Book List,  Education

Birds: 50+ resources for your elementary and early-middle school science and nature studies

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You know I love to study history primarily textbook-free.  But what about science?  Don’t we need a textbook and worksheets and tests, even for our elementary students?

Spoiler alert: my answer is NO!


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I do use science textbooks often as our core read-aloud.  This year, for example, we will be studying birds (and other flying creatures) using an Apologia textbook I already owned.

While I will read chapters aloud each week to my girls (in 1st, 3rd, and 6th grade), our science exploration will be fully fleshed out through lots of reading, bird watching, and nature journaling. (We gave my husband a new bird feeder for Christmas, and now we all love to take our field guide to the window and watch for new birds.)

But if you know me at all, you know my real love language is a book list!  I found so many wonderful resources on our own shelves and at the library’s, and I have 2 huge stacks tumbling over ready for us to enjoy!

If you like to study subjects in multi-faceted ways – through poetry, fiction, art, biography, and non-fiction – you’ll love the more than 50 resources I list below!  With this much variety, you’re sure to find something for every learning style and personality!

50+ Textbook-free Bird Resources

Birds in Poetry

Song for the Whooping Crane by Eileen Spinelli

Fine Feathered Friends by Jane Yolen

Feathers by Eileen Spinelli

The Beauty of the Beast: Poems from the Animal Kingdom by Jack Prelutsky

On the Wing by David Elliot

Wings on the Wind by Kate Keisler

Wild Wings by Jane Yolen

Birds and Beasts by William Jay Smith

I am Phoenix: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman

Birds of a Feather by Jane Yolen

Birds in Fiction and Fable

When Birds Could Talk and Bats Could Sing by Virginia Hamilton

The Conference of the Birds retold by Alexis York Lumbard

Gay-Neck: The Story of a Pidgeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji

 Birds in Early Readers

A to Z Mysteries: The Falcon’s Feathers by Ron Roy

Mouse and Mole: Fine Feathered Friends by Wong Herbert Yee

Birds in Non-Fiction

Weird Birds by Chris Earley

Sparrow, Eagle, Penguin, and Seagull: What Is a Bird? by Brian P. Cleary

The Long, Long Journey by Sandra Markle

Thunder Birds by Jim Arnosky

An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston

The Birds of America by John James Audubon

On the Wing: American Birds in Migration by Carol Lerner

My Baby Blue Jays by John Berendt

Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward

Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart

Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City by Janet Schulman

Zoology for Kids by Josh and Bethanie Hestermann

Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World’s Brightest Bird by Pamela S. Turner

The Burgess Bird Book by Thornton Burgess

Bird Builds a Nest: A First Science Storybook by Martin Jenkins

Ravens in Winter by Bernd Heinrich

When Birds Get Flu and Cows Go Mad: How Safe are We? by John DiConsiglio

State Birds by Elaine Landau

Watching Water Birds by Jim Arnosky

Birds: Nature’s Magnificent Flying Machines by Caroline Arnold

Birds in Art Projects

I love the resources from Hodgepodge and!  You can try their free video tutorial demonstrating how to draw a bird’s nest with chalk pastels, or you can experience their entire bird chalk pastel art video course!

Laws Guide to Drawing Birds

How to Draw Birds

Origami Birds and Butterflies by Lisa Miles

Birds in Biography

Into the Woods: John James Audubon Lives His Dream by Robert Burleigh

For the Birds The Life of Roger Tory Peterson by Peggy Thomas

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan

The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies

The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist by Margarita Engle

Audubon: Painter of Birds in the Wild Frontier by Jennifer Armstrong


Bird Watcher by David Burnie

Look UP! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate

Birding by Ear

The Robin Makes a Laughing Sound by Sallie Wolf

Bateman’s Backyard Birds by Robert Bateman

Great Backyard Bird Count

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Birds in Film

Bird-Adjacent: Flight and Flying Creature books

A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston

Animalium: Welcom to the Museum by Jenny Broom

Cleared for Takeoff: The Ultimate Book of Flight by Rowland White

Paper Airplane Book

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Amy Sloan and her husband, John, are second-generation homeschoolers by grace alone to 5 children ages 4, 7, 8, 11, and 13. Their educational philosophy is one of humility and doxology, and follows primarily a classical approach. Amy loves coffee, perseveres through half-marathons and weight-training, and starts getting nervous if the stack of to-be-read library books beside her bed is less than 2 feet tall. Get her started on Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Homer, or Hamilton the Musical and it might be hard to get her to stop. Mostly, though, she gets really excited about the Gospel. The Sloan family adventures in North Carolina.