Three new field guides to spring birds

We developed three new field guides to birds we’ll be seeing this spring in and around Columbus Park. Two of those guides were used as matching games at Wonder Works, a Children’s Museum in Oak Park.

First, you can follow this link to download a PDF of the one-page field guide to Birds that arrive during early spring at Columbus Park:



Now that most of the ice has melted on Columbus Park lagoon, you can also download our one-page guide to Water Birds at Columbus Park


We developed the water birds guide into a matching game that we played at Wonder Works:


For the simplest version of the game, we laminated two copies of the field guide, and then cut out the nine pictures from one of the sheets to use as game pieces. Then our young visitors were able to match exact copies of the photos on the guide sheet.

To make the matching game more challenging for older children, we also developed sheets with different photos of the same nine species of water birds found on the field guide, with three different photos of each kind of bird. To find the matches, children had to pay much more attention to the unique features that helped identify each bird. Here are links to PDF files with those more challenging game pieces:

Game pieces sheet one: Mallard, Wood Duck, and Canada Goose

Game pieces sheet two: Greart Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, and Green Heron

Game pieces sheet three:  Gulls, Cormorant, and Pied-billed Grebe


Our third new one-page field guide was developed for younger children. It includes larger photos of four colorful birds that sing here on the west side of Chicago. You can download a PDF file Common Birds on Chicago’s West Side here:


We also developed a matching game with this field guide sheet, only this time the game pieces were small plush birds that sing when you squeeze them:


The plush birds are manufactured by Wild Republic for the National Audubon Society. You can purchase them at many museum and zoo gift shops or from online sources. We made the game a bit more challenging by having five plush birds, with only four photos to match. That way children had to look more closely to decide whether the American Robin or House Finch matched the photo on the lower right corner of the field guide.


You have our permission to download and print these documents for personal and educational use.


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