Birding

We love to travel to find new birds and participate in a lot of bird counts. We also created a Guide to Birding Field Guides and host a collection of over 200 birding links from all over the globe.

Conservation

While our main focus continues to be birds, we promote other areas of conservation as well. Conserving land not only benefits wildlife, but is hugely beneficial to people as well.

Year of the Young Birder

2013 is officially The Year of the Young Birder! We plan on spending the whole year promoting young birder clubs and sharing ideas on how to help student naturalists become lifelong conservationists.

Ohio | Illinois | Iowa | Michigan | Indiana
Minnesota | New York

Check out the Book Review Library!

Biggest Week in American Birding – May 3rd

May 7, 2013
Article in: Young Birders

Kicking off the Biggest Week in American Birding (Friday May 3rd) the Ohio Birdfreaks along with new birder and Ohio Young Birders Club member Jamie attended the opening gathering at the Maumee Bay Conference Center. After introducing some of the key people that make the event so great (including the super hardworking staff at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory) everyone was off to mingle and talk.

We decided to walk the boardwalk just next to the Nature Center in Maumee Bay State Park. Jamie found life birds galore – a stunning view of a Blackburnian Warbler, Palm Warblers, Yellow-rumped Warblers and a very large number of Yellow Warblers. A Swainson’s Thrush, some White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows added to the excitement. We also found an Eastern Screech-Owl hanging out near a nest box (word is that the Mrs. was inside the box).

At 7:30 we headed upstairs in the lodge to see none other than our good friend and awesome Ohio Young Birder Kristina “Catbird” Polk. Kristina writes a blog we enjoy called wild@heart. And did we mention that she is amazing?

(Kristina is the one with the cool hat)
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The basics about Kristina:

Kristina Polk is a 17 year old birder from North Ridgeville Ohio, whose passion for birds began as an interest in wildlife photography. She is a long time vegan and is compassionate towards all life, including the birds she’s gotten to know through birding. She also enjoys art in all forms, including sketching and writing, and uses these hobbies to channel her love of wildlife. Additionally, Kristina volunteers in spring and autumn at Black Swamp Bird Observatory’s bird banding station. She is attending the University of Wyoming next fall to pursue an education in wildlife biology. – Biggest Week Bios

What else we know about her? Well…she is a great writer (Here is a link to an example from The Eyrie – ABA’s young birder blog – Worlds Away)

She is compassionate about all animals, a great speaker and an inspiration to all future conservationists. The best thing about her is that she makes others feel what she feels – love for nature. And of course we love her because she LOVES catbirds.

The talk was great and we are always happy to hear one of her talks. All-in-all a great start to our Biggest Week activities!

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Review – The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book

April 17, 2013
Article in: Book Reviews

2013 is The Year of the Young Birder so the following book fits in perfectly with our goal of promoting young birders and outdoor enthusiasm.

Kid's Outdoor Adventure BookThe Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book: 448 Great Things to Do in Nature Before You Grow Up by Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer is a great asset for coming up with fun outdoor activities.

It is a book that is much needed in a time where more and more kids are spending less and less time outdoors.

Inside are tons of fun activities ranging from finding bird nests to milking a cow! Each of the activities has an “adventure scale” from 1 to 5 and for each there is a basic description of the activity, plus a more challenging addition the the basic quest.

The activities are organized by season, starting with my favorite season, Spring. In each season are specific destinations, projects, games, and recipes.

Many of the items listed you will most likely be familiar with. But I found a great number of activities I’ve never really thought about or hadn’t really appreciated when I was a kid.

Every parent should buy The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book and encourage their children to do as many as the activities in it as possible.

I may even try a few of these myself because you’re never too old to enjoy the outdoors like a kid!

There is a fun giveaway where you can win an autographed copy of this great book and a box of CLIF Kid ZBars. Go to Destination Nature for more details.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher to review on Birdfreak.com. The links are to our Amazon affiliate account.

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New York State Young Birders Club

February 18, 2013
Article in: Take Kids Birding

The New York State Young Birders Club (NYSYB) has many opportunities for young birders between 10 and 19, adult members and even partner organizations. The club is a special project of the New York State Ornithological Association and offers field trips, meetings, scholarships and much more! NYSYB also welcomes members from other states!

The New York State Young Birders Club provides community, friendship, and fun for young people who have a passion for wild birds and their habitats

If you know a young nature lover in New York – you might want to consider a gift membership – it’s only TEN dollars! (Twenty for adult members)

Youth member benefits include:
* make new friends who share your passion for birds!
*go on young birder field trips and other events throughout New York State.
*join in on bird counts and other birding projects with other young birders.
*contribute to and get email alerts about special events and resources for birders.
*get photos, artwork, and writings published on this website and in newsletters around the state.
*are eligible for NYSYBC scholarships
*voice their ideas to help shape NYSYBC.

Check out their membership page to see the many benefits for adult members, alumni and partners!

They also have a Flickr Photo Group called NYS Young Birder’s Photos for photos taken by members of the club.

The New York State Young Birders Club is another wonderful example of the perfect place for budding young birders and future conservationists.

New York is an AWESOME place to watch birds! Back in 2008, Birdfreak Eddie, Dakota and Dad (Grandpa) visited another great blogger Tom from Mon@rch’s Nature Blog.
Allegany State Park, New York

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Great Backyard Bird Count – Kids Welcome!

