Kids are often fascinated by birds. These amazing creatures are all around us, come in all shapes, sizes and colours, make interesting sounds, and of course they can fly — how cool is that!
If your child is interested in birds, there’s a huge amount of kid-friendly bird information, pictures and videos on the web. There’s also a range of apps that your child can use to learn about birds, and have fun while they’re doing it!
All About Birds is a comprehensive bird information site from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. While not specifically aimed at kids, it is filled with tons of detail, as well as beautiful pictures and movies that will appeal to kids of any age.
They also have an amazing bird biology site, where kids can learn about bird anatomy, behaviour and evolution through a series of videos, interactive exhibits and articles. Check out this gorgeous interactive exhibit about feathers.
Fascinating facts are always a good way to get kids interested in a topic. (Did you know some birds can make and use tools?) Here are some more fun facts. (I bet you didn’t know that chickens are Tyrannosaurus Rex’s closest living relatives!)
Want to know exactly how birds (and other things) can fly? The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has a couple of fun online exhibits: Flight Adventures lets you tweak and fly a virtual glider, while the Forces of Flight game helps kids understand the four forces involves in flight.
Ever wondered what it would be like to fly like an eagle? Check this out!
Also, did you know that people can fly like birds? It’s called wingsuit flying — it’s very dangerous, but very exciting!
For some of the most amazing bird sounds in the world, look no further than the Superb Lyrebird from Australia:
If your kids are interested in birds, at some point they’ll want to get outside and spot birds in their natural habitat. To help them with this, there are many useful resources on the web, as well as downloadable apps.
A good place to start is Cornell Lab’s All About Birds site mentioned earlier, which has a whole section on birding (birdwatching), including tips for identifying birds based on their size, colours, songs and more.
Cornell also curates the Macaulay Library, a vast collection of sounds and beautiful videos covering birds (and other wildlife) from all over the world. (Use the search box at the top of the page, or choose Find > Browse Taxonomy.)
Another good site for bird sounds is Xeno-canto, where you can listen to the sounds of over 8,900 bird species worldwide.
There are also some great online databases of birds in various regions of the world:
- Africa: The African Bird Image Database has photos of over 2,000 species.
- Asia: Birding2asia has a large collection of free bird sound recordings from Asia, and you’ll find lots of bird photos at Oriental Bird Images.
- Australia: The excellent BirdLife Australia site contains the country’s biggest bird search engine.
- Europe: Birds of Europe is a database of more than 850 European birds, which you can browse by type and by country. There’s a detailed description of each bird along with photos and, in many cases, videos.
- New Zealand: Kiwis are lucky enough to have the fantastic New Zealand Birds Online, which features detailed info on all all 457 species of New Zealand birds (including extinct ones!). The “Identify that bird” section is so easy to use, you’ll be able to name that bird you spotted within seconds!
- North America: The National Audubon Society’s online guide features tips on birding, as well a comprehensive bird database, with a description, photos and audio recordings for each bird.
- South America: Arthur Grosset’s Birds site has a large collection of South American bird photos and descriptions.
On the apps front, iBird offers a lovely set of field guide apps, with versions available for pretty much all mobile devices, and covering birds in North America and the UK.
National Geographic also offers a beautiful interactive field guide app that runs on both iPhones and iPads and covers 995 North American species (at the time of writing). There’s also a free lite version with around 70 species, if you like to try before you buy.
Is your child interested in birds? Do you have any other tips for fantastic bird websites, videos or apps? Let us know in the comments below!