Lesson Plans about Nesting and Breeding

Nesting and Breeding

The lesson plans for this section of "Migration Science and Mystery: A Distance Learning Adventure" relate to nesting and breeding. Many shorebirds breed in the Arctic Circle and are "site-faithful," returning to the same breeding grounds, and sometimes the same territory, year after year.

Concepts Presented in Lesson Plans

■ During a shorebird’s breeding season, its habitat is where it courts, nests, and raises its young.
■ The Arctic tundra is critically important breeding habitat for many migratory shorebirds.
■ Your local environment may be important breeding habitat for some shorebirds.
■ Shorebirds migrate to higher latitudes (like the Arctic) for breeding so they can take advantage of the summer’s abundance of invertebrates.
■ Some shorebirds defend breeding territories.
■ Shorebirds nest on the ground.
■ Shorebirds face numerous threats at their breeding grounds.
■ Shorebirds have elaborate behavioral adaptations for courtship display and protection of their nests and young.
■ The elaborate behaviors of shorebirds for attracting mates and protecting young are some of the most spectacular and complex of all birds.
■ Shorebird nests are camouflaged. Chicks use both camouflage and behavior to stay concealed from predators.
■ Most shorebirds look different during the nonbreeding and breeding seasons.

Lesson Plans

Colorful Changes
(lower elementary, upper elementary/middle school; upper middle/high school)
Students discover that some shorebirds have dramatically different breeding and nonbreeding plumage. They then create an artistic representation of a shorebird species in both seasons.

Guard Your Nest
(lower elementary, upper elementary/middle school)
Students, pretending to be shorebirds, must guard their nests from a multitude of predators and threats. They discover that camouflage and distraction displays are two strategies that increase a shorebird’s chance of nesting success.

It’s a Tough Life!
(upper elementary/middle school)
Students play a game that simulates the challenges shorebirds face when trying to feed along many coastal beaches. Students actively begin thinking about what shorebirds need and the things that are threatening their survival.