Birdwatching Game

Go Birdwatching in the Great Lakes! Test your knowledge of Great Lakes bird species by playing this interactive birdwatching game!

  Birds developed from ancient reptiles some 225 million years ago, prior to the appearance of primitive mammals. Their rise and subsequent proliferation, along with mammals, coincided with the decline of reptiles on the planet. Feathers and lightweight skeletons allowing flight, hard-shelled eggs, a highly efficient 4-chambered heart, and a constant, raised body temperature are all general characteristics of birds that have given this group the ability to adapt to a wide range of climates and habitats spread across the planet.

Although there are over 1700 species of birds in North America, when Central America is dropped out, the number drops to about 645 species, represented by 75 families. In the summer months between 15 and 20 billion birds can be found in North America, north of Mexico. This number far exceeds the human population living in the same area, but over 50 people cannot live in a single tree either.

The aquatic birds considered in this section are those living on or near bodies of water, that acquire their food from the water itself, the shorelines, or the animals inhabiting the same region. Three examples of birds fitting this description are ducks, herons, and sandpipers.

Species Descriptions Species Descriptions View photos and find information about a particular bird. You can even listen to the sound of its call!
Evolution

Avian Evolution Discover the anatomy of a bird and learn about avian evolution!