Birdwatching is a fun and relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors and learn a lot about wildlife diversity and behaviour. It also teaches patience, and gives children a greater respect for the wide variety of animals they coexist with. This kids activity blog will give you an introduction to birdwatching and how you can get your child interested in the natural world.
What You’ll Need
Binoculars— check out how to make your own Cardboard Tube Binoculars here!
Any bird identification guide (some guides are available online, or at your local library)
A pocket full of sunflower seeds
A journal or notebook
What To Do
Look for birds! Late winter to early spring is a great season for bird watching, because birds are very active at this time of the year, usually looking for food.
If you’d like to try to attract birds, here’s what to do: find a small opening close to trees, with not much noise around. Make this noise with your mouth, with your teeth closed: pish-pish-pish. This sound can draw in small birds, as they become curious about the sound. Keep repeating the noise, staying very still, to see if any gather around you!
Try feeding a bird from your palm. This works well if you see Chickadees or Nuthatches around you. Put a few sunflower seeds on your palm, and extend out your arm, being very still and quiet. The Chickadees or Nuthatches may come to grab the bird seed from you! These birds especially like these seeds at the end of winter, because their storage of seeds from last summer is likely getting low, and new seeds haven’t come out yet.
Keep an eye out for:
a. Cavity nesters— Many birds and wildlife live in the hollow cavities of trees. Learn more about primary and secondary cavity nesters on EALT’s fun facts page, and snags on EALT’s Nature Factsheets page.
b. The birds from EALT’s Species Spotlight— Study up on them before heading out on your walk!
c. Bohemian Waxwings— These beautifully feathered birds can often be found in groups in early spring, feeding on the leftover berries of Mountain Ash trees.
d. Signs of spring— Open water on lakes, rivers or streams, new growth on trees, muddy paths, and insects all mean spring is on its way!
e. Interesting bird activity— Are most of the birds sitting or standing? Are they walking, flying, or swimming? Can you spot any eating, making a nest, or grooming themselves?
Remember that even though birds may be hiding, bird observation can still be done if you can’t see the birds. Try standing still and listening for 2 minutes straight. How many different bird songs can you hear?
Keep a track of what you observe in a nature journal or notebook. You can list the birds you see by species, colour, or activity. Note down anything unexpected or unique that you see! Don’t have a notebook? EALT sells a printable nature journal template! Get yours today.
Did you see or hear any new birds that you’ve never seen before?
Was it easy to see birds?
Where did you see the most birds gathered?
Blog post written by Claire Merkosky, SCiP intern.