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Creative Lesson Plan on


for teachers, educators and community workers

Ecology and Natural Resource Education
Development Research Communication & Services Centre
Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 1
'Creative lesson plan on Birds' (Selections from ‘Basbhumi’ : booklet - 5)

Project Coordinating & Concept Development : Ardhendu S. Chatterjee

Lesson Plans Design, Illustration & Editing : Satoko Chatterjee
Content Review : Ardhendu S. Chatterjee, Anshuman Das, Parthib Basu
Translation & processing of feedback data : Sanjib Chatterjee
Feedback from teachers and children of ENRE network :
Samir Biswas, Sudip Kumar Mondol, Sourendranath Sen, Amal Sarkar (Swanirvar),
Debasish Panda, Sek Jobok Ali ( Kajla Jana Kalyan Samiti), Shantonu & Manosi
Chatterjee (Chandannagore), Madhumita Ata, Alok Maji (Ashurali)
Comosition & Layout : Somjita Mukherjee
Cover : Satoko Chatterjee, Abhijit Das

Copyright - 2004 ENRE project / DRCSC (Contributions towards printing cost : Rs. 30 / also
available on exchange with EE materials & publications)
Booklets are available in Bengali also.
Your contributions will help us to keep producing forthcoming booklets.
No restrictions on copying for educational and non-commercial purposes, but do mention the
aource and if possible please send us a copy.

For comments, suggestion and more copies, contact us :

ENRE project / DRCSC,
58A Dharmatola road, Bosepukur, Kasba, Kolkata 700042, West Bengal , INDIA
( 2442 7311, 2441 1646 E-mail :

We are thankful to AEON Group Environment Foundation (Japan) for partial financial
support towards the production & distribution cost of this booklet

2 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

About this booklet & how to use 4

About ‘Creative Lesson Plans’ & Curriculum Connection 6

Overall goal and Activity steps 8

We got Feedback from... 10

Lesson plans and their feedback ( Step 1)

Preparatory Work – for growing children's interest
Activity (A) ‘Birds in Stories’ 12
Activity ( B) ‘My Experience with Birds’ 26

Review and Make Sure (Step 2) – for platform towards next step
Review & Discussion 38
Teachers' Note : 'Source Books for Birds' 39
Put it Together & Gap Filling Work 40
Teachers' Note : 'Supportive Materials for Learning 43
Lesson plans and their feedback (Step 3) – Investigation / Project
Activity (A) 'What is their Relation? - Agriculture, Birds and
Scarecrows' 46
Activity (B) 'Inviting Birds into SchoolYard' 52

Check List of Birds Appeared in Children's Feedback 62

Resources – for strengthening your guiding role

Expert’s view point :
Birds and Our Environment 66
Books and other Interesting Lesson Plans 73

ENRE Partner Organisations' address 78

From ENRE 78

Your Feedback Slip 79

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 3

About this booklet —
All the lesson plans included in this booklet were developed by ENRE team
and tried out (and sometime modified ) by the teachers and children’s
groups of ENRE network. Originally these lesson plans were provided to a
network of teachers as model lesson plans targeted for the children of
class IV-IX in shape of bi-monthly ENRE newsletter ‘Basbhumi (Habitat)’.
With the skill of ‘active learning methods’ imparted through our teachers'
training, they have tried out each activity with their students in their class or
as extra curricular activity for last 2-3 years. Their feedback makes this
booklet more unique and life related.

12 topics related to Natural Resources and their sustainable management

etc. were discussed in various issues of ‘Basbhumi’ (in Bengali). 'Birds' is
the fifth topic booklet.

We hope this booklet is useful for other teachers and educators, as well
as community workers and even for those parents who are actively
involved in environmental education or environmental activities in their own
<how this booklet has been prepared>
And we shall be Basbhu
mi ☺ ☺
topic 4
delighted if this - Med.
p la n ts
booklet can 5 - Bird

6 - Fue
help in 1st step
l • teachers get an idea about
the lesson plans and activities
nurturing the 2nd ste
p V
mind & spirit of 3rd ste
young • teachers work out with
children according to the
generation who lesson plans
can take a key modifying &
teach training of ENRE
role for caring additional à teachers
information v à Overview of the Expert
their own
booklets on each topic
environment ☺ ø
and community ENRE Resource æ reference

life. ☺ æ Centre
ø ø books

☺ òò ☺ database lesson plans

information materials
☺ ☺ prepared by

for other schools, teachers & children of other gropus

(Please see page 78 for forthcoming issues)

4 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

How to use this booklet —
• The lesson plans in this booklet are designed step wise (see page 8 & 9). We
suggest to try out these activities following the steps, but you can also adapt
each core idea according to your local context.
For teaching & learning process :
Ø You can get some ideas on how to prepare your own lesson plan
promoting action learning.
Ø You can try out several participatory learning & sharing tools (eg, brain
storming, making charts & graphs, mapping, ranking, timeline, data
collection, interview, presentation etc. ) for your class.
Ø You can get ideas on how to connect your class room to local
Ø You can use these lesson plans both for school curriculum and extra
curriculum work and obviously you can generate children’s interest &
enthusiasm on environmental issues and activities.
For community aspects :
Ø You can help the children to collect local data on natural resources in
their neighbourhood and encourage them to know more about their
Ø You can organize children’s group to improve local environment through
collective action.
Ø You can grow community members' awareness on environment through
children’s activity.

For home :
Ø You can try out some of these activities with children in your home
during their school holidays. We are sure you can design your own
'home –based' activity for a greener world, because we have already got
feedbacks about this.

• In ‘reference’ section, we have included expert’s view point on the topic and
also have introduced some useful documents. You can get some ideas how
community based activity can be related and contribute to global environmental
issues etc. and hopefully you can utilize these resources & information to
strengthen your capacity of facilitating activities.

As a checklist of birds' name in English and Bengali, we listed up birds'

name mentioned in children's feedback. You can add more birds observed in
your area on this list (see pg. 61).

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 5

About lesson plan —
Through activities of the ENRE project, we have realized that creating & developing
own lesson plan is extremely difficult for most of the network teachers because they
don’t have the habit and experience to do so. The
situation must be more or less same for the other
teachers in our country. Though Environmental
Education has been brought into the school curriculum
as a subject, the teaching method is still textbook
centered, memorizing & repetition based and
examination oriented. Unfortunately for children
(fortunately for teachers?) all answers are already given
in the text books. But is it possible to develop their interest
about any issue by memorizing names of trees, birds,
and animals or just by copying the text book’s drawing
of seed germination or insects’ metamorphosis? We asking good questions is much
more important than seeking
wish the learning process could be more exciting answers
and open ended process rather than ‘being hammered
by more and more information’.

What is 'creative lesson plan' ?

We think that good lesson plans should provide the opportunity of discovering
and searching out the fact by children themselves. Children can choose their
own learning process and context. The teachers only
need to facilitate it, rather than imposing an uniform
Creative lesson plans should have the following aspects.
• Starting from what children already
know & what children have experienced
/ felt; These help to enhance children’s
interest about the topic.
• Having the overall goal related to
‘Social / Environmental issue’ and
‘Scientific attitude’.
For example on the topic Birds, social/
environmental goal can be <to understand
the role of birds in our environment>
<to grow awareness & action for
conserving birds>, and scientific goal can 'Link the classroom and community'
be <to observe birds' morphology in relation
to their food habit> <to learn about food chain & food web through birds> etc.
Setting up these goals helps the children to be aware that they can do something to
improve their environment and solve some of the social problems.

6 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

• Including group activity as well as individual activity. Through group
discussion, planning and activity, children can find out better ideas and solution =
and also can grow their cooperative attitude and collaborative skills. They can
learn to respect other’s opinion too.
• Children can have fun and relish the moments of discovery in their learning
• Children’s learning activity should link their class room and community. This
is essential for Environmental Education, as we need more initiatives for a better
• Using active & group based learning methods with children (eg.
brainstorming, making charts & graphs, mapping, ranking, timeline, data collection,
interview, presentation & sharing skill etc.)
• Using local materials and examples for activities, you can make the activity
more low cost and eco-friendly. You can use waste materials.

Curriculum connection
Creative lesson plan has an integrated curriculum approach. This helps you to
weave what you are doing in science or EVS (environmental studies) with math,
language, social studies, geography and art etc. We illustrate below how each
activity in this booklet can be connected to school curriculum.

We are getting positive feedback from network teachers that children had certainly
shown increased interest to learn other
school subjects and developed
their leadership abilities after
practicing activity-based Environment
lesson plans. Art Education

Language Birds Physical


Social Science

'creative lesson plans' approach can help to increase children's

interest to learn and develop a positive attitude.

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 7

= Birds
n Overall goal
About 8,600 species of Birds are found allover the world, of these 1,200 species are found
in our country, India. Birds are said to be good indicators of environmental degradation as
their survival is closely linked with healthy forests, wetlands, farms etc. They depend on the
places both as habitat and as source of food. Children are encouraged to observe birds
closely and scientifically and to collect information from various sources like books, web
sites, and local farmers …Teachers assist children to realise that if we want the beautiful
and useful bird neighbours to survive; we have to protect our environment by reducing air/
water pollution and by reducing pesticides we use in farms & orchards. We can also help
birds by planting more trees and keeping our wetlands clean.
Through these series of activities, children can learn that conserving birds depends on
taking the action against unsustainable usage of natural resourceslike reducing air/water
pollution, reducing to use chemical pesticide, and planting trees etc.

n Activity Steps
ð Step 2 Review & Make Sure

To make platform for further activities, have

summarize & review of preparatory work.
make sure Children have learnt ne
Encourage childrens to raise further qu

ð Step 1 Preparatory work

to build children's interest and to know what children already

know. Children collect information / data through own observa-
tion and inquiry to family members & local community mem-

=Activity (A)
'Birds in Stories'
= Activity (B)
'My Experience with
collecting & classifying observation, keeping
information records, classifying
literature, reading skill writing skill (Language),
(Language), ranking drawing (Art)
class periods required 2~3 class periods required
periods; 11/2 hrs per peiod - 3~4 periods

8 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

n Changes Expected
• More eco-groups are created and they are organising bird
watching trip in their own locality.
• Children can prepare data/booklet on local birds.
• Childrens' effort can help to increase community members'
awareness for nurturing a bird-friendly environment.

ð Step 3 Investigation/Project Work

to create child-oriented activity. Children can apply their
collected information into designing studies which are
meaningful for the community.

= Activity (A)
'What is their Relation ? –
= Activity (B)
'Inviting Birds into
Agriculture, Birds & Schoolyard'
field trip, interview, data practical work,
analysis, art work, writing awareness
report campaign, craft
class periods class periods
required 4 ~ 5 periods required 3 ~ 4 periods
, have a discussion with children to (1.5 hours/period) +
ork. Put any missing information and regular observation &
necessary points for the next step. taking care of birds
question and initiative solution.

