We have the great pleasure of teaching three young children the wonders of nature, especially birds. Thus, we have decided to create a guide to help others understand some of the “tricks” to taking kids birding.
Here is an excerpt:
Start With Feeder Birds
Backyards and bird feeders are an excellent way to start a kid birding. They provide all the essentials: birds (of course!), an area to practice using bins, and the opportunity for long term study. Plus, as many great birders will tell you, it is important to get the â€œcommonâ€ birds down before seeking anything elusive or rare. Younger kids that havenâ€™t mastered the use of bins will enjoy watching birds visit the feeders with the naked eye.
Once the feeders have been thoroughly scrutinized it is time to go into the woods (or fields, prairies, wetlands, etc.). Try to go to a place where you know there will be birds. Even if the birds are common (or even the same ones as the feeders) this will give kids more practice using bins and also up the excitement of finding new birds.
Important: One of the best things about being out in nature is the sense of discovery. Kids are bombarded with order and structure in school and home and even in video games. There are rules and regulations in the games they play and everything is pre-planned. Birding breaks them free of this. Let the child explore. This includes beyond birds. If they want to flip over a rock, kick over a fallen tree limb, or try and catch a frog let them. Just like when a Brown-headed Cowbird is perched in plain view, donâ€™t overlook it and move on. Let the kid enjoy the sense of discovery.
Note: After you read our guide, please let us know what you think; what should be added or changed. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!!
Some input for this guide came from Naturalist D, son of Veery, and Naturalists S & A, daughters of SnowyOwl