Pre-Lesson Plan

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Pre-Lesson Plan Powered By Docstoc
					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

Black-Capped Chickadee

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Downy Woodpecker

Great Horned Owl

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: visit the Bird Guide in “All About Birds”

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

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: )

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

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.

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