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Viewing of Wildlife in Natural Habitats

Forest, meadows, parks, seashores, tidal estuaries and marshes throughout the United States attract and sustain a rich diversity of both seasonal and permanent wildlife species. Even urban environments attract a wide variety of wildlife. New York City, for example, "is located on the Atlantic Flyway, one of the nation's premier bird migration routes... Many of these migrants stop to rest and feed in the city's park before continuing on their journeys (New York- Wildlife Viewing Guide).

Red-tailed hawks, peregrine falcons, turkeys, vultures, ospreys, mallards, Canada geese, blue herons, egrets, ibis, barn owls, short-eared owls and woodpeckers are among the birds that can be seen in New York City. Gray squirrels, chipmunks, salamanders, bullfrogs, red fox, white-footed mice, coyotes, raccoon and deer can be seen here as well.

Throughout New York State there are more than 600 species of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles than can be seen in the wild. "From bear, moose, deer and harbor seals to eagles, loons and warblers to wood frogs and salamanders, the wildlife watching opportunities in New York are as diverse as the habitat it harbors" (New York- Wildlife Viewing Guide).

Observational studies of one or more species of animals in their natural habitat is strongly encouraged as the basis for a science fair project. Students can conduct a search of the literature for background information on the species they have chosen to study. They can make predictions and form hypotheses based on their literature search. Students may decide to track the appearance of animals at varying times of day, different seasons of the year, and varying weather conditions as part of their project.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  • Burton, Robert, North American Birdfeeder Handbook, Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 1992
  • Grubb, Thomas, Field Projects for Inquisitive Birders, Boxwood Press, 1986.
  • Knight, Frank, New York Wildlife Viewing Guide, Falcon Publishing, 1998. Also inquire about their Watchable Wildlife Series.
  • phone: 1-800-582-2665, website: www.falconguide.com.
  • Koebner, Linda, For Kids Who Love Animals, 1991, Contact the ASPCA for ordering information. phone: 212-876-7700.
  • Winn, Marie, Red Tails in Love: A Wildlife Drama in Central Park , Pantheon Books, 1998

ORGANIZATIONS TO CONTACT:

  • American Birding Association, PO Box 6599, Colorado Springs, Co 80934, phone: 719-578-1614, website: www.americanbirding.org
  • National Audubon Society, 700 Broadway, New York, NY 10003, website: www.audubon.org
  • National Geographic Society, PO Box 64112, Tampa, Florida 33664-4112. phone: 1-800-NGS-LINE