Thursday, February 23, 2012

Birding Fun

 Yesterday, I took the St. James preschoolers out to look for birds.  Armed with toilet paper binoculars and too much energy we set out.  Birds are fun to look for with preschoolers because they are all around us and they can fly.  The trouble with looking for birds with preschoolers is that birds can fly.   Since birds don't like loud noises and sudden movements, bird watching is challenging for kids and many adults.  As my brother put it, “you know you’re old when your entertainment is watching birds.”  But I believe that birding is great fun, and that once you start looking it is hard to stop.  Danielle, a friend from the Nature Center, once said that she never realized how many birds were there because she never really looked.  I think it is important to help kids and people like my brother give birding a chance.  

The preschoolers and I saw vultures, a dove, some sparrows, heard cardinals and mockingbirds.  I also set up a spotting scope on a hobby lobby cardinal for the kids to see.  We then sneaked up on the pretend bird on its tree perch.  This past Sunday, Jacob and I spent the whole day looking for birds.  We saw over 80 different species.  Our list included everyday birds like cardinals, and mockingbirds, to more unusual birds such as an osprey, and pelicans.  The variety of birds is one of the things that makes birding fun.  The challenge is remembering all the things that separate the different types of sparrows and gulls.  The excitement is being in the right place at the right time to see a Bald Eagle peak over its nest, a Pileated Woodpecker as it is flying away, or a heron spear a fish. 

Share your bird stories.

We have enjoyed seeing large
numbers of American Robins this winter
Green-wing teal, and American coot feeding on mud flats.

Northern Shovelers shoveling