If you’re anything like me, you may find it difficult to be consistent with Nature Study once the temperature drops and the snow starts to fly. Some years, I abandon our nature studies and hold on to the hope of spring while watching my children play outside through the window. Motivating myself to get outside and do nature study in winter is hard!
While getting outside in nature with your children is certainly preferable, you could try studying nature through your window this winter! And you may actually have more luck studying birds from the inside of your warm house than by going outside and scaring them all away.
I was amazed to see how many more birds we saw last winter after installing my dad’s homemade, squirrel proof bird feeder! We had a tree full of blue jays every day — unless they were chased away by the woodpeckers. Compare that to the previous winter where we spotted only the occasional blue jay in the woods beyond our fence (too far for observing) and one woodpecker on a neighbour’s tree.
Our favourite winter visitors are blue jays, chickadees, woodpeckers, and cardinals. We’ve even had the opportunity to observe snowy owls, though this was through the window of our car, not our home.
Winter is a great opportunity to explore which birds migrate to or from your area and what they eat during those cold winter months. So set up a bird feeder within viewing range of your window, and stay cozy while enjoying nature study this winter!
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Some of our favourite resources for studying birds are:
Peterson’s Field Guides – We have this old, out of print version that I purchased years ago at a library sale. Best dollar I ever spent!
Peterson’s Field Guide Coloring Book – This book has colouring pages, stickers, and information about many common, backyard birds. We use the drawings and trace them into our nature notebooks.
Peterson Birds – A Field Guide to Birds of North American – This app is amazing! It is so handy to have when you are away from home without your field guide. It has an easy search feature to help you identify the birds you see, keeps track of your personal sightings of each bird, and will even play the birds’ calls!
Handbook of Nature Study – This classic homeschool nature study resource has a lot of information on studying birds with your young students. It contains information about bird anatomy, habitat, migration, and attracting birds. This book is not a field guide and is HUGE, you won’t likely want to take this one with you into the field.
Notebooking Pages – NotebookingPages.com has a printable Nature Study Notebook, as well as North American Birds Notebooking Pages. We’ve enjoyed the nature study pages. If you are interested at all in their products, you can try out a free membership!
We also love to add art to our nature notebooks using these great online resources:
What is your favourite way to study nature in the winter?