Concepts and techniques which you can develop in activities

Keywords Step 1 Step 2 Step 3

(A) (B) (Discussion) (A) (B)

Observation skill ü ü ü ü ü
Bird's external morphology ü ü ü
Birds & food chain / web ü ü
Birds' habitat ü ü ü ü ü
Birds & Agriculture ü ü
(injurious / beneficial
Bird watching ü ü
Conservation of birds ü ü

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 9

We got feedback from different Organisations —
Even if we all do the same activity, our results could be different, depending on where one lives or
the children's abilities. It's quite natural for this to happen. The results that you obtained and
data collected which is specific to your locality will become a valuable case study. In this booklet,
we will share the feedback we got from different ENRE network groups. You can compare your
results with these.
We would like to learn more about the urban school situation & about hill areas from the other
groups, since we do not work in these areas yet. So, it would be nice if you would share your

Gandhi Vichar Parishad group India

Bankura district West Bengal

4 teachers were involved in
conducting various activities.
This district is located in a
dry-land area. The Vegetation & Swanirvar group
soil there is rather different North 24 Pargana district
from that of other groups. 4 network teachers in association
Fortunately, a beautiful river runs through with 13 other teachers conducted
their villages and provides an important water activities with children in 8
source including for drinking water. villages.
All the children study in government
schools & are aged between 10 & 16
Kajla group
East Midnapore district
Intensive agriculture is the main
5 teachers & their students occupation of this area and the
conducted the activities farmers used to apply large amounts
within their E.E. school of chemical
curriculum in 6 villages. fertiliser &
About half the children pesticide.
belong to Hindu families and Arsenic in the
the rest are Muslim. ground water
The area is located in the is one of the
coastal area and regu- major environ-
larly hit by cyclones. As mental problem in this district.
a result it does not
have irrigation facilities. Ashurali group
Agriculture, Small scale industries South 24 Pargana district
(handicraft) and fisheries are the main
sources of livelihood in this area. 2 teachers conducted activity with
15 children in two villages,
Chandannagore group Sundarika, Karaghata.
Hooghly district Children study in NGO-run primary
One of the staff from ENRE team tried out these activi-
Their area is mainly agricultural
ties with her children as home-based activity.
land but industrial estate is also
Children study in English medium schools
located nearby. Villagers earn their
unlike the other children in network.
Chandannagore is a small town and
from agricul-
located on the bank of Ganga river.
ture and
Many trees and ponds are observable
working in
like in other towns in this district.
Many commuters go to Calcutta
everyday by train from here.
10 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5
Step - 1
Preparatory Work

for growing children's interest

Lesson Plans


Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 11

= Bird
Step 1 — Preparatory Work — Activity (A)

"Birds in the Stories"

Find out what kind of birds appeared in our folk tales and story books. Are there
any popular characters among them ? This is one of the interesting activity
which can increase children's interests & curiosity towards birds.
[ both for rural & urban schools class 4 to 6 collecting information, categorizing
literature, reading skill (language), ranking (Maths) 2-3 periods (11/2 hours per period]

= Objectives
• To create childrens' interest on common birds.
• To try out integrated subject approach to increase children's eagerness to learn
about birds.
• To help children to observe common birds more carefully.

= Success Indication for Proceeding to the Next Step

è Children realize that there are many kinds of birds in their own surrounding, though
those birds have not appeared in any stories & folk tales.

è Children
want to
know more
birds; their
food habits

12 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

Step 1 – Activity (A)

= Activity : Create interest & motivation

Ask children whether they have read any stories & folk tales in which birds appear (not
stories on birds & guide books on birds).

If there are some, those children are requested to tell the outline of the story & how the
bird is described there.

= Information Collection

Collect more stories with the children. They can visit a school library and go through the
books or ask other teachers/parents if they know any stories in which birds appear.
There are several good stories in the “Panchatantra”. After the children have searched
for stories by themselves, the teacher can tell the children more stories if necessary
(see the following list).

It would be better to use a separate sheet for summarising each story. (One record
sheet per story)
Discuss with the children what points need to be mentioned for keeping a record of
Develop a format that the children can use every time they want to make a record of a
story. This practice is very useful for developing language and writing skills and to in
crease their vocabulary, especially the words describing characters & behaviours.

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 13

Some titles of the books on 'Birds'

1. The Stork and The Crab (PANCHATANTRA/CBT)

2. The Crow and The Black Snake (PANCHATANTRA/CBT)
3. The Tortoise and the Gees (PANCHATANTRA/CBT)
4. Himsuka (Treasury of Indian Tales Book I/CBT) Parrot
5. The King and the Parrot (Treasury of Indian Tales Book I/CBT)
6. The Crane and the Fish (Indian Folk Tales/Ministry of Information
& Broadcasting)
7. The Tortoise who talked too much (Indian Folk Tales/Ministry of
Information & Broadcasting)
8. The Vulture, The Cat & The Birds (Hitopadesha/IBH)
9. The Crow, The Deer and Jackal (Hitopadesha/IBH)
10. The Choice of Friends (Hitopadesha/IBH) Crow
11. The Bird who Shed Golden Dropping (Hitopadesha/IBH)
12. The Goose that Laid Golden Egg (Moral Stories/ARORA)
13. The Peacock and Juno (Moral Stories/ARORA)
14. The Cat & the Birds (Moral Stories/ARORA)
15. The Jackdaw and The Pigeons(Moral Stories/ARORA)
16. Rajhans (Mollah Nasiruddiner 100 galpo)
17. Pakhir Eto Dam (Mollah Nasiruddiner 100 galpo)
18. Pancha ar Panchani (Abol Tabol)
19. Phaske Gelo !
« 20. Bausalikh ar Bang Buro (Jui Phuler Rumal, Kartik Ghosh)
21. Jui Phuler Rumal (Jui Phuler Rumal, Kartik Ghosh)
22. Kaththokrar Pathshala (Niriha Daitya / Saila Chakraborty)
« 23. Pakhir Upakatha (Naresh Chandra Jana, Sishu Sahitya Samsad)
24. "Many Years Ago" (Naresh Chandra Jana, Shishu Sahitya Samsad)
25. The Thirsty Crow (Famous Stories for Children/Dingra)
26. Stork the Saviour (1) (Famous Stories for Children/Dingra)
27. Crane who knew Everything (Famous Stories for Children/Dingra)
28. Fox and the Crane (Famous Stories for Children/Dingra)
29. Swallow and the Koel (Famous Stories for Children/Dingra)
30. 'Rajar Totapakhi' (Jadur Tuli, BRAC)
31. 'Pakhir Chana' (Dasur Gari, BRAC)

« See Teacher's Note

14 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5
Step 1 – Activity (A)

[Birds in the Stories : Illustrations from the Books]

2. "The Crows and the

1. "The Stork and the Crab" Black Snake" 3. "The Tortoise and
the Geese"

6. "The Crane and the Fish"

12. "The Goose that Lays
Golden Eggs"

4. "Himsuka"

1. "Rajhans" 17. "Pakhir Eto Dam"

18. "Pancha ar Panchani"

20. "Bausalikh ar Bang Buro"

21. "Jui Phuler Rumal"

22. "Kaththokrar Pathsala"

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 15
Example of Summary Sheet on 'Bird's Story'
name of the bird
Story 1 v
Birds in story
Stork (Crane)
Title of the story - Th
e Stork and the Crab
Books or NTRA Book 1 / CBT
/ 19 65

Persons n Outline of the sto

ry book/publisher/year
Old stork tricked the
fishes and ate them
crab realized stork's all up. The
trick and finally stork
by crab. Other fish, fro was killed
g & crab are all happ
that. y after

n Description of
Bird (in story)
• lives in tank
• eats fish, frog, crab
• character : Wicked
, liar
n Comment of th
e Recorder
I have not seen stork.
I wonder if bird beco
how they hunt food? mes old

(student's name, cla

ss, date)
Story 18 n Outl
ine of th
e story
Mr. Owl
is so terr Mrs. Ow
ible that l that he
he forgo r voice &
songs to t now all song
o. sweet

n Des
crip tion of
Likes m

n Com
Mrs. Ow
l can als
mother to o blame
ld if we Mr. Owl.
h ear the My gran
may hap owl's vo d
pen, but ice, bad
I don't th th ings
ink so.

s name,
class, d

16 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

Step 1 – Activity (A)

= Summarizing the Information [preparing chart]

Read & listen all stories collected by children.

Gather all information sheets of Birds' stories. Display all sheets & categorize them
according to birds & other criteria. Those collected information sheets can be categorized
according to several subjects which children think important & interesting.

It is interesting to find out which bird appears in stories most and make ranking on
'popular bird in stories' (same stories should be treated one story).

Then put summary information into a chart which shows the result at a glance. (popularity
ranking, described bird's character / attitude, habitat and food etc.) Don't forget to
mention the basic information, for example

1) Title : Which information are presented in this chart

2) Background of information : Who collected the information from whom, where & how ?
3) Date : When this chart was prepared
4) Author's name : Who made this chart.
(students' names, class, school, district & teacher's name)

In addition to these information, children can put birds' drawings to these and information
based on their daily observation children can put any saying or proverb related to the
particular bird on the information sheet also. (eg. hearing owl's voice is unlucky sign etc).
Example summary sheet is shown on the next page.

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 17

1 Title

2 (Background information) example summary sheet
Popular Birds in Stories and Our Observation
We (14 children class IV - V) collected total 36 stories, folk tales,
and poems in which birds appear from books & our neighbours

In the Stories Our observation/othersources


Birds No. of Described D e s c r - F o o d Drawing W h e r e W h e r e What Old

S t o r i e s Character ibed we see they they sayings /
of birds Living live eat remarks
Place (nest)

1. Crow 8 Clever ---- ---- Sweeper

(1-8) Stupid bird

2. Gees 7 Kind pond

(9-14) Clever farmer's
& (3) house

3. Stork/ 5 Wicked tank fish

Crane (15-19) Kind frog
Clever crab

4. Birds 'Birds of
(general) a feather

5. Parrot

Title of Collected Stories

1) ----- 20) ----
2) ---- 21) ----
3) ----- 22) ----
.. ..
Prepared by .. .. ...................., 2000
v v
4 Author's name 3 Date

18 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

1 – (A) Feedback

Step 1 – Activity (A)

= In this activity children read many story books &

folk tales in which birds appeared. Children must
find out, how the characteristics of the bird are
coming out from the story.

To compare with the content of the stories, children

can start observing birds in surroundings more

= Feedback Summary
Name of
(Ashurali) (Swanirvar) (Swanirvar) (Swanirvar)

1. Village Sundarika Bajitpur Gokulpur North Media

2. Children class II, III, V class V - X class IV - VIII class V - X

Class/number (26 students) (20 students)

3. Class / Not mentioned 2 periods 8 periods 8 periods

Period 1 period = 2 hrs. 1 period = 90 minutes

4. Date of Not mentioned 02.01.2001 – 26.08.2000 – 01.12.2000 –

Activity 04.02.2001 11.02.2001 14.2.2001

5.Expenses Not mentioned Not mentioned Rs. 34/- Rs. 30/-

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 19

= Results

Birds in the Stories

n Students from one of the Swanirvar group (teacher : Amal Sarkar) collected 6 stories
and 3 rhymes on birds. The list is given below :

Collected stories : 'Heron and Wolf', 'Getting friends', 'Heron eats fish', 'Un
known birds', 'Tailor bird & cat'.

Birds in the stories and children's observation on each bird

No. Bird Character Living place Food Drawing Observed Nesting Food other
place place names
to obser-

1. H e r o n / Greedy Top of the Fish, crab Back of Top of trees Various kind fisher-
Egret bamboo canal, pond, of fish & man bird
irland of river crab

2. S p a r r o w Clever Hole of tree Paddy, Veranda & Hole of the Paddy,

trunk wheat, roof tree trunk wheat,
insects insects etc

3. P i g e o n Clever, House, Paddy, House roof On the Paddy,

friendly bamboo wheat, & field branches of wheat,
with pulse trees/ pulse
human bamboo

4. Parrot / Clever Bird cage Grains Old trees, Hole of tree Ripe fruits
Parakeet ricefield, trunk grain

5. C r o w Hunter Branches of Dead Bank of river Bamboo Dead body Sweeper

trees body where forest bird
garbage is

6. Ta i l o r Clever Branch of Insects & House Branch of Grains

bird trees grains garden trees

7. Macaw Intelligent Bird cage Chick pea Zoo Hole of Grains Clever
trees bird

8. Baya Clever & Palm tree, Palm tree Palm tree Paddy, Weaver
wise nest looks like wheat, bird
lamp cover small

20 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

1 – (A) Feedback

n Students of the village Gokulpur under the guidance of teacher Tarun Mondol have
collected 6 stories and 2 poems on birds. This group concluded that most popular
birds in the stories are
1. Koel 2. Crow 3. Tailor bird

The collected stories are : Helon and crow, Crow, deer & fox, Cowherd boy & lame
duck, Clever duck & fox, Tailor bird and cat, Three queens and cuckoo, Old women
and parrot, Lemon girl, Cuckoo & cat, Sparrow and tiger, Crow & vessel.

