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Ornithology with Lab

Welcome to Ornithology! This is a 180 day, 1 credit high school level science course with lab that will specialize in the study of birds. Most of the labs will involve bird watching and observation. This course is built with a focus on North American birds, but it can be adapted to your area no matter where you live.

NOTE: The beginning of this course deals with the paleontological origins of birds, and later sections of the class will touch on concepts like evolution and adaptation. This is not intended to counter theological beliefs, but is instead meant to provide an overview of currently accepted theories in the field. If nothing else, they provide an interesting way to conceptualize the relationship between different species and animals in different time periods.

A day marked with an asterisk (*) means you have something to print.

Day 1*

1. What is ornithology? Ornithology is the scientific study of birds. The study of any type of bird – from a hummingbird to an ostrich to a penguin – falls under the heading of ornithology. Any study relating to birds (from their habitats, migrations, and diets to their biology) also counts as ornithology.
2. Watch the Introduction to Ornithology. The lecturer is from India; if you have difficulty understanding turn on the captions. STOP at 10:21, when he begins to look specifically at ornithology in India.
3. Print page 1 of the PDF and use the video to answer the questions.
4. Print out the first quarter grading sheet. Record your score out of 4.

Day 2*

1. Register for a free account at Coursera. If you already have one, make sure you are logged in. (If you are not logged in, you will not be able to view the video.)
2. Watch the video “Theropod Dinosaurs and the Origin of Birds.”
3. Print page 1 of the PDF and use the video to answer the questions. Record your score out of 6.
4. Take a look at this artist’s rendition of an archaeopteryx. Can you see the characteristics of both birds and reptiles?

Day 3*

1. Watch the video about bird anatomy.
2. Print page 1 of the PDF and use the video to answer the questions. Record your score out of 7.
3. Look at this illustration comparing the skeletons of theropod feet to the foot of a modern pigeon. Can you see the similarities?

Day 4*
1. Watch the video comparing the human skeleton to bird skeletons. STOP when they begin comparing the human skeleton to the skeleton of a horse.
2. Print the bird vocabulary page and write down the definitions. Use this page to find the definitions for the terms.
3. Print page 1 of the PDF and label the bird skeleton.
4. Each worksheet is worth 5 points. Record your score today out of 10.

Day 5*
1. Watch the video about bird-like traits in coelurosaurs.
2. Print page 1 of the PDF and use the video to answer the questions. Record your score out of 6.
3. Today you are beginning your bird count! Print a copy of the bird count tally sheet OR, if you have a compatible device, you may choose to install the free Merlin bird count app.
4. Go outside and count all birds you see or hear for 15 minutes. Try to identify the birds and count how many of each you notice. Save your count sheet (or if you are using the app, be sure you are logged in so your count will be saved.)
5. Need more help with bird identification? If you have a compatible device, you may choose to download the Audubon bird guide app.

Day 6*

1. Watch the video about the development of bird-like characteristics.
2. Print page 1 of the PDF and use the video to answer the questions. Record your score out of 5.
3. Explore the interactive “Feathers Through Time.” Be sure to click the arrows that say “let’s go” or “next page.” The arrows on the sides of the page will take you to a different topic.

Day 7*

1. Watch the next video about the development of bird-like characteristics.
2. Print page 1 of the PDF and use the video to answer the questions. Record your score out of 5.

Day 8*

1. Watch the video about understanding the evolution of birds.
2. Print page 1 of the PDF and use the video to answer the questions. Record your score out of 8.
3. Watch the video “The Genius of Birds – Feathers.”

Day 9*

1. Watch the video about the survival of the Neornithes.
2. Print page 1 of the PDF and use the video to answer the questions.
3. Watch the video about the hoatzin!

Links for Later (Not for you yet)
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Vertebrate Diversity: Birds video
Everything you Need to Know About Feathers (long article)
How Feathers are Built interactive
What do these feathers do? interactive
Singing Wings: Meet a Feather Scientist video series
How Birds Make Colorful Feathers (article)
How and Why Birds Sing (article)