Hey Earth Rangers! Are you ready for your next amazing animal saving mission? We hope so because this one is “For the Birds”! Your new mission is to build a homemade bird feeder and help identify the birds in your area.
Grumble! Rumble! Growl! Was that the furnace?! No it was just your stomach. You must be really hungry! Better head on over to the kitchen and grab something to eat.
It might be easy for you to satisfy your hunger with a fridge full of food but for animals that have to hunt or search for their food it can be a little tough. Imagine being a frog without insects, a koala without eucalyptus, a shark without fish, or a bird without enough seeds. We’re getting hungry just thinking about it!
Well, today is your day to be an animal helper. When you choose to accept your For the Birds Mission, you will be making an important difference by helping hungry birds have enough to eat!
Did you know that birds turn food into energy at a faster rate than most other animals? In other words, they get hungry more often. Part of the reason for this is that it takes a lot of energy to fly. Hummingbirds, for example, flap their wings 80 times in one second! If you think that’s hard work, many small songbirds fly up to 9,600 km to get from the spot where they spend the winter to where they breed in the summer!
It’s not just migrating songbirds that could use a little help finding food after their long journey. Non-migratory birds, like black-capped chickadees and some species of finches, tough it out during the winter by staying here instead of flying south where it is warm. It can be hard for these birds to find food, especially in really cold, snowy winters or if seeds are in short supply due to a bad storm at other times of the year.
Putting out a little extra food can make a big difference for hungry birds. That’s why we want you to build a bird feeder so that together we can learn what birds are in the area where you live!
When you accept this mission, you’ll be able to download the For the Birds Mission Brief with instructions for a spring/summer (April – October) and fall/winter feeder (November – March), tips and tricks, a bird tracking sheet and a skill-testing bird quiz.
Scientists need your help! By keeping track of the birds that visit your feeder and reporting your findings through EarthRangers.com/missions, you will help scientists learn more about the birds in your area. If all Earth Rangers do this it will give scientists a glimpse of bird population size and behaviour from all over the country! When people help, scientists have access to a lot more information from places they couldn’t visit on their own and use it to learn how to better protect our feathered friends.
What You Have to do to Complete your For the Birds Mission:
1. Accept your For the Birds Mission and download your Mission Brief.
2. Build your bird feeder and wait for the birds to find your feeder. Be patient because this might take a few days.
3. While you are waiting, test your bird knowledge by completing the “How much do you know about birds?” quiz.
4. After you’ve had your first bird visitor, use the handy tracking sheet to record each species and number of birds that visit your feeder for two weeks. Once birds find your feeder, they will keep coming back to look for food so make sure your feeder is topped up with fresh seeds every month.
5. Go to EarthRangers.com/missions, report your findings and get your For the Birds Mission badge for your Achievement Wall.
What Happens if You Don’t See Any Birds?
It might be because the birds couldn’t find your feeder. Try moving it to a new location.
Were you very patient but still no birds came to your feeder? We want to know that too because it is valuable information! Let us know when you report your findings on EarthRangers.com/missions.