Here you will find nature themed activities that will change every few months, so make sure you check back for new topics.

Summer is for the birds

Birds come in all shapes and sizes.

Some are quick like hummingbirds while others are stealthy like owls.

Some sing sweetly like a chickadee while others drum hard like woodpeckers.

No matter what the bird, there will be something surprising to learn.

  • All birds have feathers, all birds have wings, but not all birds can fly.
  • The Official State Bird of Illinois is the Cardinal. It is also the state bird of Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia…making it the most popular choice for state bird.
  • Wild Turkeys are often spotted in Will County Forest Preserves.
  • They can weigh up to 30lbs and fly at speeds up to 60 mph.
  • Sometimes ducks will sleep with one eye open! When this happens, half of the brain stays alert to keep them safe.
  • The Chicken is the most common species of bird found in the world.
  • Did you know that hummingbirds can fly up, down, forwards, and backwards?
  • A hummingbird’s egg is the size of a jelly bean.


Materials: Pinecone, peanut butter, peanuts, or bird seed, and string

  • Step 1: Tie a string around the pine cone
  • Step 2: Cover pine cone in peanut butter (Crisco works too!)
  • Step 3: Roll pinecone in peanuts or seeds
  • Step 4: Hang outside and wait for a visitor!


Don’t have a pinecone? No problem! Try the same craft with a toilet paper roll.



Materials: paper plate, crayons or markers, tape or stapler, and construction paper

  • Step 1: Draw feathers in the middle of the plate.
  • Step 2: Fold sides and top of plate to make head and wings. Tape or staple sides in place.
  • Step 3: Cut round eyes, triangle beak, and feet from construction paper.
  • Step 4: Color and decorate wings, eyes, beak, and feet.

This isn't the only way to make a paper plate owl. With a few extra materials, this version can be a real hoot!


Build a Bird Nest

Take a walk outside and explore your backyard. How many bird nests you can find? Are they big or small? What are they made from? Find an area in your yard to build a nest for you. Think like a bird and gather things like branches, sticks, grasses, any anything else you can find to make it comfy cozy. Then sit in your nest and watch nature around you.

Watch Birds in Action!

Want to learn more about birds & watch them in action? Head out to Plum Creek Nature Center or Isle a la Cache Museum to check out our cool bird feeding stations.

Binoculars are available and get a close look at live birds! Field guides and staff are available to help identify the birds.


This edition is intended to quack you up


Build a Bird

Build your own bird and see if it has a chance of survival!

Hummingbirds, Up Close

Every year, we band hummingbirds at Plum Creek Nature Center and collect data on the birds, then give visitors a chance to participate in the release.


Live Cams

Explore live bird cams of hummingbirds, eagles, owls and more!



How do owls fly so silently?

"Using sensitive sound equipment the team tries to find out how an owl can fly so silently compared to other birds." – BBC Earth


Books for kids

Birds: Peterson Field Guide Color-In Books
March 27, 2003.
Alden, Peter and Roger Troy Perteson.  
Learn about birds and color them too!

National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America
Alderfer, Johnathan. 
This colorful guide will help kids identify and understand birds.

Are You My Mother
Eastman, PD.
Bright & Early Board Books. September 8, 1998. 
A baby bird hatches and goes on a search for his mother in this funny and heartwarming tale.