Bird Unit Study based on The Burgess Bird Book

Being out in nature is the essence of childhood. It is important to teach our children to appreciate God’s creation and enjoy the beauty around us. I have gathered up some great resources to teach your students about birds! I hope you enjoy this Burgess Bird Book Unit Study!

One of my favorite things to do on a fall afternoon is to take a book outside and sit in the sunshine and listen to the birds sing while my kids play on the swing set in our yard. Yes, this is bliss. No, it doesn’t happen very often. Most of the time I feel like there is something else I should be doing. But if I am honest with myself, taking a few minutes to relax and enjoy nature makes the rest of my responsibilities just a little more bearable.

Why teach Nature Study?

Understanding and enjoying the outdoors is an important part of a child’s learning experiences as a child. I tend to be a very eclectic homeschooler, pulling what I like from different homeschooling philosophies. In the area of nature study, I love the Charlotte Mason philosophy. I feel like Nature Study is important and something that many modern educators have completely abandoned. I have outdoor time scheduled into our homeschool day. School is not finished until they’ve gone outside. I don’t want to go to far in-depth here, but suffice it to say, Charlotte Mason felt that nature study was essential to the education of young children. 

I love to incorporate what Charlotte Mason called living books into our studies. Living books are books that are interesting and engaging while teaching a lesson. In other words, no books that are boring or talk down to the kid. Many older books in the public domain qualify as living books, and I love to use them as much as possible in our homeschool.

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Burgess Bird Book Unit Study

Burgess Bird Book

Thornton Burgess was a master at storytelling and he included so many great facts in his charming short stories. He wrote several books about different animals, but since today’s theme is birds we will focus on the Burgess Bird Book. This book is probably my all time favorite book to read with my kids about birds. It aptly shows the personality of each animal, while telling a fun and engaging story.

Where to get it

This book is in the public domain, so it is readily available for download online. I like this version because it has the images in full color and you can also get a free audiobook to listen along. If you prefer a hard copy of the book, Dover has reprinted many of the Burgess books, and this one is available on Amazon.


Lesson Plans:

Free Printable Study Guide from Sheila at My Soul Doth Delight – This study guide gives some activities and coloring pages for each chapter in the Burgess Bird Book. It also includes page numbers for The Handbook of Nature Study for more in-depth learning about each bird.

Learning about Birds from Simply Charlotte Mason –   I don’t actually own this book yet, but I love everything SCM puts out, and I am confident it is worth the investment.

Burgess Bird Book Activities from DIY Homeschooler – Some great resources for a study on birds, including a Unit Study on John James Audubon.

Montessori Inspired Bird Unit from Living Montessori Now – Some really great hands-on activities for your bird unit. I love the homemade bird puzzle!

Burgess Bird Book Resource Guide from Ambling on Together – An amazing collection of resources. Be sure and check this one out for sure!


 Online Birding Resources:

Cornell Lab All About Birds – This site is like an online field guide. Just type in the bird and it will bring up lots of information on that bird.

Burgess Bird Book Videos – A playlist with videos of the birds in the Burgess Bird Book.

Audubon Bird Guide – Another great online resource to learn more about the birds you are reading about. It also has different calls that might be heard from each bird.

More books for your Bird Study:

If you are like me, you can’t do a unit study without a whole stack of books! So here are some more books to go along with the Burgess Bird Book for your Bird Study.

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  • Susan Evans

    October 10, 2016 at 8:04 pm Reply

    We’ve always loved birds as a family. These are great ideas for a bird unit study!

    • Amy Lanham

      October 10, 2016 at 10:01 pm Reply

      There are so many great resources out there… and we love the Burgess books!

  • Michelle Cannon

    October 10, 2016 at 10:24 pm Reply

    What great ideas for a bird nature study!

    • Amy Lanham

      October 11, 2016 at 5:20 pm Reply

      Thanks, Michelle!

  • Heidi Ciravola

    October 11, 2016 at 3:25 pm Reply

    I love using FREE resources like this to get the learning started!

    • Amy Lanham

      October 11, 2016 at 5:21 pm Reply

      I love using books in the public domain. Many of them are so much more engaging that our newer books!

  • jen|Practical by default

    October 16, 2016 at 1:59 pm Reply

    This is a great list of resources, we have a feeder so it is nice to turn it into a learning experience 🙂

    • Amy Lanham

      October 16, 2016 at 9:21 pm Reply

      Yes I love watching birds come to our feeder. It actually got knocked down, so I have to fix it. I want to get it back up before winter!

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