Thorndyke’s Portal to Yarn Birds

Hey Kids,

I woke up from my winter nap early because I heard birds chirping outside my window.

Did you know that some birds stay here in Michigan during the winter months? Most backyard birds head south to a warmer climate when it gets cold here at home. But some species of birds are not snowbirds. Here are some birds that you may see in your backyard during the winter season:

  • House finches
  • House sparrows
  • American goldfinches
  • Northern cardinals
  • American robins
  • European starlings

Now, I stay warm because I’m covered in fur. Do you know how birds stay warm in winter? Birds have very fluffy feathers. Their feathers puff up to create tiny pockets of warm air, like how a blanket keeps you warm and snug on cold nights.

Unlike bears, birds don’t hibernate. They need food and water to survive. If you have backyard bird feeders and bird baths, keep them filled with seeds and warm water. It helps our backyard birds stay nourished and hydrated when it’s cold outside.

You've probably guessed that I love birds. Did you know there’s a National Bird Day and an additional Bird Day holiday? Bird Day is every year on May 4. It was the first holiday in the United States celebrating birds. National Bird Day is an annual holiday celebrated on January 5.

So, how you can celebrate birds on these holidays? You can become a birdwatcher, visit a bird habitat or support bird rescue sanctuaries. If you love birds as much as I do, the Michigan Audubon offers field trips, workshops and birdwatching trail tours. Michigan has over 450 species of birds, so there’s plenty to observe on a birding tour.

Well, I’m getting sleepy, so it’s time for me to return to my nap. In the meantime, here’s a fun project for the whole family to make together. These fuzzy feathered friends are made of yarn. With some simple craft supplies, all you need is your imagination.

Bear Hugs,


Create Your Own Yarn Birds


  • Selection of fuzzy yarns
  • 1" styrofoam ball
  • 2" styrofoam ball
  • Toothpicks
  • Scissors
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Yellow felt
  • Straight pins with black ball heads
  • Craft feathers
  • Twig for display
  • Craft glue

Follow this step-by-step tutorial to create your yarn birds. 

Looking for more bird-related activities? Check out this storytime you can do right at home all about our feathered friends. 

Books About Birds

Wild about birds? You'll enjoy these reads. 

Birds of Michigan by Ted Black. Profiles over 300 bird species found in Michigan, grouping them by color, providing range maps, listing places to observe them, and describing their physical traits, voices, habitats, nests, feeding habits and similar species.

The Kids' Guide to Birds of Michigan by Stan Tekiela. Inside you'll find 86 of the most common and important Michigan birds to know.

Stranger in the Woods by Carl R. Sams. Milford native and professional wildlife photographer Sams describes a fantastical day when forest animals discover a snowman in their midst.

Wild About Michigan Birds by Adele Porter. Facts about 70 species of birds, including identification tips, songs and calls, life cycle, migration patterns and favorite foods.