Wolf Ridge


Animal Ecology
| 4th Grade - Adult
| Half Day 3 hrs
| Easy


The amazing diversity of birds will be studied with an emphasis on field observation.  Students will investigate different bird habitats using binoculars and bird identification books.  Migration and other bird lifestyles are explored through games and directed observation.  Wolf Ridge’s ambassador chickens, Chickadee Landing and/or Bird Banding give students a chance to encounter live birds close-up.

Class Outline

I. Introduction

A. Greeting/Grabber

B. Learn Names

C. Behavior Guidelines

D. Class Overview

E. Assess Learner Level

II. Bird Characteristics

III. Books and Binocs

IV. Field Observation

A. Feeder Stations

B. Trail Birding

C. Chicken Encounter

D. Thayer Birds of North America

E. Chickadee Landing

F. Seasonal Highlights

1. September-October: Raptor Migration

2. November-April: Chickadee Packs

3. May-June: Bird Songs

4. July-August: Nesting

V. Migration

A. Who, Where, How, Why

B. Migration Activity

C. Bird Populations

VI. Conclusion

A. Review

B. Stewardship

Concepts and Outcomes


  • All living and non-living components of an environment interact with one another to form an ecosystem.
  • Humans have a great ability to alter natural systems, and a responsibility to consider the effects of our actions.
  • A complex natural system is more stable than a simple one, and more able to absorb disturbances.
  • All living things acquire physical and behavioral adaptations to be successful in their environment.


Upon completion of the Birds class students will be able to:

  1. Describe adaptations that make birds unique.
  2. Demonstrate proficiency with a bird field guide.
  3. Demonstrate good binocular and bird watching techniques.
  4. Identify by sight or sound 6 or more birds found at Wolf Ridge.
  5. Describe basic bird banding procedures.
  6. List ways people can have a positive and negative impact on birds.

Standards Supported

MN Science Standard Grade Code
Objects have observable properties that can be measured. 4
Science is a way of knowing about the natural world, is done by individuals and groups, and is characterized by empirical criteria, logical argument and skeptical review. 5
Scientific inquiry requires identification of assumptions, use of critical and logical thinking, and consideration of alternative explanations. 5
Tools and mathematics help scientists and engineers see more, measure more accurately, and do things that they could not otherwise accomplish. 5
Living things are diverse with many different characteristics that enable them to grow, reproduce and survive. 5
Natural systems have many components that interact to maintain the living system. 5
Humans change environments in ways that can be either beneficial or harmful to themselves and other organisms. 5
Scientific inquiry uses multiple interrelated processes to investigate questions and propose explanations about the natural world. 7
All living organisms are composed of one or more cells which carry on the many functions needed to sustain life. 7
The flow of energy and the recycling of matter are essential to a stable ecosystem. 7
Human activity can change living organisms and ecosystems. 7
The interrelationship and interdependence of organisms generate dynamic biological communities in ecosystems. 9
Human activity has consequences on living organisms and ecosystems. 9
Engineering is a way of addressing human needs by applying science concepts and mathematical techniques to develop new products, tools, processes and systems. 9



Next Generation Standards Grade Code
Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment. 5 5-ESS3-1.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet criteria and constraints of the problem 3-5 3-5-ETS1-2
Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems. Middle School (6-8) MS-LS2-2

Extension Activities

Writing Prompts

Think about a time when you have felt overwhelmed.  How did you overcome this feeling to conquer a task?

What helps you to overcome challenges in your life?

What helped you or others to complete the ropes course?  How can you apply this to life?

Additional Activities

A collection of resources by the Cornell Lab of Orinthology that includes photos, id guides, lesson plans and more!  They also offer a excellent bird ID Application for phones.

PBS website with information about birds and great photos.