Outdoor Hour Challenge Autumn Series-Woodpeckers

Outdoor Hour Challenge
Autumn Series #7

Downy Woodpecker/Hairy Woodpecker
(See also Black and White Bird Challenge)

Inside Preparation Work:

  • Read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 70-74 about the Downy Woodpecker (Note the illustration of the woodpecker’s feet.)
  • Read in the Handbook of Nature Study the section on bird’s feet, pages 40-42. You may also like to look up this website: Types of Bird Feet http://fsc.fernbank.edu/Birding/bird_feet.htm
  • Downy woodpecker videos are available on Cornell’s website. According to the Cornell All About Birds website, just about everyone in North America has Downy Woodpeckers to observe and the Hairy Woodpecker is very widespread as well. In the area where my family lives, we have Acorn Woodpeckers and Pileated Woodpeckers. Check the Cornell site for your area by typing in “woodpecker” in the search box.

bird feet
Outdoor Hour Time:

This week during your outdoor time, try to observe some birds and their feet. This might be a good week to visit a duck pond and observe a duck’s feet up close.

I suggest listening to the links above for the Downy Woodpecker and the Hairy Woodpecker and clicking on the audio buttons. Listen to the sounds each bird makes because many times you will hear a woodpecker and not see it. They are many times high up in the branches of the tree and you will be able to observe it but if you know what to listen for, you will identify it by its sound.

“The feet of birds are shaped so as to assist the bird to get its food as well as for locomotion.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 41

Follow Up Activity
Allow time for a nature journal entry using the observation suggestions on page 73 of the Handbook of Nature Study. Use images from your field guide or the internet to sketch the bird more easily. I have provided a simple bird notebook page that can be used with any birds you observe during your outdoor time.

Each bird uses its feet in a special way. Make a journal entry featuring the woodpecker’s feet. Many children are not at first enthusiastic about sketching in their nature journal and in that case, print off an image from the internet to put onto the journal page. Help the child make a label and the date to complete the entry. You can also use the free printable notebook page in this entry: Woodpecker Bird Study.

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  1. Barb,

    Another great nature study. Thank you!

    I also wanted to mention that people might try their own state’s Dept. of Environmental Protection website for some information on animals native to their area. Our state has fact sheets for many of the animals found in our state.


  2. I just wanted to share that I bought that book you mentioned in the poll about winter, Discovering nature in Winter and I can’t put it down. I can’t wait to go through it with my children.

  3. If you search this blog for Winter Wednesday, you will have the whole book lined up for nature study. :)


  4. Dear Barb,

    Your website is an inspiration. Thank you!

    I will be working on setting up our site over the next few weeks, but just could not wait to share the painting my daughter made of a Gila Woodpecker. We have a pair that visit each day.

    We look forward to participating and once again thank you.

  5. We enjoyed re-visiting woodpeckers and doing another study about them. The girls learned about them a couple of years ago, but now that they are older we wanted to look at them again and see what else we could learn about them. No matter how many times we study these birds, I think we’d learn something new! Here’s what we did and pictures of the girls’ nature journal pages: http://harvestmoonbyhand.blogspot.com/2014/11/woodpeckers-and-wintering-birds-outdoor.html

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