Get Outside: Tips for Bird Watching with Kids
Bird watching is a great activity for kids that can help them develop a love and appreciation of the various types of birds. It is also a great way for families to spend quality time together. Lastly, bird watching with kids also shows them how to respect animals and become nature-wise. Here are some great tips for bird watching with kids.
Find books for them to read- Before you head out bird watching with the kids, locate some books you can read with them so they can learn more about birds and bird watching. One good book is Bring on the Birds by Susan Stockdale. This book is easy to read, is filled with colorful illustrations and contains an identification guide as well. Other useful books include Alphabetical Birds in Color by Lawrence Hohman, Take a Backyard Bird Walk by Jane Kirkland and Backyard Bird Watching for Kids by George H. Harrison.
Bring along the essential equipment- When you head out bird watching with kids, you will need a pair of binoculars and a field guide. Binoculars allow you to view the birds close up so kids can enjoy the details of the birds as they fly overhead or sit perched in a nearby tree. A field guide will allow your kids to learn the names of the birds they spot. There are a couple of recommended field guides including The Young Birder’s Guide to Birds of North America by Bill Thompson III and Birds, National Audubon Society First Field Guide by Scott Weidensaul.
Teach them bird watching etiquette- It is important that you teach kids about bird watching etiquette so that there is no negative impact on any of the birds. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that you are entering their territory, their home, their habitat so respect those boundaries and tread lightly. Ensure that kids are aware that they are not to use any type of mechanical or audio device to attract birds. These devices may disrupt mating or nesting activities of the birds or may even induce their stress. Another thing to keep in mind is ensure your kids know that they are not to chase or disturb the birds at any time.
Find Birding Hotspots in Your Area- Some of the best spots to bird watch are wetlands, bogs, lakes, rivers, forest preserves and city parks. To find particular hotspots in your area, there are several sites that can help you. Bird Watching Daily helps you find the latest information on the best places to watch birds. The site also provides you with directions, maps and detailed descriptions of birding hotspots. Wild Birds is a site that lists the top birding spots in each of the 50 states. Birds and Blooms provides you with great birding locations and hotspots in your state.