• Bird Studies in Talca, Chile

    Learn more about their winning project “Riqueza, Abundancia y Frecuencia de la Avifauna del Matorral Costero, en Epoca Invernal de la Provincia de Talca” by students from the Complejo Educacional de Pencahue. Grupo Talca students also presented stellar work at the science fair.

    Participants win first prize in science fair

    Students Win First Prize in Science Fair

    We have been working with students from an agricultural establishment located in one of our 2 mountain ranges called “de la Costa” (scrubs that are part of the forest in the Mediterranean zone). We have been very involved in the methodology of studying urban birds and have created a study of birds of the Coastal Scrub and cultivation fields that are part of our city of Talca.

    Students identify birds with binoculars
    To date we have information from various places, each student collects weekly data from the place where they live (the majority of students live in faraway places that are difficult to access). There is a great dispersion in the zone because students are from different locations in our region.

    Our aim is to discover the native species of the zone, study birds, migratory altitude, and residents. We have created a publication and poster with the principal species. We have various studies about behavior and observations of various species native to the zone. This will end in a publication of a book including the work of students themselves.

    Girls learning about birds on bench in the park
    Moreover, the children will know where to find the birds and observe them. We believe that this is the key to raising awareness in the protection of the environment. Birds are very important in all landscapes of our country and the coastal scrubs are one of them.

    With this same theme we have participated in a research project financed by our government “Concurso EXPLORA CONICYT” which unites the scholarly and scientific communities. Over 100 students of various ages participated.

    Boy bird watches by the river with binoculars
    We have also participated in an important school science fair. It takes place every year and over 400 students participate between the ages of 5 to 20. We are collaborating with Grupo Talca del Proyecto Palomas. We are analyzing our data and meeting with children (they presented the theme with graphic charts).

  • Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy

    The Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy (UDEC) is a not for profit environmental & cultural organization committed to active participation in restoration, revitalization, restoration, and protection. In addition, UDEC is committed to public education for our coastal resources with a special focus on the urban estuary, its watershed and the community that lives, learns, works, and play in and along its shore. The UDEC focuses on urban youth in the inner city and the challenges they face due to increased urbanization and decreasing clean, green spaces.

    To learn more, click here!

    For Halloween 2008, UDEC held a special bird event: Ludger Balan writes: “For Halloween last we introduced students in our program at the Harlem River Ecology Center to a live owl encounter demonstration and education program which became their inspiration for creating these fun interpretive masks.”

    Because the UDEC operates a site both upstream and downstream of the urban estuary,the 2008 Urban Birds workshop encompassed a program at both of these locations.

    Poster of celebrate urban birds event

    The first event was held at the Harlem River Ecology Center and incorporated a guest presenter with wildlife demonstration, an arts and crafts project and an outdoor survey.

    The survey portion of the activity followed with a follow-up action plan that entails the planting of a donated berry tree and seed sunflowers in the front garden which is located at the front entry of UDEC’s urban nature center. During this segment of the program, UDEC distributed seeds and provided training for participants to follow suit and plant seeds. The program was offered as weekend family activity and offered as a workshop activity within their school field trip program.

    Educator teaching the students about birds
    The second event at Gowanus/Red Hook South Brooklyn Harbor followed suit with the same format, except that, for the outdoor survey, they incorporated an on-water eco-cruise along one of our project sites in that area, the historic and notorious Gowanus Canal, Gowanus Bay and Erie basin section, Fresh Creek Jamaica Bay or Coney Island Creek/Dreiyer Offerman Salt Marsh. The data collection took place on water, aboard their unique 32ft Indian Shipping canoe that comfortably and safely accommodates 21 paddlers.

    Students Rowing and Exploring in the River
    The program focused both on upland birds as well as aquatic birds known to visit or reside on these sites. This activity serviced many goals as this is also one way to have the community become better informed about the significance of an ecological restoration of any of these waterways, a concept which is at the forefront of a debate in the community.

    The Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy has been a leading institution in educating the public and raising awareness for the ecological to these waterways, since our inception in 1998 and on-going.

    The advantage of having both an upstream and downstream site along the urban estuary, affords them a unique opportunity to connect communities by water, while offering a wonderful resource to better understanding the dynamics of the urban estuary and its interconnectivity with many neighborhoods and regions.

  • Rancocas Nature Center

    The Rancocas Nature Center was founded in 1997, becoming New Jersey Audubon Society’s fourth active educational center and the first in southern New Jersey. Rancocas Nature Center programs and field trips serve more than 20,000 adults and children each year.

    Young ones learn about birds and gardening

    Visit Rancocas on the web here!

