Why do birds have different color feathers? For dull color birds, their coloring is protective coloration so that they are less visible to potential predators. On the other hand, birds with bright coloring want to advertise their presence, usually to likely mates. Males will be at their brightest during breeding season. Some birds are different colors within their species – the males are bright while the females are dull. Because the female will be sitting on a nest to hatch her eggs, she needs dreary coloration to keep her hidden from predators.
Bird Activities for Preschoolers
Although not all male and female birds look dramatically different, some birds have very different appearances based on their gender. Show pictures of male and female birds (try Northern Cardinals, American Goldfinch, or other birds local to your area). After introducing the above information can the students tell which birds are females? Encourage the students to look at the shape and appearance of the birds and try to match the males and females of the same species?
Animal Coloration Preschool Games
Print out several pictures of birds and cut them out along their outline. Tape the pictures throughout the room, positioning some birds in obvious locations while placing other birds in places where they may be overlooked because they camouflage with their surroundings. Persuade the students to move through the room looking for the birds.
Review the activity by asking the children which birds they found easily and why they were able to do so. What would this mean for real birds if the children were hawks, cats, and other predators?
Have the children play hide-and-see, outdoors if possible. If the children are wearing bright colors can they figure out how to hide? Ask them how brightly colored birds may hide from danger.
Bird Craft for Preschoolers
Decorate the bottom of plastic berry boxes with torn construction paper, tissue paper, dried grass, and twigs so to make a bird nest. Have the children color bird pictures that are proportionate to the nests. Cut out the bird shapes and tape them to chenille stems that are folded in half to make a handle.
When the nests are complete, have the children hide them in the room. Select one child to be a hawk who pretends to fly about the room pointing out where the nests are. Encourage the children to consider how they can best hide their nests without burying them under objects (which would prevent real birds from accessing their nests).
Preschoolers can understand how birds – and other animals – use dull colors to camouflage with their surroundings and protect their young. Use the computer to look for views inside real bird nests with nest cams.