Migration Partner

Description:Bird made of paper tube, attached paper parts, and a plastic straw that allows wings to move.

Objectives:An interactive way to teach awareness of bird (and other wildlife) migration patterns by allowing students to bring a functioning, handcrafted bird with them wherever they go, as they would a toy.

Author: Blair

Grade level or Target Age Range: Elementary to middle school


Vocabulary:Migration, flock, lead, thermals, prevailing winds

Materials: Construction paper, plastic straw, tape

Anticipatory Set: Have you ever brought a toy with you wherever you went and felt as if it were going on a trip along with you? As if you were journeying together? This is similar to flocking birds.


1.Orient paper in landscape position (longest width of paper oriented horizontally) and fold it from left to right, in half. Cut along the folded line so you have 2 smaller rectangular sheets about 5.5 inches x 8.5 inches (from 8.5 in. x 11 in.) or larger depending on the paper.
(1 minute)

2. Roll one piece of rectangular paper into roughly the size and circumference of a toilet paper roll, then tape together. Save the other rectangular piece of paper for another step.
(1 minute)

3. Press the paper roll down gently flat and cut two meeting diagonal slits 1/2″ to 3/4″ into each side of the roll (the slit will appear diamond-shaped after cutting, as seen in picture).  These openings are where the wings will be inserted.
(1 minutes)

4. Now prepare the other piece of paper for cutting out other parts of the bird. Next choose a straw to act as the bird’s “spine.” Cut out a fan shape (may be scalloped to indicate feathers) for the tail with a rectangular extension, or “tab,” continuing out from the tail to attach it to the straw. Tape the rectangular tab onto the straw. Bend the fan of the tail upward.
(5-10 minutes)

5. Cut out two wing shapes roughly 1” wide and 2” from base to tip (small enough to fit through the side slits in the tube) and attach these to the straw as well. Slip the straw with attached wings and tail through the paper roll, maneuvering wings into the slits.
(5-10 minutes)

6. Cut out the rest of the desired bird parts from the leftover paper, including the head, which may be long-necked or simply a semi-circle shape with a triangle for the beak.  Attach these parts to the straw or the paper roll.
(10-15 minutes)

7. Bring the bird with you wherever you go and flap its wings so it can keep up!

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