    Celebrate Urban Birds Field Studies

    Worker bird watching with equipment
    Rancocas Nature Center used Celebrate Urban Bird kits in field studies for young adults enrolled in The Work Group, a program out of Pennsauken, NJ, which equips at-risk youth in transition to adulthood with the skills, education, and confidence to become self-directed individuals who are productive and responsible members of their communities.

    Teacher-naturalists from Rancocas took Celebrate Urban Birds kits to Pennsauken to train the Work Group students in the study of birds; including using field marks, observation techniques, the use of binoculars and journaling methods. They also worked with the youth to make and record observations and drawings of urban birds.

    Afterwards, there were follow-up activities in the classrooms. One activity, for example, was to listen to recorded bird calls, discuss avian and human communication and then write and perform songs of their own. Participants extended their urban bird observations/recordings when they visited Rancocas Nature Center and compared their findings to those they made in the city.

    Workers looking into sky with binoculars

    Mary Belko writes:
    “I wanted to forward some photos of the surveys with The Work Group. We had pouring rain on Monday with the first group of 14, but sunshine on Tuesday. The coolest was watching a robin sitting on a nest in the pouring rain. It really made us appreciate the life of a bird. Some of the same kids went out again the second day and were surprised to see less of the urban birds in the sunshine than in the rain. We had vultures, red tailed hawk, Cormorant, tree and barn swallows, great views of the orioles one day, and a Great Egret one day. Tuesday’s group really loved watching the red-winged blackbirds and the swallows buzzing around us.”

    Teachers’ Tease

    Teachers' Tease Presents Project
    Rancocas Nature Center created two separate events to Celebrate Urban Birds. The first was a hands-on after-school “Teachers’ Tease” – a workshop using Celebrate Urban Birds kits. Rancocas held two of these workshops, where participants engaged in bird observation activities and then captured and communicated their experiences through the arts. Participating teachers created journals that incorporated observations, story-writing, poetry, drawings and paintings.

    All teachers were invited to drop in for tea and educational treats!

  • Concord Preschool

    Every year our class of 3-4year olds learn about birds. We read stories, make pine cone feeders, paint and glue our own life-like and imaginary birds, and otherwise experience our feathered friends. This year, armed with a birdsong identifier, several pairs of binoculars, and unusually warm weather, a January walk around the neighborhood really hooked this class.

    Sean on rocks searching for birds in the sky
    Hardly a day passed that someone did not report seeing a cardinal, or a blue jay, or a crow. We made hanging feeders from recycled milk jugs to hang outside our classroom window.

    When we learned about the GBBC from a flier from a local nature center, we knew we were going to participate. Sharing the information with another teacher resulted in her sharing with two more teachers so that in all, about 44 children and 5 adults from 4 classes participated.

    Hayden exploring the bird kit and posters
    These children really were involved. What might have been a week’s worth of activities has extended for longer than a month because of their interest. I know they will never forget cardinals or crows, or especially the call of the red winged blackbird, who does not say “conk a ree,” but repeats the name of two children in our class, depending on who is in possession of the identifier!

    Thanks for the information in the Celebrate Urban Birds kit which added greatly to our resources.

  • Stuyvesant High School

    Stuyvesant High School

    Stuyvesant High School is a New York City Public High School that specializes in mathematics and science. The school is noted for its strong academic programs and was ranked fifteenth in U.S. News and World Report’s 2007 list of America’s best “Gold-Medal” high schools.

    Creating Rooftop Gardens

    Student cutting out drawing on bird on cardboard
    The Celebrate Urban Birds Event being developed at Stuyvesant involved setting up rooftop gardens to attract the local urban birds. These gardens can be closely observed by the students, ultimately by rooftop camera connected to the school’s web site, and are being used for educational purposes, as well as creating a general interest in the urban wildlife at Stuyvesant. The rooftop is seven stories up, right on the river in lower Manhattan. The average wind speeds are 6- 10 mile/hr. But sparrows and Mourning Doves have found their way to the rooftop garden, and even the principal is interested now!

    Picture of Participants in Stuyvesant
    As a way of expanding the project into the Arts, biology teacher Jerry Citron had a school bird-drawing competition and had some excellent entries. Hopefully the project will be a starting point not only for Stuyvesant but for neighboring schools to see what’s flying in their area.

  • Loyola Village Performing Arts Magnet

    Students at Loyola Village Performing Arts Magnet connected with the Lab of Ornithology via Video Conference in early November 2008.

    Students learned about citizen science, collecting data, and asked questions about birds.

    To learn how to have a video conference with Lab staff email:

    urbanbirds@cornell.edu