☺ Extract from Student's Studies

ame of the bird - Warbler
(mentioned in the story)
Name of the story - Warbler and the Cat
Source - Bengali book of class III,
Writer - Upendra Kishore RoyChowdhury
Outline of the story - Once a Warbler has made his nest upon a brinjal plant. There was two
baby birds in the nest. A cat used to come there everyday with an
intention to eat the babies. But the mother Warbler protects her babies
away from the cat by a wise trick. Everday when the cat come, the
Warbler please him with a praising bow. But when the babies learnt to
fly then the Warbler kicked the cat and flew away.
Characteristics of the bird - The Warbler lived in brinjal plant, fed her babies and have tried to satisfy
(mentioned in the story) the cat.
Remarks - I think that the Warbler is a very clever bird.
Baby Goldar - class IV
(teacher - Sudip Kr. Mondol)

Name of the bird - Crow

(mentioned in the story)
Name of the story - The Crow and the Pitcher
Source - From my grandfather
Outline of the story - Once a crow was very thirsty. But there was not a trace of even a
little water. At last he found a pitcher, at the bottom of which there was
a little water. But the crow could not reach the water. Then he dropped
some pebbles and by raising the level could reach the water.
Characteristics of the bird - The crow was very thirsty, he felt distressed for water & apply his tact
(mentioned in the story) for drinking the bottom water.
Remarks - I think, that crow is very clever and he deserves praise for presence of
Achintya Mondol, class - X
(teacher - Sudip Kr. Mondol)

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 21

n Children checked whether they have seen all birds appeared in stories !

Name of the birds which we have Seen Birds Unseen Birds

seen in our area 1) Crow 1) Migrating birds
Crow, Parrot, Vulture, Duck, Hen, 2) Heron 2) Cockatoo
Warbler, Dove, Woodpecker, (Gurguri), 3) Kite 3) Parakeet
Pigeon, Yellow bird, Parrot, Wild parrot, 4) Dove 4) Eagle
(Terro), Heron, Crane, (Timtime), 5) (Chatari) 5) Ostrich
White long tailed bird, Common Myna, 6) Duck 6) Peacock
Magpie Robin, Black Drongo, Kingfisher, 7) Cuckoo 7) Sparrow
Weaver Bird, Macaw, Bulbul, Pied Myna 8) Hen 8) Penguin
9) (Patkua) 9) (Badri)
Seen elsewhere 10) Kingfisher 10) Coloured parrot
Eagle, Peacock, Penguine, Hawk, Cuckoo, 11) Magpie robin 11) Hawk
Moorhen 12) Black drongo 12) Macaw
13) Common myna 13) Bulbul
Imaginary bird 14) Owl 14) (Kalachora)
Bangama, Bangami, Jatayu 15) Woodpecker 15) (Munia)
Teacher : Sourendranath Sen, Swanirvar 16) Emu
Sulekha Maity - class 2
(teacher - Aloke Majhi, Ashurali)

Imaginary birds

Garuda : Half man, half eagle, Garuda is the vehicle

of Vishnu and is mentioned in several stories con-
nected with him. Garuda was said to have helped
Rama too in the Ramayana.
(from 'Gods & Godesses of India', Anjula Bedi)
Jatayu : An incarnation of Garuda.
Bihangama & Bihangami : The divine bird
Bihangama and his mate Bihangami are appeared in
several bengali folk stories like 'The Story of Prince
Sobur'. In the story their dung have power for curing
illness and the king of bird Bihangama carries the
young lady on his back to help her.
('Folk Tales of Bengal', Rev. Lal Behari Dey, p76-85)
(by ENRE)

22 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

1 – (A) Feedback

n Poems Composed and Collected by Children

Md. Sarika Khatun, class V

Oh cuckatoo come here

Do not have fear
The pussy will not say a thing
It won't come near
Sitting on your perch,
You look lovely, you do!
Is it why my little one
Often comes to you ?

Sahid Ali Khan, class V Sk. Riazul Islam, class V

Oh peacock dear,
My little one is very angry
Please come here.
When you lift up your plumes
When you lift it up high
It seems like a rainbow
I have seen Painted in the sky.

Oh crow come here

Where were you all morning
Roaming here & there ?
The bowl of puffed rice
Of my little honey, dear,
How shall I give
If you don't come near.

I did not see peacock. I have seen it only in the picture

books. Peacock is India's national bird. It looks very pretty
and beautiful. It dances with the sound of cloud. It eats
insects & worms, small snakes etc. It helps us by eating
insects & worms. Beautiful punkhas and other things can
be prepared from its tail.

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 23

Birds' Nickname
n Several childrens groups listed up & studied interesting nicknames for
the birds

☺ Tailor Bird - Tuntuni is known as tailor bird. By his sharp beak a Tuntuni have used tree
fibres, silk worm and weles as threads, and prepare fine nests.

Fisherman - Kingfisher is known as Fisherman Bird. They are very colourful. We observed
Bird they sat on bent branches of the trees, upon the sides of ponds and river and was
waiting for fish. When a fish appeared over the water, they quickly caught the fish
and came again at the same position.

Weaver Bird - Babui is known as Weaver Bird. By bits of dry grass and leaves they can make
beautiful nests. It looks like a water vessel in reverse position.
Pranati Saw – class V
(teacher - Aloke Majhi)

☺ The Birds known as

1. Baya à weaver bird, 2. Tuntuni à tailor bird, 3. Crow and vulture à
scarenger bird, 4. Kingfisher à fisherman bird, 5. Black Drongo à watchman
6. Woodpecker à woodman, 7. Cuckoo à lazy bird, 8. Pigeon à messenger of peace,
9. Cuckoo à messenger of spring, 10. Peacock à national bird,
11. Wild duck, waterhen, snipe are known as migrating birds,
12. Magpie Robin is known as singer bird, 13. Eagle, Kite etc are known as hunter bird.
(teacher - Sourendranath Sen, Swanirvar)

☺ Crow - Crows are supposed to inform about the death, which mean they convey bad
news. Crows sit comfortably on the dead bodies of the various animals, which
floats along the river and have it. Crows mainly eat rice, dead-decaying animal
bodies and insects, dal, fruits of the banyan tree, ripen papaya & other fruits. Their
nests are made of 'Kano' leaves. It's meat is not eatable. Cannot speak and so are
not domesticated. It's also known as the sweeper bird. It cries caw caw.
Magpie Robin - Usually these feed on earthworm, termites etc.

Egret - These are found mainly around ditches. Fond of fishes. During the afternoon and
evening they sit on the lower branches of the trees surrounding marshy areas and
keep on looking into the water. As soon as any fish swims in the upper layer of the
water, they catch them to have it. Before it grows dark they back to their nests.
Can't speak and are not domesticated. They make their nests in bushes and on
bamboo trees with grasses.
Owl - In an assembly of animals and birds, the king of the jungle instructed that the worst
or ugly looking birds are to be thrown out of the forests. Being very clever the owl
volunteered, "My Lord, I want to take the resposibility". The king understood the
shrewdness and ordered, "it is allright, no one will have to leave the forest. All of
them will live together in this forest." An owl hoots.
(illustrations put by ENRE)
24 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5
1 – (A) Feedback

= Teacher's Comment

Children enjoyed this activity very much. (Sudip Kr. Mondol)

Children got interest on birds through this activity. They learn about birds in Nature
Science and Life Science classes. So there are scopes to use these lesson plans
effectively in school curriculum also. (Sourendra Nath Sen)

Sharing Ideas

= To know about Birds' nicknames is interesting starting point to learn about birds
and their habit. Encourage children to find out the fact behind the nickname given to
a certain bird. For example, when children search the reason why 'koel is called
lazy bird', they can learn about species of parasitic birds and foster birds. (ENRE)

Fact Sheet Fact Sheet

.... why 'Tailor Bird' .... why 'Koel is called Lazy Bird'

Makes nest by folding over leaves in When a bird species puts the
the form of funnel by stitching along the responsibilites of nestbuilding, incubation
edges. and rearing of its chicks on to another
species it is known as a parasitic bird.
Uses soft fibres, cotton wool and other The species that performs the above
plant matter, line the nest. duties, is known as a foster bird or a
foster parent. The koel is a classic
Nesting season is April to September. example of a parasitic bird, while the
House Crow is an example of a foster
Lays 3-4 eggs, reddish/bluish white parent. The koel is not the only parasitic
spotted with brownish red. bird. The cuckoo family has this peculiar-
ity all over the world.
Female alone incu-
bates and both Varied species of birds are selected as
parents share the foster parents. It is
domestic duties. rather strange that
majority of the
foster birds are
smaller in size
than the parasitic

Extract from "Nature Scope India : Birds, Birds, Birds" (CEE, 1999, pg 29 & 34)

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 25

= Bird
Step 1 — Preparatory Work — Activity (B)

'My Experience with Birds'

Children must have a lot of encounter with birds in their daily life ... on the way to
school, through window, and at the top of the big tree beside the nearby pond
etc. Some children may keep birds as their pet. Children can write down those
experiences and become more familier with birds.
[ both for rural & urban schools class 4 to 6 observing, keeping records,
categorizing writing skill (language), drawing (art) 2 - 3 periods (11/2 hours per peiod]

= Objectives
• To create children's interest on common birds.
• To know what children already know about birds.
• To grow children's skills of observation & keeping record.

= Success Indicators

è Children want to know

more about birds — their
name, habitat & what
they eat.
è Children realize that they
can categorize birds
according to observed
places, seasons &
food habit etc.

26 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

Step 1 – Activity (B)

Create Interest & Motivation
Ask children what kind of experience do they have with birds. Teacher explains even
small & tiny experiences are welcome and tell own experience as an example. Then
ask some children to share their experience in group/class. Other children can ask
questions to him/her too.

= Information Collection
Collect more stories of experiences with birds. Ask children to write down own experi-
ences. Better use a format for writing. It helps, because children will not miss all
necessary points and it makes easier to arrange those information later. Use one
sheet for one experience.
Tell children that writing clearly is very important. They need to mention several points
like when it happened, where it happened, what happened and they can add how they
felt? This practice provides good opportunity for developing language skills especially
for expressing & logical writing.
Children can write any small experience which they remebered. If children are eager to
do more, ask them to keep record of their new experiences for one week. Try to put
encouraged drawing also. It helps to make their writing clearer & attractive.
Some example sheets are shown here (experience 2-4 are in the next page) :
bird's name

My experience with Kingfisher

Title : I saw how a kingfisher eats a fish
which Dove
When : Middle of February 2000
Where : In my garden

What happened : My house is located beside the big

pond. One day I saw a kingfisher sat on the branch
keeping a fish in her beak. She shook her head very hard
& beat the fish's head on the branch. She repeated till the
fish's head was taken off. Then she changed the position
of fish vertically & swallowed it quickly.
How I felt : I was surprised, how clever kingfisher is, and I
thought she doesn't like fish's head just like me. Experi
Experi- Experi- enc -
e e - 4
Recorder en ce - 2nce - 3
Experience 1
(Name, class, date)
Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 27
Sheet One evening a Magpie robin eneterd the room by mistake & hit the fan & died.
2/4 (March, 00)

Sheet One couple of Dove made their nest in the bush of paper flower under the window of
3/4 my house. I saw one egg in the nest. But a few days later the egg had disappeared
& the doves were gone too. I wondered whether some other bird ate up their egg.
(middle of April, 2000)

Sheet Beside my house one house is under the construction, water was kept on the roof for
4/4 settlement. Water depth was about 7-10cm. Many kind of birds used to come there
for taking bath. I could
observe crow, magpie robin,
dove, kingfisher, mynah and
bulbul's baby too.

28 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

Step 1 – Activity (B)

= Summarizing the Information [preparing chart]

Read & listen to all experiences gathered. Put all sheets on the wall according to
the birds. How many kinds of birds gathered in childrens' record? Make ranking of bird
according to the number of occurance. It shows us which one is the most common bird
for children.

