Counting Birds for Science

A woman watches birds through a spotting scope.

Middle schools students explore the world of birding and community science.  Students are introduced to Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count, the nation’s first community science project. Next, they identify common winter birds and use technology such as Merlin, eBird, and Project FeederWatch.  

This lesson emphasizes the importance of community science for gathering and recording large amounts of data and observing long-term trends. Educators have the option of birding as a one-time lesson or to gather data over time for a more robust student experience. Though the lesson highlights the Christmas Bird Count, the lesson could also be taught in the spring or fall.  

Lesson plan

Counting Birds for Science

Supporting materials