Interact with Animals

Interact with Animals

Get ideas for fun ways to observe animals in your own backyard!





Four monarch butterflies flutter around a set of flowers.
Photograph by Medford Taylor

Get ideas for fun ways to observe animals in your own backyard!

Picture of a mourning dove and a cardinal.
Backyard Bird Census

Keep a tally of the amount and types of birds visiting your yard. Do they have food, water, and shelter? Turn your yard into a backyard bird habitat. Do more birds visit your habitat-friendly yard?

Picture of monarchs.
Help Monarch Butterflies

Create a way station, grow milkweed, or even raise them from eggs.

Picture of an ant.
Dig in the Dirt

Dig down up to six inches into the soil. Find and record all the critters, such as bugs and worms, that live in the dirt.

Grid of colorful insects.
Collect Insects

Using a butterfly net, go out and collect some insects. Note how many different types you find and where you found them. Repeat the activity during a different season and compare your findings. Be sure to be gentle with the bugs and let them go when you are finished observing them.

Picture of flying geese.
Wildlife Migrations

Research the kinds of wildlife that migrate in your area. Map their migration paths.

Picture of a butterfly.
Plant a Butterfly Garden

Note any butterflies that flutter by. Take pictures of them when they land on the plants. How many different species visit your garden?

Picture of tracks in the snow.
Look for Tracks

Look for animal and bird tracks in the mud or snow. Draw a quick sketch of what you see. Try to identify which animal left the track.

idea image
Keep the Mosquito Population in Check

Purchase small dark-colored fish NATIVE to your area and put them in any water plants or human-made ponds in your yard where mosquitoes lay eggs. The fish will eat the larvae, and no chemicals will be needed to prevent mosquitoes! NOTE: You should never introduce animals into non-manmade environments such as creeks or ponds.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Christina Riska Simmons
Jessica Shea, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Photo Researcher
Emily Connor
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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