It’s amazing where you can find inspiration and even data for teaching when you want it.

Of course, there are birds everywhere but have you ever considered using them as a form of data? I used to do a number of workshops where birds were crucial.

During full day workshops, people would like to get out of the building and go for a walk during lunch. Other than enjoying the fresh air, I would give them a task – identify and count the number of birds and identify them. It’s a great activity, leads to all kinds of discussion, and I smile when I think of the crows in Essex that seemed to be everywhere.

You can use the data to do a lot of different things with spreadsheets, including merging everyone’s observations into things. I know that there would be birds that are counted more than once so it wasn’t terribly scientific and yet always was fun to do stats with them, print charts, etc.

It always seems to work best in the fall when all the birds would gather together before heading off on migration.

While you may not be in a situation to create your own migration data, you can see it in action at Birdcast. They use radar to do their observations and prediction. It’s also one of those US only maps (birds do migrate from Canada…) but we live so close to the border that it is probably pretty relevant.

Visit this page to view the patterns of 500 million birds.


There is so much rich information including weather which makes this so beautiful. It doesn’t hold a candle to those standard migration images that I remember seeing in science textbooks.

We live close to the Jack MIner Sanctuary so Canada Geese have a special place in our hearts. What about them? You’ll find out more about geese here than you ever thought you would.

OTR Links 10/02/2021

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.