I officially went birding for the first time with my 5 year-old daughter. I personally love birding (see my previous article on The Benefits of Birding for Permaculturists). I am not naive enough to think her interest isn’t, in part, because she wants to “be like her daddy”. But she has been expressing a growing interest in birds that seems to be more than just trying to mimic me, and I definitely want to foster this. At night, she reads through an old copy of my Sibley Guide to Birds before bed, so I do believe this is a real interest for her.
For Christmas this year, one of her gifts from me was a “Beginning Birder Set” I put together. It included a couple of birding books for kids and a kids pair of binoculars. She has been asking to go birding with me since Christmas, but due to my work schedule we had to put it off. Yesterday, while I was at work, she took her new binoculars and her backpack, filled it with snacks, a water bottle, and her new birding books, and went birding on her own around the house! Well, I was not working today, and so were finally able to go out together this morning. We only lasted about an hour with temperatures in the mid 30’s F, but we had a great time… more importantly, SHE had a good time!
She correctly ID’d a couple birds entirely on her own, and she was the first to spot quite a few birds as well. I had a blast watching her! One of my favorite parts was her asking, “When can we go birding again?!”
Here is a list of the birds we spotted. Not too bad for a first birding foray:
- American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
- Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
- Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
- Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)
- Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) – photo at the top of this page. (Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/content/dam/news/2016/10/17/northern-flicker-bird/01-northern-flicker.jpg)
- Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
- Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
- Red-Winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
- Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)
- White-Throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)