Children are requested to summarize information for each bird by group work. Later put
those summaries in one sheet.

Children can put drawings / photos for identification of bird. It can be interesting to even
put feathers if they could find them.

Example Summary Sheet

Our Experiences with Birds
We, 15 children of class V-VI, collected our experiences with birds.
We collected total 64 experiences about 18 kinds of birds.

Bird Drawing/feather Experience Where When Food Nest Uses

1. Magpie 34

2. Bulbul 28

3. Dove ----

Prepared by (students names / class / school / teacher's name / village / district)

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 29

Step 1 – Activity (B)

= In this activity children are encouraged to keep

this observation records or their experience
records related with birds. These records will be
valuable data for further study of birds.

Through this activity they can identify common

birds in their locality and grow their attitude to
observe birds more carefully and scientifically.

= Feedback Summary

Name of
Swanirvar Swanirvar

1. Village Bajitpur Gokulpur

2. Children class IV - X class IV - VIII

Class/number (22 students)

3. Class / 4 periods 8 periods

Period 1 period = 11/2 hrs 1 period = 2 hrs

4. Date of Started from 10.11.2000 Not mentioned


5.Expenses No expenses Not mentioned

30 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

1 – (B) Feedback

= Results

1) Childrens' Experiences with the Birds

My experiences on Bir
stored his
Heading : I have seen how a crow
excess collected food for later days.

When : November, 2000

Where : On the bank of the river

dy left a dead cow on the
What happened : Somebo dead
riverside. To eat flesh of the
tur es and dogs
cow many crows, vul
re I saw a
had come there. The
h in
crow repeatedly stored fles
of our house.
a hole over the roof
What I felt : I have realised that crows
ring food for the
a fore-sight of sto
Commo n Myna

My experiences on Birds

l Heading : How the birds have made a

ss - X Teacher : Sudip Kr. Mondo
Achintya Mondol , Cla group and driven away their enemy.
When : 14.01.2001
Where : In the mango grove beside my house
What happened : There was a nest
of a Common Myna in a mango
tree and two baby birds in it. One day
I saw a snake
went upto nest. All adult birds except
the mother
bird were out that time for hunting food
. The
mother bird raised an uproar, then othe
r birds also
came to the spot. They altogether star
ted pecking
the snake. As a result the snake at ran
What I felt : I felt from this incident that, birds have
an instinct to
help each other to overcome a danger.

Basudev Mondol , Class - VIII Teacher : Sudip Kr. Mondol


Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 31

My experiences on Birds

Heading : Heron and Fish

When : March 2001
Where : Riverside
What happened : A heron has caught a fish and
killed the fish
by thrashing clinging it on the ground, then
he ate up the fish.
What I felt : I have realised from this that, a heron eats
fish to satisfy his hunger.

Laltu Biswas, Class - VI

Ki ng fis he r Teacher : Sourendranath Sen
My experiences on Bir

Heading : Kingfisher and Fish

When : On the way to school
Where : Beside a pond
when I was going to school
What happened : One day
tree beside a pond. Later the
I saw a kingfisher sat on the
and caught a fish
kingfisher flew into the pond
ther kingfisher flew in and sat
and ate it up. Soon later ano
kingfishers were trying to
beside the other. Now two
m missed the chance. The
catch a fish. But both of the
g of one kingfisher was
birds started to fight and win
injured one & gave him a
damaged. Then I brought the
treatment. Later released it

What I felt : When two kingfishers sta
away, this acc nt could not
fighting, if I had chased them
e I was busy... From this
have happened. But that tim
birds had jealousy & envy for
experience I realized those
each other.

Teacher : Sourendranath Sen

Bappa Sardar, class V Experience II

32 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

1 – (B) Feedback

Bl ac k Dr on go Tailor bird
on Bir ds
Sh ee t : My ex pe rie nc es

My experience a
Heading : Black Drongo was catching

When : June-July
Where : In a Jeol tree of the marke Shek Rakesh, class V
ck Drongo was on the
What happened : One Bla
there for a long time, then
branch of the tree. He was Chil
erpillar from under the
suddenly he picked up a cat
still on the same spot.
leaves. After eating he was

prised that
What I felt : After seeing this I was sur
r so easily & see ms to find
the bird eats up a caterpilla itch ing & pain if
Md. Sarik
a Khatun,
l so mu ch class V
them so tasty, though we fee trees get
y and ma ny
catterpillar touches our bod
ter pillar. I rea lly wonder why the birds Parkee
damaged by cat
en catterpillar is in their
don't get any pain itching wh
VII Teacher : Sourendranath Sen
Maulbox Garui, class
Gokulpur Project
Md. Fa
rida Khatun
, class

Children of Ashurali group collected

several feathers during their fieldtrip
for collecting information. They made
a nice 'Feather booklet' alongwith
birds name.

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 33

2) Summary chart on Birds which children already know / have
experience with.
n Birds children already know
22 students (teacher: Sudip Kumar Mondol, Swanirvar)
S l . N o . Name of Body Food Call Relation Living Place
the bird colour Habit with gods/goddesses

01. Duck White & black Snail, Panck Godess Saraswati Tamed in
rice-dust panck (A bengali goddess home
of wisdom and fine arts)

02. Crow Black Mango, Kaw- Not existed On palm tree

riped papaya, kaw
& garbage

03. Hen Black & white Rice, Kawk- Not existed Tamed in
puffed rice, kawk home
bread etc

04. Sparrow Grey and ash Rice & fruits Chi-chi Not existed In deserved
coloured building &
upon trees

05. Owl Having a Fruits Chon-chon Goddess Laxmi In the forest

contrast of (A bengali goddess of especially upon
white & ash prosperity) Banyan tree

06. Koel Having a Ripe fruits Kuhu- Not existed On the branch
contrast of kuhu of trees
black & white

07. Parakeet Green Gram, rice, Ti-ti, Not existed In the holes
chilli, banyan, kitch-kitch of coconut
fruits trees

08. Common Having a Earth-worm, Kichir- Not existed Upon jackfruit

Mynah contrast of banyan, michir trees
black upon fruits

09. Kingfisher Green Fish Keo-keo Not existed Upon

Mango trees

10. Koel Ash coloured Grass seeds Kuhu- Not existed On branches
kuhu of trees

11. Egret White Fish Kawk- Not existed In bamboo

kawk trees
34 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5
1 – (B) Feedback

S l . N o . Name of C o m p l e x i o n Food Chirping Relation Living Place

the bird Habit feature with gods/goddesses

12. Pigeon White -ash Food Backam Not existed In home

grains backam
13. Dove Green Banyan fruits Pooch- Not existed On silk
pooch cotton plant
14. (Timtime) Having a Rice & Timime Not exitsted In bush
contrast of worms
yellow &
15. Magpie Having a Worms Tui-tui Not existed In the hole
robin contrast of & of trees
black & insects

n Types of beaks and feet

Student Pralay Jana (Ashurali, teacher: Alok Majhi) has prepared a chart on birds' beaks
and feet.

Types of beaks Food Habit Types of feet Types of insteps

Crow eats meat Ducks use their feet for


Pigeon eats rice Crows use their feet for

and grain easy sitting

Heron eats fish Parrots use their feet for

easy sitting

Peacock eats fruits Heron use their feet

for catching fish

Duck eats rice Sparrows use their feets

& rice dust to collect components
to build their nest

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 35

n Relation between man and birds

Domestic birds Birds as pet / Wild bird Non-pet birds

for meat ornamental for meat
Hen, Cock, Duck, Cockatoo, Parrot, Dove, Heron, Crow, Woodpecker, Tailor bird,
Pigeon Myna, Peacock Kingfisher, Wild duck, Owl, Kite, Eagle, Land hawk,
(Bhar salik) Snipe, Baya (Weaver Bulbul, Koel, Magpie robin,
bird), Spotted crane, Black Drongo, (Gue salik), Yellow
Crow phesant bird, Hawk, (Machal), (Sakun),
(Kalamocha), (Tero),

n Birds and Nest

Inside the dwelling places On trees / branches In tree - holes
Sparrow, tailor bird, pigeon Crane, Dove, Crow, Black drongo Woodpecker, parrot, kingfisher
Tailor bird, Bulbul, Yellow bird (they also make their nest on earth)
(Kuko) Owl, (Bhar salik), Tailor bird, Pied

= From Teacher's Report

n 1) Students collected information of some birds from aged people in their


2) Regarding birds, only data is given in our school text book.

3) Students enjoyed the activity very much, but usually they can not get
time for activity because of taking private tuitions in leisure time.

4) We can observe different birds in different seasons. Therefore the students

are eager to continue this activity throughout the year.

5) It would be much easier if we could have some guide book on birds.

(teacher : Sudip Kumar Mondol, Swanirvar)

n Our students were quite happy to do these activities. Class 4-6 students learn
about birds' behaviour, nature & identification feature in the Nature & Science or
Biology curriculum in second term.
Therefore alongwith class work I think students can also get activity based
learning opportunity through this Basbhumi lesson plans.

(teacher : Sourendranath Sen, Swanirvar)

36 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

Step - 2
Review & Make Sure

for platform towards the next step

= Lesson Plans

= Feedbacks

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 37

Review & Make Sure

= Review & Discussion

o After conducting the preparatory work (with A or B), you have now an idea of the children's
experiences and what they already know about Birds.
In this Review session, let's have a look at the summary charts prepared by the children
and have discussion in the class what they have understood from preparatory work.
List up all initial conclusions and also further questions that what children are interested
to know more & investigate.
Some indications are mentioned here.

Initial Conclusion (We understand from our work ...)

ð Most of the birds appeared in stories are very common in our daily life too. (A)
ð There are many kind of birds we see in our surroundings but they do not
appear in any of the stories. (A)
ð Different kind of birds exist in different kind of eco-systems. (A & B)
(in pond, ricefield, garden, forest)
ð Birds make different types of nests in different places & prefer a particular tree (A & B)
ð Some kind of bird eats insect, some eats fish & some other bird eats honey (A & B)
ð In April & May we can see many small birds (A & B)
ð In winter we can see many Heron or Egret around the pond (B)
ð Most of the birds like 'bathing' (B)

Further Question (we want to know more about ....)

ð Birds & their food
(insect eater, fruit eater, grain eater, fish eater .......)
ð Which birds damage crops & what farmers do for protection
ð Birds & their habitat
(birds in rice field, birds around ponds/grasslands/garden)
ð How we can invite many birds in our school yard & home garden
ð Relation of Birds & season (migrant bird, life cycle)
ð How to keep duck / hen at house
ð Identify bird's singing & calls

Introduce Story
"Bau salikh & Bangburo" (see Teacher's note)

Some ideas for next stage

(investigative work)

child - centred activities (towards step 3 activity)

38 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5
Review & Make Sure

Teacher's Note

Source Books on 'Birds'

• The following books are recommended for identification of birds' name and as good
references for bird drawings.

1. 'Paschim Banglar Pakhi' (Pranabesh Sanyal, Biswajit Roy Chowdhury / Ananda

Publishers Pvt. Ltd / 1994)
2. The Book of INDIAN BIRDS (Salim Ali, Bombay Natural History Society, 1996)
3. Pakhir Upakatha (Naresh Chandra jana / Sishu Sahitya Samsad)
4. Our Feathered Friends (U.C. Chopra / CBT / 1984)

1 3

2 4

• "Nature Scope INDIA; BIRDS, BIRDS, BIRDS" (CEE, 1999) is

one of the good information source on birds. It provides useful
background information and activities with good illustrations.

• To think about Birds & ecology there is a good story book. "Bausalikh ar Bangburo"
("Jui Phuler Rumal" / Kartik Ghosh / Sishu Sahitya Samsad / 1996)

Teacher can introduce this story in Review session. From this

story, children can get the idea & further question how one bird is
connected with other living things through food chain and how
environment & human behaviour affect the bird's life. This story
gives good hint for the next step 'Investigative Work' on birds.

