3" x 5" (7.5 cm x 15 cm) index cards
Short white feather
Markers: yellow, light green, orange, red, brown, dark green
Pattern of quetzal bird
White drawing paper
Long green feathers
7 mm wiggle eyes
What to do
- Put one line of intormation on each of several index cards. A child picks a card and the teacher reads the information, for example: quetzal birds live in the central American and Mexican rain forets; quetzal birds are very colorful; male quetzals are the brightest color; fathers take their turn sitting on eggs; quetzals nest in holes in trees; the green quetzal tail feather is two feet long; the quetzal is pictured on the stamps and coins of Guatemala; the male quetzal jumps off the branch backwards to fly; only Aztec Indian noblemen were allowed to decorate their clothes with green quetzal feathers; quetzal catch falling fuit or insects to eat.
- Before you start this project, find a good picture of a quetzal bird to use as a pattern. Then trace the pattern onto sheets of white paper, one for each child, and help them make their own quetzal puppets.
- Color the feet with pencil.
- Color yellow on the head crown and beak.
- Color the breast red first, then orange on top of the red.
- Color the side feather wing area with a light green marker.
- Trace the head and v-shaped neck with dark green, then cover the center of the head with white glue and sprinkle on green glitter.
- Glue on the eyes.
- Glue the white and green feathers together for the tail feathers.
- Glue the top half of the white feather to form the quetzal tail at the base of the drawing.
More to do
Math: Children sort feathers by size and count them.
More science: Find Guatemala on the globe; find Mexico. Visit a bird aviary. Show the children pictures of various birds. discuss the variety of colors and shapes.
Original song and poem
Did You Ever See a Quetzal Bird?
(sing to the tune of "Did you Ever See a Lassie")
Verse 1: Did you ever see a quetzal bird from Central America? He looks this way…
Verse 2: Did you ever see his two green feathers hanging down from his tail? He sits this way…
The Male Quetzal Bird
The Quetzal Bird is very bright green.
He is the most unusual bird you've ever seen.
His low green feathers hang low below the limb
On which he is sitting, viewing the trees around him.
When he goes in a hole that is his nest in a tree.
The tip of his tail feathers you can still plainly see.
When he wants to soar high in the blue, blue sky
He has to fall backward before he can fly.
An orange-red breast and yellow feather crown has he.
The male quetzal bird is the crown jewel of bird royalty.
A Is for Animals by David Pelham
Incredible Animals A to Z National Wildlife Federation
Mary Brehm, Aurora, OH