Bird Watching for Kids
Bird watching is an activity that can foster a child’s love of learning and curiosity for the natural world. If your child has expressed interest in ornithology or if you’re looking for a new activity to get your children off screens and into nature, here is what you’ll need to start bird watching.
Any birding activity requires a good reference book, sometimes known as a field guide. These guides provide pictures and facts about the birds you observe. Using a bird book can feel like a scavenger hunt as you read about a type of bird and go bird watching to find it in its natural habitat.
There are a large number of great bird books out there, so find one that caters to the interests of your child. These days, you can even download birding apps such as iBird or the Audubon Bird Guide App that allow you to keep your birding book at your fingertips anywhere you go.
Birds are jumpy creatures that quickly take off if an innocent watcher gets too close. That is why bird watching requires some gear to allow observation from afar. Most bird watchers us binoculars, but the bird watching experts at Audubon suggest starting very little ones on a monocular which is a bit easier for little hands to handle. With a monocular, you can even put your smartphone’s camera over the lens to amplify the sight of a far-off bird.
A Good Location
Advanced bird watchers admit that waiting for a certain bird sighting can at times be tedious. To keep your child from getting bored on one of these more advanced searches, choose a location where you are guaranteed to get some good sightings. Choose a path or park by water where there are certain to be ducks and likely egrets or swans to observe.
You can also ask local bird watchers for favorite locations or use a resource like this map from Birdwatching Daily to locate birding hotspots in your area.