Bird Calls of Ohio

Bird Calls of Ohio 

Designed By: Erin Smith, Elle Folger, Carly Sannan, Christine Pohlman

Age Level: 5-7

Materials Needed

5 sets of Bird Picture Cards
internet Access for bird call samples
Book: Bird Talk by Ann Jonas (1999, Greenwillow Publishers)

Background Information

Prior to the lesson, educators need to bookmark the following websites for bird calls:

1. Highlight familiar bird calls and song and prepare 5 pictures of each from the following species: 

Northern cardinal, Eastern Towhee, Carolina Chickadee, Northern bobwhite, Eastern meadowlark, Eastern wood pewee, barred owl, whippoorwill

2. Educator need to create own birdcall using his/her name prior to the lesson.

3. Before the lesson, collect pictures of the birds in focus. 

Birds make sounds for a variety of reasons.The distinction between a bird call and a bird song is based upon the complexity of the sound. Passeriformes are perching birds or songbirds. Passeriformes' songs may function to attract a maintain a relationship with a mate, establish a territory, and vary by age, sex, location and time of year.  Calls alert others to danger, such as a predator, holds a flock together when traveling, or are used to intimidate their enemies. 

Activity Description

 1. Teacher plays a bird call using the websites listed and asks if the students have any idea what that sound is. Teacher continues to play sound until students are able to identify it as a bird call.

2. Once students decide that it is a bird making the sound, ask if they know what kind of bird makes that sound.

Ask: Do all birds make the same sound?
Ask: Why do you think birds make different sounds? Accept all answers.
Ask: Are there any bird sounds you know? Accept all answers.
Put students into five groups
Teacher passes out bird picture cards to groups of students.
Teacher introduces each bird picture to groups of students.
Teacher says, “Today we have some guest tweeters!

3. "Listen to this bird call and try to figure out which bird makes that bird call.”

4. Teacher plays all bird calls one time while students listen and look at the various pictures.

5. Teacher plays first bird call again.

6. Students work with their group to make a guess about the bird that matches to the sound they


6. When students have decided, they hold up their bird picture.

7.Allow students the opportunity to share why they think that bird makes that call.

Teacher asks: “Do you hear any words you know in this bird call? Can anyone try to mimic the sound they heard? How did you do that?”

8. Teacher makes the bird call using the words that correspond to that bird call. See below:

Eastern Towhee: “Drink your tea! Drink your tea! or tow-EE, tow-EE, tow-EE”

Chickadee: “Chick-a-dee-dee-dee!”

Bobwhite: “Bob-white? Bob-white?”

Eastern Meadowlark: “Spring-of-the-year?”

Eastern Wood Pewee: “Pee-u-wee!”

Barred Owl: “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?”

Whippoorwill: “Whip-or-will? Whip-or-will?”

Cardinal: “Purdy! Purdy! Cheer, Cheer, Cheer!”

9. Teacher reveals the name of the bird and holds up the stuffed bird to match.

10. Students hold up the bird picture.

11. Everyone makes that bird call.

12. Follow the same steps as you go through the next seven bird calls.

13. Teacher reads: Bird Talk, to show some other bird calls used to communicate.

14. Students can create own bird call using his/her name. For example, Christine – “Christine, teen, teen, teen!”

15. Students share personal bird call in their small groups.

Wrap Up

Discuss why birds have different calls and why they use these calls. Refer to the background information. 
What reasons would birds have to communicate?