The Life Cycle Of A Bird (KS2) Explained

A kingfisher, a blue and orange bird, perched on a branch.
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Image © David Mark from Pixabay.

All living beings have a life cycle, even us humans.

A life cycle is the different stages of a living thing's life and is a fascinating journey from birth, to growth, to death. They are essential to science lessons, so getting kids to learn about the life of birds is a great way to get them into the subject.

This article has all the information about the life cycle of a bird, including what kids will learn about it at school and some fun resources that may support your child's learning.  

What Is The Life Cycle Of A Bird?

There are four stages in a bird's life cycle:

1. A bird starts as an egg. Before the egg is ready to hatch, it is kept warm and protected by the parents. Inside the egg, a baby bird develops an egg tooth to crack the shell. This falls off a few days after hatching.

2. A hatchling is a young bird that just hatched. As the hatched bird grows, it is taken care of and fed in a nest by its parents. At this stage, they are called nestlings.

3. When a bird grows its feathers and ready to leave the nest, it is called a fledgling (or juvenile). A fledgling continues being fed by its parents for several more weeks while it gets stronger and bigger.

4. Once a fledgling has fully grown, it is a mature or adult bird. As it approaches adulthood, it grows feathers. An adult bird will find a mate, build a nest, and lay eggs. Then, the whole life cycle of a bird starts again!

Parent bird feeding three fledglings in the nest in a tree.
Image © Gerhard G. from Pixabay

What Kids Are Taught About Life Cycles

Different animals and plants have different life cycles. Children are exposed to a variety of different life cycles including the life cycle of a bird, mammal, insect, amphibians, and plants.

Children are taught about the life cycles of different animals and plants from KS1. They are first introduced to life cycles in Year 1, when they observe growing plants. In Key Stage 2, children learn about different life cycles and their different stages from Year 3. In Year 5, pupils should be able to compare the life cycles of different living beings.

Children are encouraged to observe local nature and document what they see. In the classroom, they are given worksheets and exercises to help them learn. For example, they are given life cycle pictures that they have to order into a circle diagram.  

Fun Facts About The Life Cycles Of Birds

Birds find partners in the Spring. Male birds will start singing to attract a partner and to warn other male birds away.

In tropical countries, male birds have extravagant feathers and even do fancy dances to attract a mate.

Different birds use different materials for their nest, such as feathers, twigs, straws, and even spider webs.

Babies hatch when there is enough food for them to eat.

There are around 10,000 species of birds.

Some birds nest close to animals who deter predators to keep their eggs and babies safe.

Resources And Activities

Two brown and blue birds in a hanging perch outside.
Image © wileydoc from Pixabay

There are loads of activities to do at home. How about creating colourful posters and flow charts? There are also tonnes of beautiful and engaging documentaries and TV shows that may broaden your child's knowledge.

Getting your child outside into nature may really inspire their learning. We have a tonne of different species of birds in the UK, like parakeets, that you could observe in the great outdoors. You could even set up a nesting area in your garden, and attract some twittering neighbours with a feeder. That way you and children can observe and track their life cycle. Together, you can discuss what you see and compare a bird's life cycle with that of other critters and plants around you.

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