February 11, 2013
Article in: Young Birders

The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is coming soon: February 15th-18th, 2013. This may be the easiest citizen science project to participate in. Everyone can participate and you can do so without even leaving the comfort of your home.

Northern Cardinal (Female)

All birders (and “almost” birders) are welcome to join in. It is just a three-step process:

1. Create an account for the GBBC; if you already eBird you can use the same login
2. Count birds! 15 minutes is the minimum and you don’t have to count every day (although why not?)
3. Enter your results on the GBBC website or eBird

But the best part of the Great Backyard Bird Count is getting kids involved. What a perfect time to sit down, watch birds, and practice identification.

Feeder watching is one of the best ways to learn about birds. These are usually common species that can be seen up close and for long periods of time. If your feeders are really hopping then there is the likeliness of size comparison between different species.

The GBBC has a whole section for kids that includes printable coloring pages, puzzles, a sound quiz, and other identification tools.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is really a perfect way to get the whole family more interested in birds and to participate in some citizen science.

Plus, who doesn’t enjoy watching birds on a cold winter day?

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Minnesota Young Birders Club

February 8, 2013
Article in: Young Birders

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The Minnesota Young Birders Club is supported by the Science Museum of Minnesota. It is open to kids age 13-18 from Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Annual membership is $20.00 but youth can attend one event prior to becoming a full member.

The Minnesota Young Birder Club connects youth to other young birders in the state via monthly field days, workshops, and social media. We provide a challenging environment where youth can learn about birds, conservation and science while socializing with friends. – Minnesota Young Birders Club

There are many programs/field trips listed on the club’s website with more listed on their Facebook group page.

Overall, the Minnesota Young Birders Club is off to a great start. We suggest they get a website separate from the Science Museum of Minnesota and allow the young members the ability to add content and share information.

Hopefully they can expand their reach across the entire state of Minnesota.

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Young Birders Network

February 6, 2013
Article in: Young Birders

A part of eBird, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory have teamed up to create the Young Birders Network.

The Young Birders Network aims to provide resources for young birders to connect and learn, while giving their adult advocates resources to encourage and support. Though the network is primarily geared for ages 12-18, younger birders and college students alike may also find relevant resources. The network is coordinated by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and includes dozens of partners. – Young Birders Network

The YBN has a list of Young Birder Regional Clubs as well as a list of young birder blogs. There are many fine young bird bloggers out there, so check them out!

You can also access eBird directly through the YBN and submit your checklists (highly recommended).

Plus, if your state is lacking in the young birder club category, there is a young birder club toolkit available to get the ball rolling.

So, check out the Young Birders Network now!

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Indiana Young Birders Club

January 29, 2013
Article in: Young Birders

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The Indiana Young Birders Club offers everything a young birder needs. Field trips, newsletters, conservation projects, outreach programs and of course many birding friends and contacts!

The IYBC also has a blog! Indiana Young Birders – Birding Today…Protecting Tomorrow

One unique thing that the Indiana Young Birders Club offers is a Fledgling membership for young birders up to age eleven. This is a five dollar membership and then the young birder membership is twenty dollars (ages 12 and up). What a great way to include the younger crowd (especially good for younger siblings of a young birder) and it preps them for future birding and conservation!

Here is a look at what is being planned for 2013!
February – Great Backyard Bird Count
May – Spring Migration Trip
May – Salamonie Bird Day
May – Young Birders Big Day Competition
May – Heron Rookery Trip
June – Goose Pond
June – Bio Blitz
August 24th – 1st IYBC Annual Conference!!!
November – IYBC Trip to OYBC Conference in Ohio
(check out last year’s conference!).

Some of the Indian Young Birders members attended the 2012 Ohio Young Birders Conference last year and I think we have a great shot at someday having a regional conference! We look forward to the first Indiana Young Birder Conference!

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Michigan Young Birders Club

January 22, 2013
Article in: Young Birders

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2013: Michigan Audubon proudly presents – the Michigan Young Birders Club!

Here is the information on the brand new club from the Michigan Audubon’s Website:

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As 2013 begins Michigan Audubon looks forward to something that has been in the planning stages for the past year, the launch of a Michigan Young Birders Club (MYBC). With the assistance of Sarah Toner and advice from the staff at Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO), MYBC joins 12 other state and five regional Young Birder Clubs in the country.

MYBC membership is for youth ages 12 – 18. An Advisory Board, who will decide on the schedule of programs and the division of tasks amongst the members, will be established at the first meeting, scheduled for January 19th at the Michigan Audubon headquarters.

Members will create their own online newsletter and administer the club’s social networking sites. Planning a conference with presentations given by members and other young birders will also be on their agenda in the near future. The Club will be overseen by Program Coordinator Wendy Tatar.

MYBC membership is $15 and $10 for additional members of the same family. Operation of the club won’t be possible without the help of adults. There will be a supporting adult membership ($20), which will receive the online newsletter. Funds generated by adult support will go to fund the club’s activities and hopefully build an account that can one day support scholarships for members to attend conferences and camps around the country. Adult mentors will be called on to lead birding trips and provide transportation to field trips and programs. A few adults will be seated on the Advisory Board for oversight.

We are currently in the process of creating the membership registration forms for this page. Check back before the end of the year to sign up.

Michigan Audubon
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Michigan already offers three junior Audubon clubs:
- Grand Rapids Junior Audubon Club
- Kalamazoo Junior Audubon
- Junior Birders of Northern Michigan

Contact Wendy Tatar at – wendyt@michiganaudubon.org for more information.

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