November 13th, 2017
Birds are all around us.
In the world, there are around 10,000 species of birds. In North America, there are about 914 species. And, here in Florida, we have around 378 species. With over 20 million people living in our state we have many opportunities to interact with the birds that inhabit Florida, whether they are year-round or seasonal visitors. Birds are beautiful to look at and listen to and they also help humans to live a happy, healthy lives. They are truly a gift of nature as they disperse seeds, provide pest control, keep our roadways clean, help us fight battles and win wars, and warn us when our ecosystems are imbalanced. By doing all of this for humans some scientists now call birds “ecosystem service” providers. We owe these unique, interesting winged creatures a huge thank you!
However, birds now need our help. Population numbers and their habitat are shrinking each day. Research shows that birds have been on earth anywhere from 60 million to 150 million years but the future does not look well for them for several reasons. Habitat and open space loss due to human development impact bird species at an overwhelming rate. 290 million acres of land utilized as bird habitat and other wildlife species has been developed, fragmented, or damaged. Birds need our help so let’s get started!
- FLORIDA GETS WILD, Teacher's Guide
Using their device, students will look up the word "endemic" and record the definition on a piece of paper. Discuss findings with the class.
Teachers pose the following question to students:
“What is the name of the state bird of Florida?”
Students may turn to their shoulder partner to discuss and share answers.
Students will then regroup as whole class and call on volunteer for answer.
Correct answer to share with students: Northern Mockingbird
The teacher may want to share that state’s select symbols that reflect the cultural heritage and natural resources found in each state that represent their uniqueness. Make connections to the idea that we can all be a part of civic engagement no matter what age we might be.
Project the image of mockingbird found at this link.
Select a volunteer ask them to describe the bird’s features as shown in the image.
Possible answers: small, brownish in color, could be easily hidden in Florida’s plants and trees.
Play the songs and calls of the mockingbird and select volunteers to describe the songs and calls.
Project the Northern Mockingbird range map and explain to students where the bird can be found.
LEAVING THE NEST
What makes the Florida Scrub Jay
a unique bird?