Duck, Eastern Meadowlark, Great Horned Owl, Great Blue Heron) Was anyone able to classify them according to their order? ORDER SPECIES Passeriformes (perching birds) Evening Grosbeak Black-capped Chickadee Blue Jay Northern Cardinal Charadriiformes (shorebirds and allies) Common Tern Gaviiformes (loons and divers) Common Loon Coraciiformes (kingfishers and relatives) Belted Kingfisher Anseriformes (waterfowl) Canada Goose Wood Duck Strigiformes (owls) Great Horned Owl Ciconiiformes (storks, herons and relatives) Great Blue Heron There are many different types of birds and each bird has its own “niche” in the ecosystem. They may eat different foods, live in different environments (i.e. the top of the tree versus the bottom of the tree), and have different predators, or there may be some overlap. Having many different types of birds (or plants or other types of animals) in one area contributes to the biodiversity of the ecosystem. Tommy Thompson Park is an important birding area with a large amount of biodiversity. As a class, discuss what this means and why biodiversity is so important. Part 3: Migration Most birds fly south for the winter and then travel north every spring to breed. Birds typically travel along one of the “flyways” as they move between their over-wintering and breeding grounds. The four flyways in North America are referred to as the: Atlantic Flyway Central Flyway Mississippi Flyway Pacific Flyway On the attached map, label each flyway. (From left to right – Pacific Flyway, Central Flyway, Mississippi Flyway, Atlantic Flyway) Birds are quite extraordinary, in that they are able to migrate long distances every year, often ending up at the exact pond or breeding ground where they were born. They don’t have maps, and the landscape is constantly changing at the hands of humans, so how do they know how to get there? There are several theories as to how birds are able to find their way from their breeding to their over-wintering grounds. Some feel that birds do use sight, and follow large rivers, coastlines or mountain ranges. It has also been discovered that birds have a small amount of magnetite in their heads, so they may be able to function like a compass, following magnetic north. Another hypothesis is that birds use the position of the sun and stars to guide them. They may even use their sense of smell. However they do it, birds are remarkable creatures, overcoming many obstacles on their long journey.