(Please refer Resources Section for more books and useful

websites, pp 73-76)

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 39

= Put it Together and Gap Filling Work

o Before conducting investigation / project work, teachers are recommended to make

sure whether children can observe / describe birds with scientific manner.

You can introduce reference books or supportive learning aid like Data Cards (see
Teacher's Note p.49) for children to fill up missing observation points.

Through this activity children can aware of each Bird's character and why different
bird has different shape of beak & feet etc.

[example of children's work using Data Cards produced by ENRE, Swanirvar /

Bajitpur Group]

What it eats ? Eyes'colour Colour of neck

insects, worms & termites. black reddish brick coloured

Where it lives / we can see it ? Feather's colour

Beak's type & colour grey-white and some
It builds its nests in the large trees of small beak slightly are often black
curved in shape
home garden. Tail'stype
Feet's type & colour 10-12 inches in length
When & where does it lay eggs ? slate grey
coloured,back foot
in spring and summer seasons. slightly large Bird's size Shape & colour of egg
narrow type with
Bird's call pointed end, light green
Indian Treepie How it helps
Katch ... katch and caa ... ca it helps farmers by eating How it disturbs
insects of their corn fields It hamperes vegetable
yield by eating snake gourd

What it eats ? Eyes'colour Colour of neck

reddish yellow reddish spots in throat,
Red chillies, gram & sunflower green coloured neck
Where it lives / we can see it ? Beak's type & colour Feather's colour
In the holes of trees like coconut, reddish, hard, pointed
palm and areca. too long in length
Feet's type & colour
Parakeet When & where does it lay eggs ? claws are sharp Shape & colour of egg
edged and ash round shaped, blue
It lays its eggs in summer seasons. coloured Bird's size
Bird's call How it helps How it disturbs
Vocally it can make whistle.If it takes a pet to enjoy it trampled sunflowers,
caused several los by
training it can speak like a man. eating fruits and chillies

What it eats ? Colour of neck

Eyes'colour Necks have variety of
It eats snail, rice-dust and cooked rice black small eyes, colours like ash, white,
round in shape blackish etc.
Where it lives / we can see it ? Beak's type & colour Feather's colour
Domestic pets, commonly exist in flat have colours like white,
reddish, black etc
Feet's type & colour Tail'stype
When & where does it lay eggs ? claws are sharp not so long & wide
Round the year it lays eggs, it lays at edged and ash
coloured Bird's size Shape & colour of egg
night. white coloured, oval
How it helps
Bird's call a pet to enjoy How it disturbs
Pakk...pakk it makes a little dirty
our living places

40 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

Review & Make Sure

What it eats ? Colour of neck

Insects & worms, grasshopper and ant Eyes'colour
Yellow & two white lines
eggs. black streched its way from beak
to tail by both side.
Where it lives / we can see it ? Beak's type & colour Feather's colour
On the top of mango trees & often we pointed & the upper a harmony of yellow &
can notice, that it is climbed down from part is black green
Margosa trees by trembling. Tail'stype
Feet's type & colour not so long & wide
When & where dies it lay eggs ? greenish brick partially have a
Iora It lays eggs in the mid of two branches coloured & blue Bird's size similarity with
of a tree, in summer and in rainy pigeon tail
season. How it helps
it helps farmers by eating Shape & colour of egg
Bird'scall insects of their vegetable white striped grey
garden coloured, oval in shape
Wie-ee-e-phatik jal

What it eats ? Colour of neck

Mouse, grasshopper, caterpillar, insects Eyes'colour blackish red
& worms. bright red
Feather's colour
Where it lives / we can see it ? Beak's type & colour bright brown
On bushy trees, nests are made out of ash coloured, very
coarse & thick like
bits of straws. Wecan see it in our crows Tail'stype
garden wondering through here & too long in length,
there. Feet's type & colour black coloured
slightly long with
Crow pointed claws
pheasant When&wherediesitlayeggs? Bird's size Shape & colour of egg
It lays its eggs in their nest, lays 3-4
eggs at a time in summer season. How it helps
it has no utility
Ku-u-ku-ku in a loud pitch

Make sure that children know the parts of the bird's body which they need to observe







Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 41

o After filling up the necessary data, children are asked to group the birds
according to the shapes of beaks or feet. Each shape is related with food habit &
habitat of the bird.

Types of Beaks Types of Feet

Insect eater

Insect eater Climbing on tree trunk

(woodpecker) (woodpecker)

Insect/fruit eater
(myna) Perching

Insect / nectar eater


Seed eater
(sparrow )

Seed/fruit eater
Catching prey
Meat/fish (kite)

Source : "Lifescape : A Prospectus" (Indian Academy of Science, p.p. 83-84)

Collect information and learn about birds' nest and seasons of laying eggs. Children
must realize that there are various types / shapes of nest made of different nesting
materials. These studies will help children's further activities for birds conservation.
Type (Example birds)
• Ground nests (Jungle fowls)
• Nest on trees / buildings (a large number of birds)
• Tree hole nest (owls, woodpeckers, resident ducks)
• Tunnel nests (Kingfishers, hoopoes, bee eaters)
• Mud nests (Swallows)
Shapes (Example birds)
• Cup-shaped nests with using cobweb (iora, orioles, reed warblers)
• Domed or ball-shaped nests made of twigs, (Munias and some Babblers)
grass, rootlets
• Pendent nests which are suspended from branch or twig
• Woven oblong purse which are attached to (Baya weaver bird)
stems of tall grass or low bushes
• Stiched nests (Tailor birds,Wren-warblers)

42 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

Review & Make Sure

Teacher's Note

— Supportive Materials for learning Birds —

As you see examples on page 40-41, supportive materials for birds are prepared by ENRE
to activate the observation skill of the children about birds as natural resources in their
This material contains Bird's 'worksheet' and 'data-cards'. Line drawing of 12 birds which
are commonly observed and taking important role in local eco-system in West Bengal are
introduced in the worksheet. Children will fill-up its content according to their observations
and concepts. Same way, children can collect data for other birds also. Through this
materials children can learn how to describe the each bird's character.

Birds on the Chart

• Red Whiskered Bulbul
• Common Myna
• Black Drongo
• Little Egret
• House Crow
• Indian Ring Dove
• Blue Rock Pigeon
• Baya Weaver Bird
• Spotted Owlet
• Blackcaped Kingfisher
• Common Pariah Kite
• Koel

[One set contains 2 worksheets and

15 blank data cards, with instruction
note. Sets of Insects and Fish also

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 43

Data cards filled up by children can be categorized into various ways according to the
learning purposes. They can be useful information source for local birds. Children can
also prepare the resource maps of the local birds based on the collected data.

One of ENRE network member Sagardwip Childrens' Group presented their

'Resource Map' around the school. They collected data of Birds, Fish, In-
sects using these data cards.
(ENRE ECO-Work Exhibition, Kolkata, January 2003)

44 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

Step - 3
Investigation / Project Work

for creating child oriented activity

= Lesson Plans

= Feedbacks

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 45

= Bird
Step 3 — Preparatory Work — Activity (A)

'What is their Relation ? — Agriculture, Birds and Scarecrows'

Children make field trip for observing birds in Rice field/Vegetable field and
collect information from farmers. They will find out which birds damage crops &
which birds are good for crops. Let's make own scarecrow for help to protect
crops from birds' attack.
[ mainly for rural schools class 6 to 8 field trip, interview, data analysis, art work,
writing report class period required = 4-5 periods (1.5 hours/period) ]

= Objectives
• To learn about the role & function
of birds in agricultural field.

• To apply the knowledge which

children have learnt along with
traditional skill to protect crops
from the damage by birds.

= Subjects you can Integrate in this Activity

Create scarecrow, Science,
birds' drawing Environment Study
Agriculture, Birds & Food chain and
Pesticide & human health Scarecrow food web
Organic agricultural Productivity Bird type according
to food
How to interview farmers'
Writing report knowledge on crop protec-
tion, effect of pesticide
Language use, organic farming Social Study

46 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

Step 3 – Activity (A)

= Review
Activity Process

Teacher conducts the review of the preparatory work (see 'Put it

together' step 2). Make sure that children can group the birds
according to their food habit & habitat.
Discussion Let us have a discussion with children, which birds might damage
rice crops/vegetables among the birds listed up.
Ask how did they find it?
List Up Solutions Children give their ideas
Making Decisions Children and teacher make decision together that which idea /
activity to be tried out for investigating the question. Teacher should
motivate children to take initiative for trying out the chosen activity.
ê (Enter the Actual Work)
Planning Children and teacher make a plan together. Decide what information
you need to collect from where and from whom. Children are divided
into groups and each group is requested to develop enquiry points.
Children visit agricultural field (rice field / vegetable field / orchard) &
observe the bird's in each field. Children also ask farmers in order
Information -
to collect necessary information according to their enquiry sheets.
Field Visit
For example :
• Which birds damage crops & why ?
• Which birds are helpful for crops ?
• What do you do for protecting crops from birds ?
• Does the protection work well ?
• Compared before what kind of birds are increasing / decreasing ?
• Are you using pesticides ?
Children are encour-
aged to process bird
rice f s for
collected information ield

into chart/poster.

s da
we rice f mage
can ield
Summarizing inc
se t
Information m


Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 47

Take Action a) 'Making a Scarecrow' can be an interesting work. Children can
set up two types of scarecrow and compare the result. One is
a traditional type which farmers use usually and the other is
designed by children themselves.
Let's observe
the scarecrow's work'.

b) Children can try out several ideas for attracting the beneficial
birds to the rice field /
vegetable field. Keep
records to see whether
these ideas work well or
not. (eg. putting high
sticks where birds can
sit/perch stand). Also
make posters to grow
awareness for protecting
beneficial birds.
Protect birds
such as egret, cuckoo, wood pecker, stork,
Warbler & babbler which feed on insects.
Owls, bats and peacocks help to control
rat and mice populations.

Evaluation Each group are requested to make report how their practice worked
out. Teachers guide children to summarize what they learn about the
relation between birds - insects - crops - pesticide.
Teacher summarize the important points to cover the overall goal of
whole series of activity. It is also important to set up ocassion that
children can share their survey results with farmers & community

48 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

3 – (A) Feedback

Step 3 – Activity (A)

= This field survey activity involves various kinds of

learning process.

Children take more initiative to collect information

from farmers and community members. Refering
traditional knowledge and skill, children can put own
ideas for field trial. It is important for the teachers to
encourage children to share their survey results with
farmers and community members.

= Feedback Summary

Name of
(Swanirvar) (Swanirvar)

1. Village Bajitpur Gokulpur

2. Children class IV - X class IV - VIII

Class/number (22 students)

3. Class / 4 periods 8 periods

Period 1 period = 11/2 hrs 1 period = 2 hrs

4. Date of Started from 10.11.2000 Not mentioned


5.Expenses No expenses Not mentioned

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 49

= Results

The information that children collected from local farmers and trials.
(Swanirvar group)

• Opinion on scarecrow from 5 farmers.

è Scarecrow is used to protect crops from birds
(2 farmers)
è I don't know why scarecrow is used (1 farmer)

è Scarecrow is used to protect good crops from evil eye

/ people's envy. (2 farmers)

• Whether 'scarecrow' is effective or not ...
- To observe scarecrow children went to the field and
found out that birds were not scared of 'scarecrow' at
all. Satoko

Even they saw a bird sat on the head of scarecrow ! 'Scare crow' made of
earthen pot ( ) stands in

rice field around
- Children prepared scarecrow by themselves using harvesting season.
straw & coloured earthen pot and put it some old (Bihar, ENRE)
(* there is no mention about the result, whether their
scarecrow worked well or not, ENRE)

• List of domestic birds in village

1. Broiler chicken, 2. Country duck and hen, 3. Pigeon, 4. Parrot, 5. Mayna,
7. Kokodal.
Survey result indicates that about 15% family keep domestic birds in village.


In villages, we can often

see earthen pots or metal
tins are hanging from the
roof. In this way villages
keep pigeon for meat.
Satoko Satoko (Birbhum district, ENRE)

50 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

= Summary Information Collected by Children

Children have colected information about injurious birds for agriculture.

Name of Bird Crop Damaged What farmers do for protection

1. Bulbuli Brinjal • Making noise (drumming tins, fire

• Using herbal poison from ivy gourd to kill
• Placing scarecrow looks like human being

2. Crow Riped papaya & Mango • Harvesting fruits earlier than birds.

3. (Bats) Guava, Mango, Lichi • Making noise by cracking fireworks

• Covering fruit trees with net

4. House sparrow Unriped snake gourd • Nothing can be done except driving away
by clapping hands

5. Parakeet Riped chilli, paddy spikers • Nothing can be done

6. Pigeon Wheat •

7. Common Myna Wheat & paddy • Driving away by clapping

9. Little Egret Paddy of 'Boro' crop season • Driving away by clapping & just chasing away

10. Sparrow Paddy & rice • Chasing away

11. Hen Paddy & destroy • Chasing away or keep hen in cage
vegetable garden

= Opinion from Teachers

• There is a chapter on birds in the school textbook of life science. But we could
not cover this chapter in class period. A series of activities of Basbhumi gave
children a good chance to learn about birds.
• It is helpful if children can get pictorial booklet on birds.

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 51

= Bird
Step 3 — Preparatory Work — Activity (B)

'Inviting Birds into Schoolyard'

There are several things what children can do for the birds. Let's create the
environment in which birds like to come. Planting trees, instaling food stands,
nest boxes or bathing places for birds. This activity will create other childrens'
interest on birds in your school too.
[ for both rural & urban schools class 5 to 8 practical work, awareness campaign,
craft class period required = 3-4 periods (1.5 hours/period) + regular observation & taking
care of birds]

= Objectives
• To understand birds' role & function
in our environment.
• To apply the knowledge & skills
that children have learnt to
increase the diversity of
birds in the schoolyard.
• To increase childrens' interests on
birds in school.

= Subjects you can Integrate in this Activity

Writing message on Art
poster / chart
making awareness poster
hand work & wood work
for making food stands &
Inviting Birds
nests for birds
How to increaase
people's awareness
on the issue
Favourite condi- Science
Social Study tion of bird
Environment study

52 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

Step 3 – Activity (B)

= Review
Activity Process

Please conduct the review session (step 2) based on the prepara-

tory work.

Discussion Teacher asks children to observe what kind of birds can be seen in
the schoolyard now. List them up. Discuss with children why those
birds are in the schoolyard (eg. may be there some garbage pile
therefore some crows are there etc.)
Then teacher asks objective questions for creating discussion
more -
• How we can increase birds more in our schoolyard ?
• Why we want to increase birds more ? (If more birds come to our
schoolyard, what changes will take place ? .....)
Summarizing & Summarize childrens' ideas & opinion and explain birds role in the
Making Decision environment again.
eg. • birds eat some insects which damage some plants in garden
• birds can help to spread fruit seeds just as we plant trees
• birds can help to pollinate for vegetables & flower crops
• birds provide us peaceful singing
• birds habitat like trees are decreasing so we need to provide
their house etc.
[We want to invite birds]
Work Out ê
Planning Ask children to list up the required condition for the birds. [birds
need ....]
eg. • Fruits trees (Zizyphus, Guava, Jamun etc)
• Flower trees (Hibiscus, silk cotton, flame of the forest)
• Water place for bathing & drinking (birds don't need the water
to be too deep)
• Standing places (top of the stick, wire etc)
• Nesting place (nesting box)
• Food (grain, fruit etc)
Children are divided into groups & take responsibility, which facility
they will create for the birds. Children can get information &
designed from several bird watching books.
Useful Information Sources

" Bird Watching :

for Beginners "
" Watching Birds " (Bombay Natural
(Jamal Ara / 1970 / History Society /
NBT, 61p) 40p)

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 53

Making Items & Some ideas are introduced here :
Setting Up Bird Feeders
hang the string from

lime peel

protect from
water bath
(earthen pot)
When your student are doing this activity other children in your
Producing Posters /
school must also show their interest, they will want to know what
Charts for other
your children are doing & why.
It is good chance to share information & to grow many childrens'
interests in your whole school.
Suggest your children to make posters & charts for creating other's
interest on birds.
eg. Chart on birds which can be observed in your school yard.
Hope the variety will increase after your children conduct the
'Invitation Birds' activity.
a) Chart Birds Visiting our School Yard

insect eater fruits / insect eater

seed / insect eater
name, date
of observa-

nectar / insect eater

meat etc eater

Add new

54 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

Step 3 – Activity (B)

b) Poster

We are a
lso planti
ng trees

We he
lp pest

you ?

Evaluation For this activity children need to take care for & give attention to
the birds regularly. They need to change bird feeder & water time to
time and need to clean up nesting box after nesting season is over.
Observe whether birds are visiting your schoolyard more & more
and any environmental change has taken place or not. Still a lot of
crow are coming for eating school garbage.
If your school garbage are not scattered any more (they are put in
dust bin with covers or put in holes covered with soil etc) and
various trees are growing this activity is successful, for your
children, school yard and for the birds also.

= Variation
• This activity has possibility to be linked with school gardening activity like growing
vegetable, herbs and fruit trees.
• "Producing our Bird Books"
Children can design & make a colouring book of birds with all information which
children learnt for information sharing.
eg. interesting children's work introduced in "Skipping Stone", (vol.15 no.2).
Jamie Michell Hansen, 9, Phoenix, Arizona, USA produced :The Bird Health Book"
according to her experience with her pet cockatiel, Peanut.

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 55

Extract from
"Skipping Stone
Text & Illustration by Jamie Michel & Hansan vol. 15 no.2"

If you want a bird for a pet there are Cats and birds just aren't friends. It's
some pets that aren't really safe to dangerous to leave a bird alone with a
have. Only pets that are circled and cat.
crossed out are ones you can't have
when you own a bird. Why is the cat
about to
eat the

Answer: Cats have an instinct

to eat birds because hey are carnivores.

This is how birds get to know a person, It is Why it is impor-

by chewing their hair. If the bird doesn't importatnt for tant to pet
remember you, it will have to chew on you to rub the bird
your hair. your bird's on the
neck and neck and
Why is it important for head. head ?
the bird to The
remember you ? mas-
the bird Answer: To
Answer: It is feel happy
important for the bird to remember you so it massage the
and loved. bird's skin.
isn't afraid.

Bird's claws are one of the most Make sure you feed your bird 20 percent
important parts of their bodies. seed and 80 percent fruit and vegeta-
You have to have them clipped bles. Feed it well so it can be healthy
by a veterinarian. and live a long, happy life.

Why does a
bird need
short claws?

Answer: So the claws won't

break off. Birds depend
on people for a happy life.
If you put two kinds of birds in the same Be sure to care for your bird
cage they might bite each other. If they responsibly.
are the same kind of bird, they'll probably
play with each other.

56 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

3 – (B) Feedback

Step 3 – Activity (B)

= This activity can be a good starting point for

children to become birds lover & watcher.

If children realize that to care about birds is to

care about birds is to care about own environment,
you can say this activity becomes very success-

= Feedback Summary
Name of (Chandannagore) (Swanirvar)
General as home based activity
information Green Sprout

1. Location Garer Dhar, West (there is a big

pond beside their house).

2. Children Class III - VI


3. Duration of August 2002 - Jan 2003


4. What products Booklet & cloth hanging on birds

were made observed.

5.Children's They became interested in

Interest watching birds.

6.Parents' opinion Children remembered interesting

facts about the birds which they
have observed & drawn. They
became caring about home
garden & community pond as
well as birds.

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 57

= Children's Work
☺ Manosi Chatterjee (class III) made a booklet 'My Nature Garden Book of Birds'. She
described 12 birds which she often observed in her home garden.
She checked the reference book for each bird's name, description, food habit and

Birds in this book

1. Koel
2. Roseringed Parakeet
3. Spotted dove
4. Pond Heron
5. Night Heron
6. White breasted water hen
7. Brain fever bird
8. Blue eated kingfisher
9. Brown headed stork billed kingfisher.
10.White breasted kingfisher
11. Black capped kingfisher

4. Pond pleron – yellow

I eat frogs, fish, eyes and black pupil & also
crabs and insects. black and yellow bill.
Waku ! Colour - light brown, deep
brown and white.

I eat, fish, frogs, 5. Night heron - red

crabs and insects. eyes, black pupil.
Waku ! Colour - black, white and

I eat, insects, worms,

molluses, grain & 6. White breasted water
shoots of paddy & hen - little red ring ground
mard plants. the eye.
Krr Kwak Kwak ! Colour - white, black & red.

58 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

3 – (B) Feedback

☺ Shantonu (class VI) & Manosi Chatterjee (class III) made cloth hanger of birds they
have observed. They painted 14 birds with fabric (Acrylic) colours.

Birds on the cloth

• Hoopoe
• Pond Heron
• Night Heron
• Blue eared kingfisher
• Black capped kingfisher
• Koel
• Brown headed stork billed
• White breasted water hen
• Indian Mynah
• Magpie robin
• Red whiskered bulbul
• Golden oriole
• Jungle mynah
• Heart spotted woodpecker

This cloth hanger can be used as

wall decoration or door curtain
etc. Visitors surely notice this
wonderful art work and start ask-
ing questions about birds. This
cloth work is very useful & inter-
esting as class activity in school
also. This remains longer than a
paper chart. (ENRE)
size - 90 cm x 136 cm

☺ Children of Swanirvar did some trials to invite birds

• To invite birds, children put sticks / poles and stretched ropes between them in
their home garden. When birds perched on the roap, it looked like a 'swing'.

• Children also kept food for birds; like puffed rice, beans, cooked rice and
water. They observed after sometime several birds (mainly Mynah & Crow)
came to have the food.

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 59



60 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

Checklist of Birds that
Appeared in Children's Feedback

English à Bengali

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 61

Check List of Birds Appeared in Children's Feedback

No. English Name Scientific Name Bengali Name Remarks

01. Babbler, jungle Turdoides straitus Chatare

02. Babbler, straiated Turdoides earlei Dora chhatare
03. Baya (Weaver bird) Ploceus benghalensis Babui
black breasted
04. Brain fever bird Cuculus various Chok gallo
(Common hawk cuckoo)
05. Bulbul, redwhiskered Pycnocotus jocosus Bulbul / Bulbuli
06. Cormorant, little Phalacrocorax niger Pankouri
07. Crane Sarash
08. Crane, spotted Porzana marnette Gurguri
09. Crow, house Corvus splenders Kak
10. Crow, pheasant Centropus sinensis Ku Ku (Ku Ka)
11. Cuckoo, piedcrested Clamator coromandus Chatak
12. Dove, spotted Streptopelia chinensis Chhite Ghughu
13. Drongo, black Dicrurus adsimilis Finge
14. Duck Hans
15. Duck, brahmini Casarca rutila Chokachoki
16. Egret, cattle Bulbuleus ibis Choto Bok
17. Egret, little Egretta garzetta Bok
18. Egret, pariah
19. Harrier, marsh Circus aeruginousus Pan cheel, Tilla
20. Hawk Baji pakhi





62 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

No. English Name Scientific Name Bengali Name Remarks

21. Heron, pond Ardeola grayii Konchbok

22. Heron, night Nycticorax nyctiorax Bajika
23. Hoopoe Upupa rpops Mohonchurirha
24. Iora Aegithina tiphia Photik jol
25. Kingfisher, black capped Halcyon pileata Machhranga
26. Kingfisher, blue eared Alcedo meninting Machhranga
27. Kingfisher, brownheaded Pelargopsis capensis Marchhranga
28. Kingfisher, white breasted Halcyon smyrnesis Sadabuk
29. Kite Chil
30. Koel (Cuckoo) Eudynamys scolopacea Kokil
31. Macaw Tota
32. Magpie Robin Copsyshus saularis Doel
33. Munia, spotted Lonchura punctulata Tile muniya
34. Myna, bank Acridotheres ginginianus Gang Shalik
35. Myna, common Acridotheres tristis Shalik
36. Myna, jungle Acridotheres fuscus Jhut salik
37. Myna, pied Sturnopaster corna Guye Shalik
38. Oriole, blackheaded Oriolus xanthornus Bou kathakao
39. Oriole, golden Oriolus oriolus Sona bau
40. Owl Pencha


38. 33.

