Spring Waterfowl Migrations
* This kit is reserved in March / April for maximum one-week use by school classes in our 7th-8th grade Spring Waterfowl Migrations learning sequence.
(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)
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