How Do Birds Survive the Winter?

Birds, but especially pigeons, are everywhere in the city. Look Up! to find out what kind of pigeons live in your neighborhood and where they make their homes. Between December 16, 2013 and January 5, 2014 record your observations as part of the Winter Learning Challenge.


  • Observe a pigeon on the street, in your backyard or outside your window. Record what you see and share it with scientists and birders around the world.
  • Spot a pigeon and identity what type it is using the pigeon morph guide. Draw a detailed sketch of your pigeon and record what type of pigeon you saw.
  • Pigeons are experts at navigating and finding their way back home. Many were used in wars to send important messages. How do they find their way?
  • The most common pigeon we see in Chicago is the rock pigeon, but there are many different breed of pigeons, with unique colors, feathers and shapes. See if you can identify other types of pigeons you might see in the city.


  • Write a pigeon acrostic poem.
  • Pigeons can travel long distances and can easily find their way home. Write a story from a pigeon's perspective. Use these prompts to get you started:
    • What is the farthest you've ever traveled?
    • What is the longest distance you've ever traveled?
    • Where did you go?
    • Who did you go with?
    • What was the highlight of the trip?
  • Cold and snow can make it hard for birds to find food. Construct this simple bird feeder from an empty milk jug to feed your neighborhood birds.
  • Make your own whooping crane.