Follow That Bird!

A Science and Technology Unit on Tracking Birds
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A Science and Technology Unit on Tracking Birds

Welcome, students! This is your go-to landing page for all of the resources you will need when completing the Follow That Bird! lessons. Use the menu below to access bird profiles, tracking device readings, live bird-tracking data and bird-tracking maps.

Teachers: Welcome to Follow That Bird! A Science and Technology Unit on Tracking Birds. Download the lesson plans here.

Introduction to Migratory Birds

A brown pelican, with a gray-brown body, white neck and head, and long bill

Many migratory birds make fantastic voyages each year that stretch hundreds or even thousands of miles. Learn more about bird migration.

Species Profiles

A long-billed curlew flying over a body of water with low grassy hills in the distance
Read about different migratory bird species, such as the Pacific loon and the brown pelican.

Tracking Devices

Aluminum and colored bird bands (yellow, purple, orange and green) used for tagging and re-sighting birds.
Scientists use different types of tracking technologies to determine the location of a bird at a given point in time.

Teacher Resources

Download lesson plans for Follow That Bird! A Science and Technology Unite on Tracking Birds. This inquiry-based unit teaches core middle-school science concepts through student exploration of the tools used by Smithsonian scientists to track birds, the data they collect and how new information is used for conservation.

The Full Annual Cycle

A gray catbird in a researchers hand. It has colored bands around its ankles.

Learn about the full annual cycle, which describes a migratory bird’s ecology across the year, including breeding, migration and overwintering periods.