Spring Waterfowl Migrations

Spring Waterfowl Migrations

(Grades 7,8) Ducks and Swans Identification narrated PowerPoint on YouTube, “Where’s the White?” flashcards of migrating ducks in poor light, migration highways adventures and headaches of the thousands of waterfowl seen in early spring here in the Flathead will prepare students to take a field trip to see them! (Standards MS: LS1.A, LS1.B, LS1.C, LS2.A, LS2.B, LS2.C, LS4.C, PS3.D, ESS2.C, ESS3.C, ESS3.D)

1. .Flathead Waterfowl Migrations and ID

                        PowerPoint presentation on thumb drive.

                        Teacher / student script to numbered slides

2. Migration Magic Teacher Guide (teacher FYI)

3. Migration Highways

            Using a series of large to small scale maps and a Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology         website, students draw likely migration routes for local riparian birds, identifying stopping         places, food sources on the way, specific habitats they may be looking for (north-south    mountain ridges, river systems, long valleys, etc.). They then discuss local opportunities to see this in action – Hawk Watch on Mt. Aeneas, West Valley cranes, Lower Flathead waterfowl, winter waxwings in town.

                        Map copies #9 and #10 in binder

                        #1 Montana map in tube

                        Large laminated physiographic Flathead National Forest map in tube

                        5 Laminated Flathead Valley Wetlands maps #3 in tube

                        Laminated Flathead River Canoeing map #7

                        National Geographic Bird Migration map/poster of Americas

4. Migration Adventures

            Using selected local bird paper “puppets”, students play-act the adventures and  hazards of birds on migration, and map their routes according to the timeline. (adapt. from Songbird Blues)

                        Copies from binder

5. Migration Headaches

            This is an optional activity in the sequence, similar to the previous outdoor game  but more active, concentrating on water birds, and graphing the different mortalities through different migration cycles. (adapt. from Aquatic Wild)

                        paper plates

6. “Where’s the White?”

            Waterfowl identification can be difficult because they are often distant and in poor light.    The “Where’s the White?” flashcards show that black, white and gray field marks allow ID even when color is hard to see. Students can practice for the upcoming field trip and/ or choose one duck species from the cards or posters and do a short report on that   waterfowl’s  natural history. 

                        19 “Where’s the White?” flashcards

                        handout copies of waterfowl in color

                        Western Waterfowl poster

7.  Field Trip with Audubon Volunteers

            Students and teachers will bus to the Lower Flathead River, Church Slough or Smith       Lake in late March through April to see thousands of ducks, geese and  swans and practice their ID skills with spotting scopes and binoculars

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Spring Waterfowl Migrations

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