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to the Neotropics
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Lesson # 4 Preparing for the Trip

There are fascinating similarities and differences between human travel & bird migration. Your bird will travel to the neotropics with a built-in survival kit. Explore the parallels between those things needed for human travel and the counterparts birds need to survive their journey.

Important Note to Teachers:
The fun and learning value of this activity come from the students discovering these analogies on their own. Therefore, do not give them the chart below--let them create it over time.

A. Have students brainstorm about the similarities and differences between bird migration and human travel. In your discussion, ask questions that spark comparisons such as:

B. Record the analogies on a flip chart. Try and keep it available to students over a period of time (even all year) so they can add to it.

Here is an example of a chart your class might develop:
Human Travel Bird Migration
Printed Map Mental Map
Compass Magnetite in brain
Road signs Star map
Learned route... Instinct guides way
Gasoline fuel Fatty tissue fuel
Suitcases full Go without packing
Parents lead the way Young travel alone
Rest areas Staging/ Stopover sites
Passport required Crosses borders freely
Weather reports Internal barometer
Food available 24 hours .... Must find or starve
Clocks, digital watches Internal clock
Travel in almost any weather Waits for safe conditions
Bring money Never heard of it!

C. (Optional) Make items for your survival kit that represent these parallels. See the lesson, # 8: Creating Your Baby Bird and its Survival Kit

1. There are many stories about dogs or cats finding their way over long distances to return home. Share the stories you may have heard. What aspects of these animals' behavior surprises you the most?

2. As a class, make up a story about some kids traveling 3,000 miles to a foreign country with nothing but the clothes on their backs. How resourceful would they need to be to survive?

3. What are some advantages that birds have that humans might envy? If birds could think it through, what are some advantages that humans have that birds might envy?

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