Children will stay more focused on bird-watching if they're given guiding questions to think about. Some questions that will help them learn more about birds through their own observations are:
- What colors are the birds that they see?
- How big are different birds (compared to each other, or to other objects nearby)?
- Where do they see the birds (bird feeder, ground, trees, electric wires)?
- What birds do they most commonly see? (They don't need to know the names yet, but they can answer with descriptive terms.)
- What birds do they see just once in a while?
- What kind of behavior do they see in the birds?
- How do the birds interact with each other?
- What kinds of songs and sounds to the birds make?
Older kids can keep a log of their observations, including their answers to these questions. Younger children can make simple drawings of what they see, or have you help them record their observations. Very young kids can be asked simple questions, such as "Where is the red bird?", "Which is the biggest bird?", "What do you think that bird is doing?".
Keep their birding sessions short. An easy way to kill chidren's enjoyment of nature, including bird-watching, is to insist they spend more time on it than they want to. For younger kids, keep it to a few minutes. Older children with longer attention spans might be easily engaged for longer.
Ha! I've never heard of twitchers before :-) I guess we met a "twitcher" yesterday afternoon -- he had come out to see if he could find a rare white-eyed vireo that apparently had been spotted in that area.
Thanks. In Britain we speak of twitchers, but serious birders object to being called twitchers, as twitchers are those who only rush out to see rarities, such as occasional visitors to our shores.
Hi frankbeswick, "birding" is often used here in the U.S. by those who are more serious, and "bird watching" is considered a more casual activity. (My mother always corrects me when I ask her if she's been doing any bird watching....) Others (like me) use the terms interchangeably.
Well, while my kids are old enough not to need this advice,[youngest 22] I have learned a new word. We Brits call birding bird watching, and I had not heard the term birding before. As I teach some English every new word is useful.
Thanks, ohcaroline! Yes, the coloring pages can be very useful for kids in learning more about backyard birds!
Bird feeders are such a neat way to get kids into birding. I like the coloring book ideas too.
Thanks, pkmcr. Kids can be enthusiastic birders!
Fantastic and a great way to get kids interested in the natural world around us.