The Junior Avian Ambassador Program
Promoting environmental stewardship and scientific interest in the natural world by educating children about wild birds.
Our interactive, hands-on presentations are one hour in length and are one of the ways we raise awareness and funds for the birds at the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre. All presentations begin with a summary of the work we do at the Centre and an introduction to our live educational Ambassador, Indigo, an American Kestrel, who will join the presentation from the comfort of his travel enclosure. The bulk of the presentation is grade/group-specific and covers aspects of the Ontario Science Curriculum in a unique and fun way. Each presentation ends with a discussion on how to respectfully observe our feathered friends and what to do if you find an injured bird. Additional activity outlines specific to the presentation topic are available for teachers and leaders to expand the group’s learning experience after the presentation is complete.
Presentations are available 7 days a week and evenings.
(Indoors or Out)
$125 for a one-hour presentation. (book 2 or more on the same day receive a 10% discount) Curriculum-linked, printable activities ideas are provided to teachers/leaders at no charge. *A modest travel fee will be added for distances beyond 25 km from the Centre. Additional activities available as add-ons: Activities are an additional 30 minutes in length and facilitated by our presenter. All materials are provided: Owl pellet dissection $50 ($1.25 per pellet will be added for groups over 25) Bird themed craft $50 Facilitated bird walk $50
If you have any questions or would like to book a presentation for your group, please contact: Patty McLaughlin
Grade 1 & Kindergarten
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 enjoy a hands-on opportunity to compare the similarities and differences between many local bird species.
Presentation A: Life Cycles of Birds
Students will learn why eggs are an engineering marvel by conducting several “egg-speriments”. They will also learn about baby bird development through photos and videos taken at the Centre.
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.
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.
Bird Habitats and Communities
Students will learn which bird communities live in different habitats and closely examine bird artifacts to learn about unique adaptations that help birds survive in the wild. We will further expand on bird adaptations by learning specifically about Owls.
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.
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.
Sparrows, Warblers, and Hawks, OH MY! Taking a ‘peep’ at the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre
Through an engaging power-point presentation filled with pictures and videos of birds at the Centre, your group will learn about the history of the Centre, what it is like caring for over 4,000 injured birds each year, and interesting stories about some of the most memorable birds. The remaining part of the presentation can be customized to meet the interests of your group from learning backyard bird identification tips, ways we can help our feathered friends, and of course answering all your wild bird questions!
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.
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.
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.
Our participation in Nature Canada’s NatureHood program was made possible with funds from Nature Canada and the Government of Canada. By offering in-depth, multi-week programs, and partnering with local youth organizations, we can help break down barriers that youth face accessing nature allowing them to gain a greater appreciation of wild birds, develop bird identification skills, and support youth to implement a conservation action project in their own community.