Monday, November 18, 2019

Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Education Website

Do you have a young conservationist in your home? Or a bird lover? Or are you trying to incorporate more lessons in your classroom that talk about nature, conservation, and citizen science projects?

Then Cornell Lab of Ornithology's education website needs to be on your go-to list.

It is one of the best avian education sites for students. I've been using their citizen science projects for years with my kids. And I recently started following their Facebook page.  

Sot let me tell you about the resources they offer.

Bird Academy

Bird Academy is the section of their site that offers online, interactive learning courses, videos, and games. Registration is free, but not all the courses are. 

I haven't actually used this section, so all of this information is based on what I read on the website. But it looks like there's a nice selection of online courses, including:
  • eBird Essentials (FREE)
  • Understanding Bird Behavior
  • Feeder Birds: Identification and Behavior (of the birds that come to your backyard bird feeder)
  • How to Identify Bird Songs
  • Nature Journaling and Field Sketching
  • and more...
You can complete these courses at your own pace. I think that most of them come with recorded lectures and learning games. 

These are awesome! This section has 175 videos about birds that are found around the world. It's easy to filter them by one or more of the 12 topics listed in the sidebar. These topics include migration, anatomy, habitat, behavior, etc. They are fascinating looks into the lives of birds with experts who explain behavior, 

Here are two examples:

I love these so much! I'm not sure that I would call all of them games, though. Some are just really interactive powerpoints and videos. Most are geared for kids 13 and older, but there are some for younger children. They teach kids about bird anatomy, songs, behavior, and more. My favorite is All About Feathers and the section on Meet a Feather Scientist. FASCINATING!!

This section is the jackpot for educators! And for those of you wondering, yes, they have an area just for Spanish-speakers.

It's also divided up into different areas:


Here is where you'll find everything from free curricula to all-inclusive kits for K - 12 students. They've made it easier for you to find what you need by dividing the grades up into the following:
  • K - 2
  • 3 - 5
  • 6 - 8
  • 9 - 12


This part of the site is just for teachers. Here's where you'll find free webinars, online courses, educator retreats, credit options and where you can find trainers in your area.

My son a few years ago participating in Project FeederWatch, a citizen science project.


This area is full of stories about citizen science, habitat improvements, bird investigations, and more. You'll discover what incredible educators like you are doing around the world. You can even share your own story.

BirdSleuth Investigator

The latest issue of the student magazine, BirdSleuth Investigator, is available as a free download! I just downloaded it myself and it is such a great resource for kids. Written and illustrated by kids around the country, this magazine shares their research projects that are the result of their burning curiosity. You can also find out how your students can get their work published in next year's issue.

The digital version is free, although you can purchase a hard copy in the store.


Of course, sometimes as educators, we need materials that we can hold in our hands to reference or use to teach. You can find supplemental materials like these in their online shop.


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