Birding with children is a fun and educational outdoor activity. On average, kids spend more than seven hours per day with electronic media. Studying birds at the convenience of your backyard can teach children about wildlife and ecology as well as engage all of their senses. You could take up birding with your kids year-round — even in winter. Here are some ways to get your youngsters excited about birdwatching.
Invite feathered neighbors to your green space by making homemade feeders or nesting boxes with your kids. This offers you and your children ample opportunities for observation and identification of new winged visitors such as hummingbirds or wild songbirds. Consider placing a bird bath or fountain in your yard, so birds have easy access to clean water for drinking and bathing. The sight and sound of moving water may also attract more birds.
Get the kiddos’ hands dirty in some soil by planting native foliage and flowers with them. This encourages little ones to become more in tune with nature and may attract avian visitors from other parts of the country. Birds feed on flower seeds and the insects that are attracted by the plants. In particular, the American Goldfinch — a typical backyard bird — feeds on the seeds of cosmos. Moreover, planting red flowers can lure hummingbirds, since these plants offer a rich nectar source. You might also help your kids hang suet cages to attract woodpeckers.
Taking children to a city park, countryside or forest preserve is an excellent way to help them observe a wide variety of bird species other than the ones in your backyard. For more ways on how to engage kids in birdwatching, see the accompanying guide.
Guide created by Bird-X