Hiking with Kids - Bird Watching
We often encourage the kids to bring their bird watching "gear". Honestly, I know nothing about birds; they fly, their different colors and sizes, etc. I can name a few when I see them, but that's about it. The point is giving kids a task or an assignment to encourage to go outside with you.
Our bird watching gear:
A Bird Caller. We have the Audbon Bird Call, pictured below. I found it online for $7, here. There are plenty of different ones online, but this one works fine and the kids enjoy it. We only have one, and the kids have to share. I did not want both kids making bird noises at once, getting angry at each other, and so on. They will make a noise with it, wait, maybe make another, wait... eventually a bird will respond to their every call. Its pretty fun, they feel like they are having a conversation with the birds. It also gives us the opportunity to really listen and pay attention to the different chirps and trills.
Second piece of gear is an inexpensive binocular for the 8yo. He'll take a turn with the bird caller but he's too impatient to really try to make a realistic bird call with it. And he can't stop talking long enough to listen for the birds to respond. So, he is in charge of the pop-up binoculars. We found a pair at a thrift store. Cheap, plastic binoculars that an 8yo can basically lose, or break and you won't be upset. Of course they are nowhere to be found in the house currently... But, there are multiple inexpensive kids binoculars online.
I bought the hubby a pocket size monocular a few years back. He has the Brunton Echo 7x18 Pocket Scope. It's inexpensive, fits in the pocket and has enough of a scope on it to get the job done. It comes with a lanyard, a small case and is available in 4 colors; black, orange, green, and blue. The best price I found online is here for $15.
And the reference book, National Audubon Society Field Guide to Birds. This series of field guide books are awesome, we have one on tree's and fish too. Very handy. We generally reference the book at home, and the hubby has a great memory of birds we've seen. I have a terrible memory and if the hubby didn't come along, I'd bring a small notepad and a writing utensil.
Get those kids outside looking and listening for cool birds!
Please leave a comment on any tips or tricks you have for bird watching or calling.