Learning about birds

What do you know about the birds on our Island?

At any time of year, wherever you go, or even if you just look outside your window, you will notice the many different types of birds that live in Jersey.

Jersey is an unspoilt and diverse location, so it is no surprise that there are many different species of birds that live inland and around the coast of the Island.

If you visit Jersey's wonderful beaches, you will see the birds that regard the shoreline as an essential means of survival. There are wading birds that spend a lot of time on our seashores. When you go for a walk to the beach, have a look at the guides in our links below to see if you can recognise any of the birds and perhaps learn some of their names.

If you visit Grouville and the marshes or wetlands, you will see the ducks, geese and swans that live there. At Westpark in St Helier, you may even see little birds darting around the rocks near the sea wall. Inland, you can watch seagulls following tractors as the farmers turn the soil in the fields ready to plant their new crops.

If you wake up to a wet and soggy morning and look out of your window, with a little patience and a keen pair of eyes, you might see a whole host of the attractive garden birds that live alongside us every day.

Try using one of these guides to help you find out more about our Jersey birds.

Spotter's Guide

We do like to fly beside the seaside

Supporting learning at school

Birds feature in the learning that your child will experience throughout their time at school.

Try some of these activities to complement the work carried out in your child's school. Knowing some facts about birds and being able to talk about where they live, how they feed, where they fit into different food chains and the features that make them a bird, will all help with your child’s learning at school.

Early Years

Birdwatching is one of the easiest ways to explore nature with children, and it’s free.

You can take part whether you are inside or outside and wherever you live on the Island. Birdwatching helps bring children closer to nature and could inspire an interest in wildlife.

In Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) encourage your child to watch the birds and to understand the features of a bird.

Here are some ideas that you might want to consider:

  • talk to your child about any birds you see in the environment, in pictures, videos or story books. Showing your child birds in different contexts will help them to understand that birds have a beak, feathers, wings, two legs and that they lay eggs
  • help them to learn the names of some of the birds they see every day, such as seagull, crow, magpie, blackbird and robin
  • help you child make some binoculars by taping together cardboard rolls, or if you have real binoculars then use those
  • get your child to think about what they could use from around the house to build a bird hideout, such as pillows, cushions, sheets or a tent if you have one
  • encourage you child to watch from a window or when outdoors using their binoculars. Ask them to look in different places, on the ground, in bushes, in trees, on rooftops and in the sky. What can they see or hear? Help them to notice the birdsong, and encourage them to count the birds they see
  • make or draw birds using some of the ideas in the links below
  • talk about colours by asking your child which was their favourite bird and why
  • make some birdfeeders to encourage more birds to visit your home
  • have a look for birds in any magazines or newspapers you have at home. You can cut them out and stick them into a collection to talk about

Key Stage 1 (5 to 7 years)

Thinking about birds can help children practise their skills in different areas of the curriculum.

Here are some ideas and activities that you might want to try:

  • talk to your child about the features of birds when you see them, for example their beaks, feathers and the fact that they have two legs, wings and lay eggs
  • ask your child to name as many birds as they can. Can they think of the name of a bird beginning with the letter r, s and so on?
  • use the bird-spotting guides for Jersey in our links to talk about birds and then look together at nature programmes or the internet to start to explore birds around the world. They will love learning about penguins, eagles, hummingbirds and the many more species
  • look carefully at a wide range of birds and start to compare the shape of their beaks, their feet, their size and more. Get your child to try and draw some birds and perhaps design a bird using the features of different species to make their own. For example, they might want to create a bird with webbed feet, coloured feathers and a beak like an eagle. Give the bird a name and a character and write a story about them
  • talk about and visit different parts of the Island to see birds that live in different places. For example the woods, the beaches, the wetlands or marshes, the cliff paths and sand dunes
  • when you go shopping, make a list of any birds you can find in the supermarket refrigerators or freezers
  • make a chart or group birds into categories – Which birds fly? Which can swim? Which eat meat or fish or plants?
  • think about creating a bird fact sheet. Include key information such as names, diet, where it lives or a presentation to show what they have learned and share it at school or with other members of the family
  • talk about the life cycle of a bird

Key Stage 2 (7 to 11 years)

If you have talked about local birds in Jersey, then you will know that some of them are specific to the Island and some of the species are rare and need protection.

