Bird migration, appreciation offer educational opportunities
Though most of the nation has halted travel and started practicing social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, birds across Nebraska have something very different in mind: Migration and in big numbers.
Which is good news for Nebraskans seeking ways to keep busy during these unprecedented times where many are working from home and teaching now stay-at-home children in the face of school closures. With a few resources created by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission or partner agencies, Nebraskans can embrace science education and Nebraska’s role along the Central Flyway migration path.
So grab a pair of binoculars, head outdoors, and celebrate birds.
Nebraska Bird Library
The Nebraska Bird Library offers online resources to help Nebraskans identify and learn more about more than 400 species of birds found in the state. Users can search by bird characteristics — size, color, region and habitat; common name; or bird group, and also can gain tips on how to identify birds through anatomy. Find the bird library at nebraskabirdlibrary.org.
Project Beak offers online lesson plans and activities focused on teaching children about Nebraska’s bird species. Users can learn birdwatching basics; discover information on Nebraska’s at-risk and rare bird species; play interactive games; and even learn the history of bird feathers in fashion. Most curriculum and activities can be adapted for a variety of ages. Learn more at projectbeak.org.
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Game and Parks also makes available a plethora of lesson plans ranging from birds to pollinators to soil and worms. Find background information, presentation materials and lesson plans, adaptable for a variety of ages, at outdoornebraska.gov/lessonplans.
Watch our live bird cams
For those who’d rather stay indoors, Game and Parks and our partners Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary offer live bird cam streams. Watch Game and Park’s resident American Kestrel, the most common and smallest falcon in North America, at outdoornebraska.gov/kestrelcam; our falconcam focused on the peregrine falcon nest box on the eighteen floor of the Nebraska State Capitol at outdoornebraska.gov/falconcam; or the spring Sandhill Crane activity at rowe.audubon.org/birds/crane-cam. Then head back to the above resources to learn about more about the species.
Nebraska Bird Month
Though Nebraska Bird Month activities have been cancelled, Game and Parks encourages Nebraskans to continue the celebration of our state birds through bird appreciation. Nebraska’s state park areas and wildlife areas remain open-space landscapes that offer opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, see wildlife and escape boredom. Learn more at OutdoorNebraska.org.