Indigenous STEAM logo with bird


Bird icon

Since time immemorial, Native and Indigenous people have learned about the world through our relationships with birds. (Re)making relationships with birds through observation and storytelling means that we are also connecting with our ancestors by engaging in a practice that they also engaged in. Observing bird relatives helps us to know how to live in particular places and to understand patterns and changes in our ecosystems. When we find bird feathers, we can use them for crafts, making regalia and other spiritual items used in ceremony and prayer. This is one form of resurgence of our traditional lifeways and it is a gift from our bird relatives!


Download an overview of the bird arc here.

Bird Arc Activities

Download bird activities for you and your family below. All activities are interconnected and do not need to be done in any particular order. These activities are designed to help build relationships with and learn to appreciate the birds in our own backyards, neighborhoods, local parks, and/or forest preserves. This involves learning where to look for birds, which habitats are appropriate for which birds, and learning to identify birds by getting to know their appearance, location, flight patterns, and calls. The best times for this activity might be closer to dawn and dusk, but could happen any time of day.

Bird Cards

You can use these cards with many of the activities below to support your learning.

All Birds
Bird icon
Bird Arc: Introduction

This short document gives an introduction to the Bird Arc and related activities.

Three birds in a blue sky
Storytelling and Storylistening

Through the traditional stories in this activity, you will learn to appreciate the birds in our local surroundings.

Red bird
Thinking Seasonally and Relationally

This activity gives you insight to the complexity of birds’ place in ecosystems through a keen understanding of seasonal cycles and relationships of birds.

Young boy in field of dry grasses
Walking Land: Making Bird Relatives

During this activity, you will build relationships with bird relatives by going on a walk and making observations.

Young boy in field of dry grasses
Walking Land: Nurturing Relations with Bird Relatives

Strengthen your relationship with birds by revisiting a bird relative in this second Walking Land activity. 

Bird icon
All Activities Combined

Download all of the Bird Arc activities in one handy PDF.

Goose Photo by Jon Sailer on Unsplash

Thank you for your interest in our materials

We want to understand where they are being used and by whom.

Contact the ISTEAM team