Birding with Kids

Birding with kids has been one of our favorite learning activities. I love that it’s something you can do anywhere, the excitement it brings and that it’s free!

bird watching with kids

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I became interested in birding quite a while ago, before the kids were even born. Anytime my husband and I would travel, I would bring along my National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds book and record all the birds I would find. I’m still quite a novice at it, but my bird list has steadily been growing.

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Steller’s jay visiting our feederIt’s been such a fun experience to start sharing birding with Lucy and Theodore. It’s helped them both be more aware of the sights and sounds around them in their outdoor environment, exposed them to the importance of nonfiction resources and, of course, helped them learn all about birds!

 

It’s been such a fun experience to start sharing birding with Lucy and Theodore. It’s helped them both be more aware of the sights and sounds around them in their outdoor environment, exposed them to the importance of nonfiction resources and, of course, helped them learn all about birds!

 Birding with Young Children

Strategies for Birding with Young Kids

At first, we’d bring our huge bird books out with us on walks and road trips. It was fun, but when we’d spot a bird, we’d be overwhelmed with all the birds in our book and, by the time we’d start narrowing the bird down, it would fly away.

Luckily, I found two things that have helped with this. First, our local bookstore sells a pamphlet with photographs of our local birds. I bought one, and we now carry that around with us to help us more easily identify birds. It’s lightweight and already has the birds narrowed down for us! The second thing that has helped is narrowing down our focus. We’ve decided to just start practicing birding mainly with the birds we find in our backyard. It’s helped to see our frequent bird visitors up close right in our own yard. We’ve really gotten to know the different sounds of each. As a matter of fact, one of Theo’s first words was “caw” from hearing all the crows!

Filling out her bird journal

Lucy filling out her bird journal

Birding at Home

To make our birding experience convenient, I set up a little bird area in our playroom right next to our back door where we have a good view of our backyard bird feeder.

  • My husband hung some rain gutters to use as bookshelves (love these!) where we put all our books about birds. That way if we see a new bird out on the bird feeder, we can easily access our books as we’re observing.
  • I’ve also hung photographs of the birds we’ve spotted on the wall by the books and written the names below them. (The pictures aren’t that great~ they’re usually taken in haste through a screen door, but they work!).
  • And to decorate our area, Lucy made some birds out of paper!

I have a little bird journal I keep to record all our sightings. Lucy also has one for kids, Bird Log Kids. We write the information in it together, and she illustrates the bird. Even Theo likes to help!

 

It’s been such a fun experience for us all!  I would love to invite you to give it a try if you haven’t already~ I think you’ll love seeing your child’s enthusiasm and excitement with each new discovery!

 

The kids checking out their bird books.

The kids checking out their bird books.

 

Be sure to check out these other posts about birds on Buggy and Buddy:

 

Fizz, Pop, Bang! 40 Playful Science and Math Activities for Kids

Comments

  1. Okay now I feel like a total idiot. I need to go get a bird book so we can start recording what birds we see. Why have I never thought to do that! And I love the idea of the bird log for kids. Thanks so much for sharing on We Made That!

  2. My daughter adored watching birds when she was younger – we put a feeder right outside the window and she would just stare out the window. We even did the Backyard Bird Count one year to see who came to visit. Great post – love your birding area!

  3. I would love to find a pamphlet like that for our local birds. We have three resident hummingbirds and two feeders for the bigger birds that are highly frequented, and we’re slowly learning which birds are which, but sometimes it’s hard! But we should start keeping a bird log this year, especially with my son’s passion for Angry Birds giving his interest in them an extra boost. Thanks for the ideas!

  4. We enjoy birding as well. I was so impressed yesterday when we were at a park a half an hour away from home and we heard a bird singing & my 5 year old excitedly said, “Hey mom, that’s the bird we hear at home!” She was right we do hear that bird at our house. All 3 of my kids love looking at our bird identification books. I will have to look into getting them their own Bird Log. I love that idea! Happy Birding!

    • I love that story, Jennifer! What a great connection! Birding with the kids has been a great learning experience for all of us. I still feel quite new at it!

  5. What a great post! I would love for you to share this or any of your great ideas at the link party going on now (and every Saturday through Tuesday) at ‘Or so she says …’ Hope to see you there! http://www.oneshetwoshe.com

  6. When I was homeschooled we joined the various Cornell (I think) University bird counts!

  7. What a wonderful experience to share with your kids. Learning about nature is so important! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

Trackbacks

  1. […] the past few days I’ve shared how we do birdwatching at our home and how other families encourage birding in their homes. I thought it might also be […]

  2. […] If you’d like to learn more about how we encourage birdwatching, please see our previous post, Birding with Kids. […]

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