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Let's Help Birds!

© Alexsander S. Bogolyubov, Russia, 2002

© Michael J. Brody, USA, 2003

Let's help birds!This manual describes two practical nature conservation projects devoted to attracting birds: feeding winter birds, and making and hanging artificial nesting places. Included are the design of simple bird feeders and composition of birdseed, the procedure for making artificial nesting places as well as general rules for hanging birdhouses.

This field study has instructional video featuring real students conducting the ecological field techniques in nature. Each video illustrates the primary instructional outcomes and the major steps in accomplishing the task including reporting the results.


This activity begins the series of nature lessons for students in spring. As it is with the other seasonal cycles of the given lesson series, the first lesson of the season is not devoted to conducting research work, but is rather a practical lesson. The lesson consists of two practical approaches to attracting birds into the vicinity of the school or field studies center. It includes feeding birds, as well as making and hanging artificial nesting places for birds.

It is recommended to begin these projects as early as possible. Theoretically, birds should be fed during the whole winter, whereas artificial nesting places should be hung up prior to the beginning of the nesting season of wintering insectivore birds. These birds are mainly tits, and they start to breed quite early. Titmice start to pair and to look for a place to make a nest in March. Correspondingly, birdhouses should be made and hung up by that time.

The organization of the students’ work making and hanging feeders and artificial nesting places depends entirely on local conditions, size of the students' group and age of students, availability of feed time, tools and building materials. Time and amount of performance of the task are under the jurisdiction of the teacher whose students participate in this study. Perhaps some will find it more convenient to perform the work in fall or to combine this work with lessons on handicraft at school in winter, when students are free from any other practical studies in nature.

We will provide only general rules for the organization of practical work and technical details of its performance in the present manual.

Bird feeding organization


Most birds leave the temperate climatic zone and fly away in the fall through the winter, but many settled and migrant birds stay the winter. At that time, birds are subjected to various climatic effects, which impede getting food. Snowstorms and heavy snowfalls, glaze (frazil), covering branches and trunks of trees with a thin crust of ice, as well as changeable weather and prolonged hard frosts always cause mass death of small birds due to lack of feed. Timely feeding will allow conservation of almost all the wintering birds.

It would be wrong to think that feeding birds is aimed at feeding them to their fill in order to spare them from catching insects in nature. The fact is that birds often do not have time to eat to their fill by catching natural food, which is not always found at once in a short winter day in order to survive the night until the morning. If bird’s stomach does not receive a minimum food day after day, then the bird will grow weak and die due to exhaustion.

The total vital functions of wintering birds increase significantly due to feeding. When birds feed up at the feeder, they start to search actively for feed on trees in the vicinity of the feeder.

In addition, feeding birds can detain them for nesting near the feeding place. Observations show that old birds will always fly back to their last year’s breeding places, whereas young birds, nesting for the first time, can build nests in a new place.

Provision for feeding wintering birds is a useful activity for schools and students. If there is a well-designed and fixed feeder near the school in such a place, which is ...


This was only the first page from the manual and its full version you can see in the

Ecological Field Studies 4CD Set:

It is possible to purchase the complete set of 40 seasonal Ecological Field Study Materials (video in mpg + manuals in pdf formats) in an attractive 4 compact disk set. These compact disks are compatible with Mac and PC computers. The teacher background information and manuals can be printed out for easy reference. The videos are suitable for individual student or whole class instruction. To purchase the complete 4CD set write a request to the authors (in a free form).

Ecological Field Studies 4CD Set

Some of these manuals you can also purchase in the form of applications for Android devices on Google Play.

Ecological Field Studies Demo Disk:

We also have a free and interesting demonstration disk that explains our ecological field studies approach. The demo disk has short excerpts from all the seasonal field study videos as well as sample text from all the teacher manuals. The disk has an entertaining automatic walk through which describes the field study approach and explains how field studies meet education standards.

You can also download the Demo Disc from This is a virtual hybrid (for PC and Mac computers) CD-ROM image (one 563 Mb file "CD_Demo.iso"). You can write this image to the CD and use it in your computer in ordinary way. You also can use emulator software of virtual CD-ROM drive to play the disk directly from your hard disk.

Ecological Field Studies Demo Disk


Other Ecological Field Studies Instructive Manuals:

Autumn Season

  1. Orienteering in the Forest
  2. Procedure of the Geological Exposure Description
  3. Plotting a Profile of a River Valley Slope
  4. Simple Procedure of Soil Description
  5. Assessment of the Vital State of a Forest Based on Pine-tree Analysis
  6. Study of Species Composition and Number of Fungi
  7. Study of Species Composition and Census of Birds Using the Line Transect-counting Method
  8. Integrated Study Based on Landscape Profile
  9. Complex Environmental Assessment of Human Impact on an Area
  10. Assessment of Air Pollution by Lichen Indication Method

Winter Season

  1. Making a Campfire
  2. Simple “Eye” Survey of the Field Study Site
  3. Study of Growth Dynamics of Trees Based on Annual Rings
  4. Mapping Forest Vegetation
  5. Green Plants Under Snow
  6. Methods of Observation of a Chickadee Flock's Territorial Behavior
  7. Procedure of Winter Mammals Route Census by Footprints
  8. Study of Mammal Ecology According to Their Tracks
  9. Physical and Chemical Properties of Natural Waters
  10. Study of Snow Cover Profile

Spring Season

  1. Let's Help Birds!
  2. Study of the Ecology of Early Flowering Plants
  3. Phenology of Plant Florescence
  4. Assessment of the Vital State of Coniferous Underbrush
  5. Study of Forest Invertebrates (Part I: Forest Litter, Wood)
  6. Studies of Species Composition and Abundance of Amphibians
  7. Studying Minerals and Rocks in Your Area
  8. Studies of the Day Activity of Singing Birds
  9. Studies of Bird Populations Size by Different Methods
  10. Study of Fauna of Spring Temporary Water Bodies

Summer Season

  1. Making a Herbarium
  2. The Study of Plants in Your Local Environment
  3. Study of the Vertical Structure of a Forest
  4. Study of Forest Invertebrates (Part 2: Grass Layer, Tree Crowns and Air)
  5. Study of Birds’ Nesting Life
  6. Complex Comparative Description of Small Rivers and Streams
  7. The Study of Water Invertebrates in a Local River and Assessment of Its Environmental State
  8. Study of Plankton
  9. Assessment of Ecological Features of Meadows on the Base of Vegetation Cover
  10. Assessment of Environmental State of the Forest Based on Leaves’ Asymmetry

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© Экологический центр "Экосистема"™, А.С. Боголюбов / © Field Ecology Center "Ecosystem"™, Alexander Bogolyubov, 2001-2016