12 Nests of Knowledge

12 Nests of Knowledge is twelve segments that lead teachers and students through a series of lessons that reveal the fascinating world of birds. Learn about anatomy, characteristics, diet, and more as you unfold each segment.

The video below clearly demonstrates one aspect of why studying birds is not only fun but also fascinating! 

Who would use 12 Nests of Knowledge? Everyone! But especially teachers, club leaders, outdoor enthusiasts, and birders. Do them all at once or assign them out over a period of time. 12 Nests is an outpouring of love that Kidwings has for students and their teachers.

1. Introduction to Birds

Learn about the unique qualities and characteristics of the avian world. You’ll want to start your journey with this brief introduction!

2. Bird Topography

Learn about the external features of a bird’s anatomy (feather tracts, limbs, etc.) which are useful in describing a bird’s appearance.

3. Bird Feathers

What makes a bird a bird? Feathers. Birds are the only animals that have feathers and they come in many sizes, colors, and shapes.

4. Bird Beaks

Bird’s beaks are very important. They help the bird gather food and sometimes they rip, tear, or crush food. They can act as an extra hand, such as when parrots use their beak for climbing. They are used for building nests, and in some species of birds they can even tie knots!

5. Bird Feet

Birds have many different shapes and sizes to their feet. Like the shape of the bill, the anatomy of birds’ feet tells us much about the ecology of different species of birds. In this nest there are several examples of birds feet and what each one can tell us about the group of birds who possess them.

6. Bird Skulls

Bird skulls come in all shapes and sizes. Explore birds by name to see its skull in several different positions. There are even a few skulls that aren’t birds.

7. Diet of Birds of Prey

Birds of prey, also known as raptors, hunt and feed on other animals. The term “raptor” is derived from the Latin word rapere (meaning to seize or take by force). Learn about the different types of birds of prey and their diets.

8. Dissecting Bird Pellets

Owls aren’t the only birds that make pellets. Almost any bird that eats animals with bones or exoskeletons will make a pellet after their meal. Learn about various birds and their pellets by completing this section.

9. Virtual Pellet

What is a pellet? How are they formed? What’s inside? These are great questions that you’ll find when you follow this informative and interactive link to the Kidwings Virtual Owl Pellet Dissection.

10. Genuine Barn Owl Pellets

Barn Owls generally swallow their prey whole but are unable to digest the hair and bone. After each night’s hunting the owl regurgitates one or two black pellets typically about the size of a human thumb and containing the remains of four or five small mammals. This lesson pertains to exploring pellets and their contents.

11. Barn Owl Conservation

Barn owls have been in decline for several decades, and is one of the target species for conservation. Biologists believe that barn owls have great management and recovery potential throughout western states. When nests are safe and prey is abundant, owls will hunt and reproduce with vigor, creating an army of pest managers!

12. Meet Other Apex Predators

Owls, a large part of our focus at Kidwings, are just one of many iconic predators throughout the world. To understand how important predators are to our world, it is important to understand their biology, habits, their habitat, and the impact they have on healthy and unhealthy ecosystems.

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