Education Programs

The Junior Avian Ambassador Program

Promoting environmental stewardship and scientific interest in the natural world by educating children about wild birds.

Off-Site Presentations

Our interactive, hands-on presentations are one hour in length and begin with an introduction to the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre and its important work. Learn about our “celebirdy”, Violet the Turkey Vulture and our education ambassador, Indigo, an American Kestrel. Each presentation ends with a discussion on how to respectfully observe our feathered friends and what to do if you find an injured bird. The bulk of the presentation is grade/group specific and covers expectations from the Ontario Science Curriculum in a unique and fun way. Additional activity outlines specific to the presentation, which can be done before or after the presentation, are available for teachers and leaders.

Presentation Fees:

$100 for a one hour presentation and access to additional activity outlines. *A modest travel fee might be added for distances farther than 25 km from the Centre. Access to additional activities, without a presentation, in exchange for a small donation to the Centre. If you would like more information or to book a presentation please contact Patty McLaughlin at .

Presentation Topics For Elementary Grades

Kindergarten & Grade 1

Needs, Habitats, and Characteristics of Birds

Students will identify where birds live and the dangers they face in their habitats. Using bird artifacts, students will have the hands-on opportunity to compare the similarities and differences between many local bird species.

Extra Activities:
  • Kindergarten: Schoolyard Habitat Survey and Bird Scavenger Hunt, and Build Your Family Bird Nest Craft
  • Grade 1: Bird vs Bat Venn Diagram, Create a Bird with Common Shapes Craft


Grade 2

Presentation A: Life Cycles of Birds

Students will learn why eggs are an engineering feat by conducting several “eggsperiments” and then learn about baby bird development through photos and videos from the Centre.

Extra Activities:
  • Naked Egg Experiment, and Nest Cam Observation
Presentation B: Adaptations of Beaks, Feet, and Feathers

Students will learn about the three main feather types and adaptations of beaks and feet through hands-on activities using bird artifacts.

Extra Activities:
  • Adaptations of Beaks and Build a Beak Challenge, and Bird Research Project


Grade 3

Bird Nests and Baby Birds

Through pictures, videos, and closely examining bird nests, students will learn about nest construction, including materials used, building techniques, and their location in nature. Students will also learn the basics of bird development, dangers baby birds face in nature, and participate in the “Momma Bird Challenge” game.

Extra Activities:
  • Design and Build a Bird Nest, and Cats and Birds Survey


Grade 4

Bird Habitats and Communities

Students will learn which bird communities live in different habitats, closely examine bird artifacts to learn about unique adaptations that help birds survive, and expand on bird adaptations further by learning specifically about Owls.

Extra Activities:
  • Create-a-Bird Challenge, and an Owl Pellet Dissection (cost an additional $1 per child)


Grade 5

Compare Human and Bird Biological Systems and Investigate How Birds Use Human-made Structures

Students will learn how a bird’s sight, smell, hearing, and digestive system differ from humans. Students will discuss how human-made structures can benefit or pose risks to birds. We will then study how the Chimney Swift, Peregrine Falcon, and Barn Swallow have all adapted to use human structures to their advantage.

Extra Activities:
  • Perch Design Challenge, Digestive Tract Investigation, Reduce Window Impacts, and an Owl Pellet Dissection (cost an additional $1 per child)


Grade 6

Bird Biodiversity

Using pictures, videos, and bird artifacts, students will learn about body characteristics, movement, and behaviour that will help sharpen their identification skills so they may become citizen scientists and submit their bird survey results online. We will also explore maps of Ottawa to discuss areas of high and low biodiversity as well as increased human impacts.

Extra Activities:
  • Schoolyard Biodiversity Survey, and Bird Survey, Build a Nest Box (please inquire for material availability)


Presentations Topics for Community Groups

Ages 5-7 years: Characteristics of Birds, Especially Owls

Learn basic characteristics of birds by examining bird artifacts and expand your knowledge by specifically learning about the many unique adaptations that Owls possess.

Extra Activities:
  • Bird Scavenger Hunt, Create-a-bird Using Common Shapes Craft, and Owl Pellet Dissection (cost an additional $1 per child)


Ages 7-10 years: Bird Identification, Our Provincial Bird, and a Choice of: A) Endangered Birds Or B) Adaptations of Beaks and Feet

Learn the important characteristics of a bird’s body and behaviour that will help you identify common backyard birds. Learn about our amazing provincial bird, the Common Loon, and then your group can choose to learn about either a) Endangered bird species, especially the Peregrine Falcon; or b) Adaptations of bird beaks and feet.

Extra Activities:
  • Migration Game, Legend of the Common Loon Craft, Adaptations of Beaks and Build a Beak Challenge, Bird Survey


Ages 10-14 years: Bird Identification, the Three Main Feather Types, and Birds' Nests

Sharpen your bird identification skills through pictures, videos, and bird artifacts while learning about bird behaviours and movements. Learn about the three main feather types through hands-on experiments. Lastly, explore nests; how they are constructed, what materials are used, and where they are located in nature.

Extra Activities:
  • Migration Game, Indoor/Outdoor Fact Scavenger Hunt, Bird Survey, Build a Nest Box (please inquire for material availability)


Not Part of a Group?

Follow us on Facebook to be notified when we host our next Education Day so you can join us for a presentation and activities at a community space near you!

Want to Do More to Help the Birds?

Complete one of the 10 Junior Avian Ambassador Missions to help your backyard birds and earn an official Junior Avian Ambassador pin and certificate!