Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre logo

Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Experience Engage Enable

Telephone02 9816 1298

Secret life of birds program

Teacher checklist


Field of Mars Reserve, Pittwater Road, East Ryde.

Wallumedegal Country

Google maps - Apple maps

Bus access

Supply bus driver with Field of Mars Reserve bus information

No bus entry into Field of Mars Reserve.


DoE $24 per student - GST free

Non-gov school cost $34 per student - GST free, minimum charge $700

Risk assessment

Risk management plan

COVID-19 safety plan


View the YouTube track overview videos.

Buffalo Creek Track

Doyle and Warada loop track


Participants will be bushwalking during the day in rugged terrain.

Limited wheelchair accessbility.

This excursion may not be suitable for people who have recently been unwell.


Backpack, medication, low-waste food, water bottle, sunblock, raincoat, hat, sturdy shoes.

Students wear reusable name tag and sports uniform.


Preparing for an excursion

Supporting resources

The Needs of Living Things - Animals - available free from Apple Books

Fact sheets

Bin access

All student waste to be taken home by students.

Parent/carer helpers Optional one or two parents per class, no siblings. Closed shoes essential.
Medical or special needs

Notify Field of Mars staff prior to excursion. 

Students, staff and visitors must not attend if unwell, even with mild symptoms. 

Extreme or wet weather

Days predicted to be above 35ºC, high winds, extreme bush fire danger and dust storms may result in the excursion being modified, postponed or cancelled. 


Cancellations with less than four school weeks; notice will incur a $500 administration fee. This does not apply to cancellations due to weather or fire danger.

Suggested timetable for up to four classes


Classes A, B

Classes C, D

9.45 - 10.30

Introduction, recess and toilets

Introduction, recess and toilets

10.30 - 12.00

Waddle Giggle Gargle story and activities

Bird habitat bushwalk

Build a giant bird nest 

12.00 - 12.30



12.30 - 2.00

Bird habitat bushwalk

Build a giant bird nest 

Waddle Giggle Gargle story and activities

2.00 - 2.15 

Toilets, pack up and depart 

Toilets, pack up and depart 

Learning activities 

This excursion focuses on birds, their characteristics, needs, behaviours and the environment in which they live. Students will explore the bird habitat at the Field of Mars Reserve and participate in role play activities to investigate bird behaviours. 

Inquiry questions

  • What are the external features of birds?
  • Where do birds live and how do they behave?
  • How can we care for our native birds? 


Waddle Giggle Gargle story and activities

Waddle Giggle Gargle by Pamela Allen depicts the distinctive behaviours of magpies as they swoop, nest and feed their young. The story will launch student investigations into bird behaviour and their external features. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the external features of birds by building a small bird out of clay. They will then role play bird behaviours by building a small nest for their bird and collecting woolly worms to feed their chicks. 


Students will participate in a bushwalk at the Field of Mars Reserve to explore the many different bird habitats found in the Sydney bushland. They are certain to see some of the many bird inhabitants of the reserve such as wood ducks, ibis, kookaburras, swamp hens, brush turkeys and wrens.

Build a giant bird nest

Students also have the opportunity to plan and build a giant bird’s nest using the abundant natural materials in our nature play space. Using role play, students will be invited to use their nests and this nature play space to demonstrate their understanding of bird behaviour such as finding food, feeding young and evading predators. 

Syllabus outcomes and content

Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus (2017) 


A student:

  • explores the characteristics, needs and uses of living things STe-3LW-ST 
  • observes, questions and collects data to communicate ideas STe-1WS-S 


Characteristics and basic needs of living things

A student:

  • recognises that living things have basic needs including air, food and water (ACSSU002)

  • compares the basic needs of some plants and animals

  • participates in guided investigations to identify living things and the external features of plants and animals in the local environment

  • communicates findings and observations of living things in their environment

Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2017