Learning about Idaho Birds
handout exercisesuggested grade levels:9-12
view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

Idaho has many species of birds. This activity is meant to complement a unit/chapter on birds in your curriculum. Students will be given the opportunity to become familiar with the bird section of the Digital Atlas of Idaho and will be guided to gain an understanding of the biology of Idaho's birds.

1. Students will learn how to use the bird section of the Digital Atlas of Idaho.
2. Students will be able to describe the basic characteristics and biology of birds.
3. Students will become very knowledgeable on a their choice of bird species.
4. Students will give an oral presentation on their selected species.

1. Students will go to the Digital Atlas of Idaho and click on Atlas Home, Biology, and then Birds.

2. Encourage your students to explore the pages of the bird section, read the information, and answer the questions. For a printable pdf copy of a handout you can give your students, just click below on Handout Sample.

3. Tell your students to select a bird species. They may choose their favorite species or you can help them make a choice. You may want to have them tell you their choice so you can guide them away from all choosing the same species. Students will use resources including the bird section of the Digital Atlas to do research on their species. Reports should include information on the taxonomy (order, family, genus, species), range, habitat, diet, ecology, reproduction, and conservation status of their species. Length of report should match the needs of your curriculum and grade level.

4. Each student will give a short presentation on his or her bird to the class. A range map for their species from the Digital Atlas can be printed when discussing range or distribution in Idaho. Students should be prepared to answer questions about their species from other students. To print a range map, one can also just access the species pages of an individual bird and click on distribution. A map will appear, click on the map and go to file and click on print frame.

These are links to access the handouts and printable materials.
bird1ho.pdf | bird1AK.pdf | Birds

Handout Sample:
The sample questions below are shown in the printed handout.

1. What are the main characteristics that distinguish birds from other aminals? Which characteristic is unique to birds?
2. What kinds of habitats can birds live in?
3. What are some adaptations that flying species must have?
4. What are the advantages of flight?
5. What do different types of birds eat?
6. Name and briefly describe five major orders of birds found in Idaho and give an example of each.
7. Can you tell what kind of food a bird might eat just by looking at it? What body parts can help you understand the birds diet.

Related Lesson Topics:
Biology: Birds
Biology: Biology Topics

Lesson plan by James Scannell and Stefan Sommer, 2001
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity: