Bird is the Word
Did you know that many places and cultures use birds as symbols? Wisconsin’s state bird, the robin, is a symbol of the start of spring. The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States and represents freedom to Americans. In eastern Asia, cranes symbolize good fortune and a long life. In South America, condors symbolize power and health. And doves symbolize peace all over the world.
Several bird-themed activities can be found in the Kids Alive section of the Zoological Society of Milwaukee’s April 2013 Alive magazine.* You can make homemade paint decals to help birds avoid striking windows. You can make a chocolate candy bird-nest snack. And you can find more than a dozen bird names in our Wisconsin Bird Word Search. For those of you who are not Zoological Society members, we’re giving you the chance to do the bird search here (see below). You’ll also find the answers to the word search below. Meanwhile, we’re featuring another bird-themed activity that kids may enjoy: making a yummy treat to make for our feathered friends in winter.
In the picture above, a Waukesha boy and his mom meet a baby chick during a Zoological Society class called Watch the Birdie. In this and other bird-themed classes, children learn the importance of birds and how to protect them. Visit our Spring Zoo Classes page for details on April's Watch the Birdie class (for children age 2 with one adult) or the May Super-Cool Bird Sculpting art class (for children ages 6 and 7).
Wisconsin Bird Word Search
The hooded merganser is found in Wisconsin.
There are hundreds of bird species native to Wisconsin. You’ve probably seen hawks flying overhead, heard doves cooing, and watched robins hunt for worms. Click here for a word search and see if you can circle all 16 of these popular Wisconsin birds. Words can go up, down, across, diagonally, and backward.
For answers to the Wisconsin Bird Word Search, click here.
Pine-Cone Bird Feeder
Give birds a nutty treat with this peanut butter pine-cone feeder. The best time to put up seed-filled bird feeders is in spring and fall, when birds migrate (see more about bird feeding habits in the ZSM’s Birds Without Borders-Aves Sin Fronteras® manual).
You will need:
- 1 pine cone
- Piece of string or twine, 36 inches long
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- Small mixing bowl
- Tie string around widest part of pine cone. The pine cone will hang sideways.
- Mix peanut butter and sunflower seeds in bowl.
- Spoon globs of mixture all over pinecone, covering its surface.
- Ask an adult to help you tie the cone to a tree branch so that it hangs free of other branches and is at least 6 feet from ground (so deer can’t get to it). Watch to see if birds eat the seeds and peanut butter.
Activities by Liz Mauritz
Photos by Richard Brodzeller
*Only Zoological Society of Milwaukee members can access the current Alive magazine. Past issues of Alive can be accessed by the general public in our publication archive.