Birding as a family doesn’t take much planning. It can be as simple as taking a few moments to pay attention to the birds in your backyard, the park, and other places you visit. Doing this will tap into your child’s curiosity about the world and their natural tendency to explore. Here are a few ideas to try.
Join a bird walk
Find a local birding group in your region. Many host various field trips throughout the year in natural areas to give people a chance to see new species. Bringing the whole family lets everyone learn cool facts about songbirds, raptors, and waterfowl in your area. (Of course, during the Q&A, you can often count on kids to ask the best questions!) Bring or borrow a pair of binoculars, and chat about what you all learned on the trip home.
Set up a learning station in your backyard
That is, set up a bird feeder along with a bath and pay attention to the birds that drop in to your backyard rest stop. Take the lead by watching for repeat visitors. When you see a bird you know, name it, talk about it. Visual aids, like a colorful poster of common feeder birds, can help everyone get better at seeing and naming new birds.
Follow the curiosity
The more you learn, the more questions everyone has about birds. Questions will inevitably come up. Do birds fly south for the winter? Where do birds go when it rains? Why do birds have different beak shapes? Where do they sleep at night? When questions arise, take advantage of that spark of curiosity by finding the answers.
Learn to listen
One of the best ways to discover birds is by listening for them. Their sounds travel far and wide. When you’re out together, talk about what sounds the bird is making. Where is it coming from? Is it up high in the tree? Is there one bird making the sound or is it a group? To help you remember the bird’s melody, come up with some lyrics. Not only is it a proven memory aid, it will make your outing a little more fun and light-hearted.
Go on a scavenger hunt
Make a list of birds you’d like to find. Thanks to the many birding apps available, you’ll have all the information you need in your pocket. Next time you head to the park, enjoy a nature hike, searching for birds together can add something special to your outing. By the way, birding is also a great vacation activity, especially if you’re traveling from home, so be sure to include a bird outing on the itinerary.
Most of the time, birding as a family will be accomplished in mini-sessions, lasting in one- to two-minute bursts. It’s worth the effort. Kids can often surprise and delight us with what they absorb and where it takes them in life.
Pick up a bag of Lyric Delite No Waste Mix. Filled with a wide variety of tasty, pre-hulled bites, the birds will love visiting your feeder, and you'll love enjoying them without the mess.