How to go birding with kids
Today we went to a bird sanctuary in a forest near our house. We love this spot for many reasons, one being the amazing amount of birds and other wildlife that live in this forest. Our first stop is always at the creek that runs through the sanctuary. We typically play here for about an hour, the kids catch creek snails and meander through the nearby trails with their imaginations on fire.
After we play at the creek for some time, we head out onto the trail and look for birds. The trail was only about a mile long but we found blue-jays, red wing blackbirds, common ravens, and a heron sitting by a small pond! Sometimes we bring our kid binoculars, but most of the time we just pay close attention to the forest and listen for the bird calls we know.
Birding with kids should be fun and game-like. If I get too serious about the kids being quiet, they get frustrated and the whole adventure blows up! One time, while out birding, we came across a HUGE flock of sandhill cranes and I so badly wanted to take some pictures of them and observe their amazing sounds. But of course, my kids couldn't stay quiet for long and ended up scaring the living daylights out of the birds before I was able to get out my camera :( After that experience, I learned that birding with kids is supposed to be enjoyable, most importantly for the kids!
Resources for Birding with kids
1. Binoculars : We bought our kids these ones. They are a little difficult for kids under 4 to use ( my younger kids didn't get the whole focusing concept) but my eldest son really got it and loves to use them.
2. Guide Books: We have several books that we own and ones we frequently check out from the library. Some of our favorites are:
3. Bird Call Audio-books : These have been the BEST tool for getting my kids REALLY into birding. A while back we checked out a few audio bird call CD's from the library and started listening to them in the car. For whatever reason, this got the kids REALLY excited about bird and bird calls. My kids were able to learn quite a few calls and can now recognize the calls when we are in the forest all from listening to those CD's on repeat for solid three weeks. Our favorite is:
Other Birding Resources
Nature Study Resources
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