To learn more about how to protect birds have a look at our links:

Protected birds
Barn owl protection and monitoring
Puffin nesting and breeding
How you can help birds
Facts about nature: habitats and birds

Find out more about the migration of birds here:

Billions of birds migrate
The migration of birds
The Artic Tern migration Google Earth tour video

Here are some activities that you may want to get your child to try:

  • design and make a bird hide and then watch them, creating an observation log. What do they eat? How do they behave?
  • consider creating a guide for the best way to watch birds, for example, remaining still and quiet, not wearing bright colours, camouflage and so on
  • create a non-fiction book using drawings or photos with titles, headings and captions to show what you know about birds
  • follow instructions for making bird feeders. Try this link and follow the instructions on the video: how to make a bird feeder
  • if you have a bird as a pet then think about designing a bird playground for them. Have a look at some of the toys in a pet shop or garden centre to give you some ideas. There are lots of ideas and pictures on Pinterest that you can share with your child for inspiration
  • find out about birds in history. For example, how the Egyptians mummified birds or about falconry in medieval times. It is a great opportunity to use some research skills

Other links

Link Description
The Big Garden Birdwatch
Get involved with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds special event
Jersey bird guide
A guide to local birds
Nest box live Video of a bluetit laying eggs and hatching them inside a nest box (YouTube). Parental permission advised to access the site
Make a bird feeder from recycled materials
Ideas from the National Trust for parents to support their children to make cheap and easy bird feeders with a variety of recycled materials
DIY birdfeeder ornament Use some simple ingredients and cookie cutters to make some decorations for the birds and then watch to see who come to visit
(YouTube). Parental permission advised to access the site
How to attract birds to your garden Find out what types of food birds eat by looking at their bills, as well as getting tips on how to attract birds to your garden throughout the year
(YouTube). Parental permission advised to access the site
DIY paper toys: easy paper birds
How to make a paper bird
(YouTube). Parental permission advised to access the site
Garden bird identification video A video showing many familiar species of bird found in the UK
(YouTube). Parental permission advised to access the site
Baby chick hatching Watch a baby bird hatching from an egg
(YouTube). Parental permission advised to access the site
Chicken Licken A fairytale animation for younger children
(YouTube). Parental permission advised to access the site
The Ugly Ducking A classic fairytale animation for younger children
(YouTube). Parental permission advised to access the site
Five Little Ducks A simple number song. Animation suitable for children in Early Years
(YouTube). Parental permission advised to access the site
15 birds and birdsong for beginners Learn to recognise the different songs that familiar birds sing
(YouTube). Parental permission advised to access the site
Easy bird drawing for kids An online tutorial to learn how to draw 6 simple bird shapes
(YouTube). Parental permission advised to access the site
Feeding garden birds
Discover which foods are suitable for garden birds
(YouTube). Parental permission advised to access the site
 What are birds?
BBC Bitesize helps children in Key Stage 1 to learn about birds and their special features
rspb.org.uk/fun and learning Fun activities and games for children who like to be busy. You can make a feather fan, a bird puppet or go on a scavenger hunt
Biscuit birds From sesame seed sparrows to desiccated coconut chaffinches, feel free to use whatever you desire to create your sweet tweeting treats
Chicken in the Kitchen A Tata Storytime story read by Lucian Msamati (YouTube). Parental permission advised to access the site
Birds of Southern Portugal An overview of the diversity of birds found in Alentejo. Suitable for Key Stage 2
(YouTube). Parental permission advised to access the site