A Few Common Birds and Their Nests

This is an activity / coloring page / reference drawing that can complement and expand many lessons including field trips focused on non-human architecture, birds in spring, parental care, or the importance of shelter and niche construction among certain species.

Because it’s vital that young people learn more about other species besides merely their names, I recommend that teachers and parents invest in some good books about bird behavior. I happen to like the Donald and Lillian Stokes series on this topic. Parental care, nest building, and family life in general are also beautifully described in the following two books:

Dunning, Joan. Secrets of the Nest: The Family Life of North American Birds. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1994.

Erickson, Laura, and Read, Marie. Into the Nest: Intimate Views of the Courting, Parenting, and Family Lives of Familiar Birds. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2015.

Children’s view of their world will be transformed if they can begin to realize that every bird they see flying or hopping about is actually the product of much love and attention on the part of his or her parent birds (as well as being the result of billions of years of evolution!). These little feathered wonders have survived thunderstorms, dramatic breakouts from calcium carbonate shells, and often days or weeks of abject helplessness when food was diligently ferried to them by their attentive parents. There is so much love, care and even teaching embodied in every bird – and many other living beings as well. An awareness of the personal histories, intergenerational bonds, and struggles of our fellow beings can help youngsters better appreciate the grandeur, complexity, and marvels of life.

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Here’s another coloring page focused more specifically on Baltimore Orioles, one of the few weaving birds in the NE Forestlands. These spectacularly beautiful fellows are also melodious songsters and are friends to the blossoming apple and pear trees. It’s one of spring’s joys to hear and then spot one gleaning the blossoming fruit trees for nectar, pollen, and insect troublemakers. They escape our harsh winters by returning each year to their warmer Central American homelands.

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