Be a Birdseed Detective

What You Need:

  • 3 or more types of birdseed or nuts such as millet, sunflower seeds, or thistle
  • 3 or more shallow bowls (one for each kind of birdseed)
  • Measuring cups
  • Paper
  • Pencil

What You Do:

  1. Ask your child to measure out one cup of each type of birdseed and place it in the shallow bowls, one type of seed per bowl.
  2. Go into the backyard and help your child find three different places to set the bowls. Try to find spots that are open and easily accessible to birds and are all on the same level.
  3. Have your child record the setup of the experiment on paper, then ask her to come up with a hypothesis that describes what she thinks the outcome of the experiment will be. Which kind of birdseed does she think will be eaten the fastest?
  4. Every day for a week, go outside with your child to observe the experiment and record her findings. Are the birds eating one kind of seed but not another?
  5. After one week, have your child record the final results. Which seed was most popular?
  6. Now do a little detective work to figure out what kinds of birds are local to your area. Do an online search to find which birds like to eat the kind of birdseed that was most popular in your experiment. What are your findings?

If you're feeling ambitious, try the experiment again with a new type of birdseed or change up the birdseed altogether.

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