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 63

No. English Name Scientific Name Bengali Name Remarks

41. Owl, barn Tyto alba Lakshmi pancha

42. Owl, brown fish Bubo zeylonensis Hutum pancha
43. Parakeet, rose ringed Psittacula krameri Tiya
44. Pigeon, bengal green Treron phoenicoptera Horiyal
45. Pigeon, rock Columba livia Payra
46. Snipe, common Gllinago gallinago Kada khocha
47. Sparrow, house Passer domesticus Chorai
48. Strok, adjutant Leptoptilos dubius Hargile
49. Tailor Bird Osthotomus sutorius Tuntuni
50. Tree pie, indian Dendrocitta vagabunda Harhi chancha
51. Vulture, Indian white Gpys bengalensis Shakun
52. Warbler, blyth’s reed Acrocephalus dumetrorum Tikra
53. Water hen( Moorhen), Maurornis fphopnicurus Dak pakhi
54. Water hen, white breasted Amaurornis phoenicurus Panpaira
55. Woodpecker Kaath thokra
56. Woodpecker, heart spotted Hemicircus canente Kaath thokra

49. 42.


41. 54.

64 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5


to strenghten your guiding role

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 65

Birds and Our Environment
by Kushal Mukherjee

White Wagtail
(Motacilla alba)

The Diversity of Birds

Every year their arrival signals the change in weather, the end of the wet monsoon and the
onset of autumn with a cold nip in the air. With its energetic movements and constantly
wagging tail, the White Wagtail is the messenger bird that brings the news of the arrival of
the migratory birds to a birdwatcher like me. White Wagtails breed in summer in the
high altitudes of the Himalayas.and in September, when the higher altitudes gets too cold
they migrate to our plains, to our rooftops or the lawn in our garden. They, and the hordes
of other bird species that arrive in the environment around us to spend the winter, always
fascinated me. They along with the resident birds around us add colour and marvel to our

Bird watching is a fascinating hobby and there are millions of birdwatchers throughout the
world who cultivates this healthy habit. Having kept some pet birds when I was young, I
soon found that there is a vast world of wild birds lying out there in nature to observe. The
diversity of birds in almost every habitat is enough to keep a birdwatcher active. Even
inside the city, there is a number of bird species for an interested birdwatcher to observe.
Going out into nature, into the wild forests and wetlands one is bound to be overwhelmed
by the diversity of birds.

Birds are one of the most conspicuous and beautiful companions that we have in our
environment. The nine thousand odd bird species that share our planet are unique in that
they possess feathers. These feathers have given the bird the power of flight and with it
the mobility to live in almost every environment of the world. They are found in the icy
polar regions, like the Penguins of Antarctica, and in the hot deserts like the Ostriches.

66 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

They thrive in the high altitudes of the Himalayas where the Golden Eagle soars in the sky
or in the dense tropical rain forests where numerous colourful birds thrive. Many of them
are adapted to life in the oceans like the Albatross or in the wetlands like the ducks. Many
birds like the House Crow and the House Sparrow have adapted themselves to live
in villages and even in the crowded cities. The migratory birds like the
White Wagtail shuttles between two very different environments during
the course of their migration. Wherever they live, the vast number of
birds performs a very useful function in maintaining the balance of
In the Indian subcontinent (which includes India,
Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan Sri Lanka and
the Maldives) we are lucky to have around 1300
different species of birds. Different species of
birds prefer different habitat types and in India
we have a very broad selection of
habitats. We have different types of An albatross hardly flaps its
forests, scrubs, wetlands, wings at all. It can fly like this
for days just using the wind.
grasslands, desert and sea. A
birdwatcher in India is lucky,
because he or she has so
many different
habitats to choose
from for watching

birds. In West Bengal we have the sea in the south and the lofty
Himalayas in the north and each of the different habitats in between
has its own complement of bird species.
One of the most exciting part of birdwatching is the identification of
birds. One is fortunate nowadays because there are some good bird
books that help in the identification of birds. However, identification is
the first step of birdwatching. While observing the behavior of birds,
an entirely new and enchanting world opens up before us. While
looking at birds and noting down their behavior, I have often wondered

Penguins cannot fly because Golden Eagle An ostrich is about 2.5m tall
their wings have become (Aquila chrysaetos) and weight 150kg, nearly as
more like flippers. They use much as two adults. It is too
them to swim. heavy to fly, but runs very fast.

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 67

how they look at the world around them. Studies on their
physiology and behavior have conclusively proved that birds
have colour vision that may be more complex than ours. Individual
Common Myna
species may also have features of their eyes adapted to specific
(Acridotheres tristis)
visual tasks or conditions The eye of birds are also sensitive to
some amount of UV lights. Therefore, their perception of the
world may be very different from ours.

Birds in Crop Fields

Black Drongo
While identifying and observing birds in the different habitats all (Dicrurus adsmillis)

around India, it became clear to me how important birds are to

our environment. Looking at some of the common birds around
us like the Common Myna, I realise how such insectivorous
Blue Jay / Indian Roller
birds help in the control of insects around us. When you watch (Coracius beghalensis)
this Common Myna strutting about like a watchman in the field,
and calculate the amount of grasshopper or some other insect
that it is devouring every now and then, you appreciate the
immense help that they are providing by controlling insects
which would have otherwise turned to be pests and destroyed
agricultural crops. The importance of such insectivorous birds
around our crop fields like the Black Drongo, Blue Jay or the Spotted owl
(Athne brama)
smaller owls, which devour the crop pests, is difficult to
calculate. Without insectivorous birds, our planet would have
been overrun with plant eating insects that would have destroyed
the terrestrial living world. Owls and other birds of prey like the
hawks, eagles and falcons are also important controller of
rats and mice that play havoc among our agricultural fields.
Their contribution towards protecting our crop is invaluable. Feather toed / Hawk Eagle
(Spizaetus nipalenis)

On the other hand, there are grain-eating birds that do a lot of

damage to our agriculture. Birds like the Rose-ringed Parakeet
often cause considerable damage to our crop. We have done a
lot of research since ancient times to keep away the harmful
birds from our crop field. We scare birds away with noise or by
erecting various models of ‘scarecrow’. However, we have done Crested Serpent Eagle
little to help the friendly birds. In fact, our indiscriminate use of (Spilornis cheela)
pesticide has poisoned the environment and killed off most of
the birds that used to visit our crop fields. Just a few decades
ago while traveling through our countryside we used to observe
hordes of birds like the Black Drongo or the Blue Jay on the

Peregrine Falcon
(Falco peregrinus)

68 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

telegraph wire above the fields or the Cattle Egrets
following the grazing cattle. Now it is a rare sight. Birds
have been cited as an important indicator of the health of
our environment. The absence of these once common
Rose-ringed parakeet
birds do point out that something is wrong with our (Psittacula krameri)
environment. The poisons in the field have killed the
birds and their food and eventually the poison will cause
damage to humankind through our own food chain.

Cattle Egrets
(Bubulcus ibis)

Just a few decades ago while traveling through our countryside we used to observe
hordes of birds like the Black Drongo or the Blue Jay on the telegraph wire above the
fields or the Cattle Egrets following the grazing cattle. Now it is a rare sight.

Birds as indicators

As a birdwatcher, one can always see the change that is taking place in the environment
around us. The sudden appearance or the disappearance of certain birds points out the
changes for us. In that way as a birdwatcher, one serves the useful function as a watchdog
for our environment. Birdwatchers throughout the world have noticed the sudden fall in
population of the once very common House Sparrow. This once ubiquitous bird was noticed
to have declined in number in countries like England where they regularly keep a count of
their birds. Unfortunately for us in India, birdwatching is only a new hobby still not popular

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 69

at all. So there are only very few birdwatchers and we do not have
any regular system of counting our birds like the developed countries
have. Even then, the birdwatchers around India are also noticing a fall
in the population of House Sparrow. The reason is not very clear. The
loss of nesting places in cities with their new buildings, the loss of
insect food species due to pollution and heavy use of insecticides are
White backed or some of the probable causes. In Europe one of the probable cause is
bengal vulture the pollution caused by motor vehicles On the other hand in cities
(Gyps indicus) like Kolkata some birds are probably increasing in number due to our
dirty habits. The House Crow and the Pariah Kite thrives in the cities
and towns with open garbage dumps. Here again the birds are
functioning as remover of garbage, though we could have done without
them had out habits been cleaner.
An interesting case, which shows how our environment is reacting
with birds, is the recent drastic decline in the vulture population in
India. Less than a decade ago, the White-backed Vulture and the
Long-billed Vulture
(Gyps indicus) Long-billed Vulture were very common throughout India. They played
a very useful function by eating up dead animals lying in the
countryside. Then suddenly it was noticed that the vultures started
dying in large numbers. Dead cattle lay rotting in the field creating an
unhealthy environment. Worried experts were unsure about the exact
cause of these large-scale deaths. These vultures were declared as
endangered birds. According to some, it may be a virus that is causing
these deaths. Recent research is pointing to a chemical commonly
used as medicine on diseased cattle that might be ingested by the
vulture after the cattle dies, as the killer. This shows how
indiscriminately we are using chemicals without knowing the ultimate
effect on our environment.

Importance of Birds

There are other birds that play a very important role in our environment
and among them, the Red Jungle Fowl is perhaps the most important.
This bird, which is found wild in the forests of northern India, is the
ancestor of all domestic chicken and they harbour the wild genes,
which may turn out to be very important to the multi billion-dollar
poultry industry of the world. The wild Red Jungle Fowl may have
Red Jungle Fowl
(Gallus gallus) characters in their gene that could be useful for our domesticated
breed. For example, it might have some immunity to some kind of
diseases, which may affect the domesticated fowl. These genes can
be infused back into the domestic breed by crossing the Red Jungle
Fowl with the domesticated breed and thus prevent the occurrence of
the disease.

70 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

Birds continue to fascinate me by their diversity. When I look at the colourful birds, I often
wonder what we are doing to their environment. Already, nearly 1200 bird species are in the
danger of becoming extinct in this world, mostly due to our mindless exploitation of the
resources of our planet. We have destroyed their home like the rain forests or the grasslands,
and we are polluting our environment to a point where they cannot exist any more. Birds
are one of the most conspicuous indicators of the health of our environment. The extinction
of a species will only lead us a little nearer to the days when we will ourselves face the
problem of existing on this planet.

How to encourage children to be a Birdwatcher

Birdwatching is a hobby that the children should be encouraged to take up. It is a simple
hobby, which does not initially require much investment. The naked eye is good enough to
observe most of the birds observed around our home. A pair of binoculars certainly adds a
new dimension by bringing the subject close. There are good bird books available in the
market, which deals with our local birds. The main aim of a birdwatcher should be observation
in the field. Though birds can be observed from your own home, a field outing to places with
different habitats for birds makes one familiar with a diversity of bird species. The compound
of your school, a wetland nearby or a dense fruit orchard could be exciting places to find
interesting species of birds. A well planned longer trip to a forest or to wildlife sanctuary will
be wonderful to a birdwatcher.

Carefully noting down whatever she or he notices about the birds in a notebook is a very
important exercise to a birdwatcher. Our memory may always fail and hence the notes in
your notebook will remain as a ready reference that can be consulted later on. Being easier
than studying most other forms of life like insects, fishes, etc., birdwatching is a natural path
that leads to the closer understanding of nature among children. They learn about the different
functions performed in nature, gain knowledge about the ways nature react with our changing
environment and prepares them for a lifestyle that would sustain our environment in the best
possible way. No wonder that many of our present day eminent natural scientists and
crusaders for nature were birdwatchers in the beginning who realised the need to conserve
nature from practicing this humble hobby.

