Before Twitter, birds were the ones tweeting, not humans. Have your child discover the magical sounds of nature with this activity that lets him record an entire playlist of bird songs, calls, and chirps.
What You Need:
- Tape recorder with cassette or a smart phone recording app
- Internet with audio player
- Optional: binoculars
What You Do:
- Research bird sounds on the Internet together to familiarize yourselves with what bird makes what sound. For example, a chickadee actually sings a song that sounds like “Chick-a-dee-dee-dee!”
- Help your child prepare a tape recorder or a smart phone so it will be ready to record bird sounds when you go outside.
- Explain some facts about bird sounds. Scientists categorize bird sounds into two main groups, “calls” and “songs.” Calls are when birds send alarm messages or alert other birds to their presence; all birds make calls. Songs are only made by certain types of birds known as songbirds. Songbirds use songs to recognize each other, claim an area for nesting, or to attract female birds.
- Talk a walk with your child to a nearby park, wooded area, lake, or other place where birds will be heard.
- Your child can choose when to turn on (and off) the recorder as both of you begin to get in range of birds' calls and songs. He may wish to record his own introduction to bird sounds.
- If he brought binoculars, he can try to spot the singing birds to help with bird sound identification.
- After you get back home, listen to the recording and have your musical dj create a “playlist” to go with it, writing down his own special notes and observations about each song.
- Enjoy your musical collection, Rockin’ Robin!
Beth Levin has an M.A. in Curriculum and Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She has written educational activities for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill and Renaissance Learning publishers. She has a substitute teaching credential for grades K-12 in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.