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 71

A good way to begin birdwatching is to join a birdwatching group, society or club. The
would be birdwatchers will get all the help that she or he needs to propel into the wonderful
world of studying nature. One such society is Prakriti Samsad (Address – 65 Golf Club
Road, Kolkata – 700 033. Phone – 2412 7612) which is an association of nature lovers
based in and around Kolkata.

= Kushal Mukherjee is a nature lover, a wildlife consultant and photographer. Birds

are his special interest for the last 30 years. Travelled all over India to observe and
photograph nature and work on different environmental assesesment programme
He is involved with the nature awareness programme among students in Kolkata,
conducting various camps in different locations. He is presently the Secretary of
Prakriti Samsad, an association of nature lovers working in Kolkata for the last
twenty-five years.

72 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

= References
To develop lesson plans on BIRDS we have looked through the following resources. If you are
interested in to see these materials, all resources listed here are available through ENRE
resource centre EEL (Environment Education Library). EEL also stores topic related articles
from several magazines/news clippings and lesson plans downloaded from web site. Please
inquirer us.

Books and Booklets on BIRDS :

For your convenience we have put some categories.
Category (A) useful for producing materials, (B) useful for teachers & (C)
materials for children.
_ recommended materials for Environmental Education
P recommended for school library

• Watching Birds / Jamal Ara, NBT, 1970, 61p. / (A) (B) (C) _ P
• The Book of Indian Birds / Salim Ali, Bombay Natural History Society,
1996, 354p / (A) (B) (C) _ P
• Littele Friend-Save Us, We are your friends/ S.Gupta & G.Das / (A) (B)
• Nature Watch / Kushwant Singh, UBSPD, 1997, 132p. / (A) (B) (C) _ P
• Joy of Learning : Standard 3-5 (Activity;4,6,33) / CEE, 1995, 87p. / (A)(B)
• Joy of Learning : Standard 6-8 (Activity;6,26) / CEE, 1996, 67p.
/ (A)(B)
• Bird Watching for Beginners / BNHS & CEC, 20p. / (A) (B) (C)
_ P
• ABC of BIRDS : A book for little Bird Watchers / Roger Tory
Petersons, Universe Publishing, 30p./ (A) (B) (C) _ P
• Many Years Ago / Naresh Chandra Jana, Shishu Sahitya
Samsad, 1994, 33p. / (A) (B) (C) _ P
• Our Featherd Friend / U.C. Chopra, CBT, 1984/ (A) (B) (C) _ P
• My Own Book of Birds / Yash Muthanna, TATA Donneley
Ltd.,1999, 48p. /(C) _ P Nature note through
a year shows a lot of
• 50 Simple Things Kids can do to Save the Earth / The Earth observations of birds
Works Group,USA, 1990, 156p./(A) (B) (C) _ P along with pretty

Good reading material to become a

friend of birds

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 73

• Common Birds / Salim Ali & Laeeq Futeally, NBT , 1967, 126p./ (A) (B) (C) _ P
• Life Scope : A Prospectus / Madhau Gadgil, Indian Academy of Sciencs, 150p./(A) (B)
• Nature Scope India: Birds, Birds, Birds / Lalsinh Raol,
CEE, 1999, 90p./ (A) (B) (C) _ P
• Pakhir Kotha (Story of Birds) / Parthasarathi Chakrobarty,
Ananda Publisher, 1992, 40p./ (A) (B) (C) _ P
• What’s That Bird ? / Kalpavriksh, 1991, 93p./ (A) (B) (C)
_ P
• Sadhran Pakhi (Common Birds) / Salim Alli, NBT, 1975,
122p./(A) (B) (C) _ P
• Birds of Pune / Kalpavriksh & CEE, 2001, 136p. /
(A) (B) (C) _ P Salim Ali was the first In-
• A Field Guide to the Birds of India / Krys Kazmierczak, dian to systematically
OM,2000,352p./ (A) (B) studt ecology and the
• Birds from my window / Ranjit Lal,Tulika, 2002, 72p / (A) birds of the Indian sub-
(B) (C) _ P
• Salim Ali - India’s Birdman/ Reeta Dutta Gupta, Rupa &
Co., 2003, 59p. /(A) (B) (C) _ P
• People's Biodiversity Register of Teligram, Krishi
Paramorsho Kendro, 2003, 104p (A)

Bengali Books
• Paschim Banglar Pakhi / Pranabesh Sanyal / 1994 / Ananda / 101p. (A) (B) (C) _ P
• Pakhir Upakatha / Naresh Chandra Jana / 1994 / Sishu Sahitya Samsad (C) P
• Jib Jantuder
• Jui Phuler Rumal / Kartik Ghosh (A) (B) (C) P
• Jadavpurer Pakhi / Basundhara / 7p. (A) (B) (C)
• Pakhir Basa Pakhir Din / Ananda (A) (B) (C)

74 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

Interesting Websites on BIRDS

You can find a lot of Web sites on Environmental Education and related activities.
The following are the examples of some useful websites on Birds. You can directly access
to each web site or contact us for the detail.

Birds in General
• Northern Indian Bird Network
• To know about birds in Kolkata
• Naturalist’s Notes from Western North
Carolina Nature Centre
(They have topical Index on birds-
Feeding & Observing Our Fethered Friends)
• All about birds is a well illustrated website located at
here you can find many interesting basic facts about all kinds of birds. Children who
can read English will enjoy a visit to the site.
The same site also has information about butterflies, mammals, plants, sharks,
whales etc.
• If you want to watch the birds that visit your backyard, you must visit the website
Here children & teachers both can find a lot about beaks, eyes, feathers, ears, bird
feet, bird song, bird eggs etc. and learn the skills of birdwatching.

Birds Calls
• Bird Audio is a website hosted by where songs & calls of more
than 550 North American birds can be listend to. This site also has photos &
information about various fish, insects, spiders, trees etc and interested students/
teachers can get a free e-mail bird newsletter.

Bird Beaks
• At teachers can find some very interesting lesson plans, one of them is
for 5th grade children, where they can learn about various kinds of beaks birds have
and how it helps their survival in a particular environment.

Bird Nests
• A lesson plan for elementary school children can be found at

• Do birds see colour as we do? If you are curious about this question do visit the site
From this site instructors/teachers can find a lot of interesting information. Another
scientific site with similar information is

Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 75

Bird-Food Habits
• At the website you can find all about which groups of birds likes to
eat fruits and who prefer insects, nuts or seeds and who like to sip nectars.
Image Bank
• The Academy of Natural Sciences in the USA maintains a photo gallery on birds
called VIREO gallery, which stands for Visual Resources of Ornithology. There are
small but beautiful colour photos of hundreds of birds grouped by their size, habitats or
looks etc. to know more you can visit the website at
Birds of Prey
Eagle, Falcon, Owl etc.
• At you can find a lot about North American birds of prey. Birds of
prey such as falcon, owl etc. help us by keeping populations of rats etc. under control
but today many of these birds are endangered due to excessive use of pesticides in
farms and destruction of natural forests.
The same site has links to and other interesting sites about birds.

76 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

Books and References on Environmental Education & creative lesson plans
(Concept, Ideas & Theory) :

Chapter / Book 'What is Environmental Education' ("Environemtal Education in Schools") /

Judy A. Braus / 1993, Peace Corps / p.p.5-14 (A) (B)
Booklet “The Green Reader – An introduction to Environmental concern and
Issues” / Meena Raghunathan / 1999, CEE / 204p/ (A) (B) _
Booklet “Environmental Orientation to school Education : A Programe of Ministry of
Human Resource Development – Some experience and learning“/Meena
Raghunathan / 1999, CEE / 92p/ (A)
Handbook “Green Minds : A Reference Handbook for Environment Educators in
Kalimpong” / Yusuf Simick / Ashok Trust or Research in Ecology and the
Environment (ATREE) (A) (B) _
Book “Environmental Education An Approach to Sustainable Development “ OECD/
1992 (A)
Guidebook “Idea’s Environment Action Program , Issues, Approach, and Initiatives
towards Sustainability “ CEE 1995 (A) (B)
Guidebook “The Green Club : A Guide to Setting Up and Running Clubs for the
Environment” / CEE 1999 / 78p (A) (B) _
Guidebook “The Green Action guide : A Manual for Planning and Managing
Environmental Improvement Projects “ CEE, 1997 / 92p. (A) (B) _
Report “Environment & Development : Traditions, Concerns and Efforts in India“
(National Report to UNCED, June 1992 / Ministry of Environment and
Forest – govt of India / 63p. (A)
Handbook “Ecology : Principles and Applications “ J.L. chapman et al, 2000, Cambrodge
University / 330p. (A)
Handbook “Earth Education : a New Beginning “ Steve Van Math, 1999 / 334p. (A)
Curriculum guide “Connections, Cycles and Cities (“Living Lightly on the Planet – volume 1,
Grades 7-9 – Unit 4 “ Haura O’cinnor, 1985, Schilits Audubon
Center / p 76-98 (A) (B)
Book 'Curriculum Planning‘ (“A Children’s Food Forest“ Carolyn Nuttall, 1996,
FeFl Books / p 53-72 (A) (B) _
Booklet “Toward a Green Future : A Trainer’s Manual on Education for Sustainable
Development “ CEE, 1999 / 111p. (A) (B) _
Book "The FoxFire Book" / Eliot Wigginton & his students / Anchor Books / 1969
/ 384p. (A) (B) (C) _ P
Internet paper "Classroom as Learning Laboratories" & "Core Practices" / / 3p.
Book “Science is ...” / Susan V. Bosak / Scholastic, 1991 / 515p. (A) (B) _
Magazine "Green Teacher - Education for Planet Earth" (Tim, Grant & Gailcittlejohn,
(ed), Green Teacher, Canada,
Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 77
= ENRE Partner Organisations' Contact Address

• Swanirvar • Phulbari Grameen Bikash Kendra

(contact person : Mr. Samir Biswas) (contact person : Mr. Torun Kanti Bera)
Andharmanik, Baduria, Phulbari, Sagarphulbari,
North 24 Parganas - 743401 Rudranagar, Sagardeep,
South 24 Parganas
West Bengal
West Bengal

• Ashurali Gram Unnayan Parishad • Vikramshila Education Resource

(contact person : Ms. Modhumita Ata) Centre
Asurali, Sadhur hat,
(contact person : Mr. Atanu Sain)
South 24 Parganas - 743504
77 Maharaja Tagore Road
West Bengal Dhakuria, Kolkata - 700031
West Bengal

• Kajla Janakalyan Samity • Sundarika Bartika

(contact person : Mr. Vivekananda Sahu) (contact person : Mr. Arunava Biswas)
Sarada, Contai
P.O. Sarisha (Bosepukur Parh)
Midnapur - 721427
Dist. South 24 Parganas
West Bengal
Pin - 743368, West Bengal

• Gandhi Vichar Parishad

(contact person : Mr. Kalyan Roy)
Sahay NC-18, Schooldanga
Bankura - 722101
West Bengal

= From ENRE
o Forthcoming issues of ‘Creative lesson plan - Basbhumi series’ are
6) Rice, 7) Fish, 8)Energy (Fuel), 9) Waste, 10) Vegetables, 11) Local market,
12) Community development work / NGO work

Please send us the 'feedback slip' (p. 79) alongwith your comment
and suggestion on this booklet to us. We will put your name on our
mailing list and send you a free copy of the next booklet on ‘Energy’ for
your reference!

o You can see more information on ENRE project and the summary content of
each published Basbhumi booklet (ENRE Topic Page) through our organisation

78 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5

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Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5 79

• Among the topics of forthcoming booklets which topic are you interested in ?
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80 Selections from 'Basbhumi' : booklet - 5