The birdwatching is in full swing at our house (I started this post in May, things have waned a bit but it's still pretty good).
Over the last few years we've been adding to the area outside our backdoor to create an inviting place for the local birds. They liked the area already because it offers shade, wild berries and lots of bushes and trees to hide in. But by adding a few more enticing elements we have really created a little backyard bird sanctuary right outside our living room window.
That's right, we have a home aviary. Doesn't everyone?
We've got a variety of hanging feeders for different kinds of seed and suet, including this great stand feeder that Stephen, Huck and my Dad built last summer.
Lazuli Buntings, Black-headed Grosbeaks & either an Evening Grosbeak or a Western Tanager underneath
And we made this birdbath with a log, a rock and a galvanized tray. So far the birds don't seem to interested in it, but I think it's lovely and try to keep it clean and fresh to eventually entice them.
And here's our indoor birdwatching perch on the back of the couch...
Binoculars are hard!
Huck is very into identifying the different birds this year. He's finally able to use the binoculars correctly so that really helps. We talk alot about the different sizes, shapes, beaks types and colors, and have our Audubon Field Guide to North American Birds handy to look up what we see. Those guides are wonderful as they are divided into bird types (perching birds, water birds, etc) and then by color as well. Besides the Western region guide linked above, they also have a version for Eastern Region Birds so be sure to get the one that's right for you.
He's been having so much fun doing this that I suggested we hang some poster board by the window and fill it with cut out pictures of every different kind of bird we see. He loved the idea. I was thinking we'd just print bird pictures from the internet but Huck immediately got a sheet of paper and asked me to DRAW the birds.
Huck: Then I'll color them!
A brilliant idea. Challenging, yes. But so much better than my concept. So, out came the Audubon Guide and out popped my tongue as I diligently drew the birds we had seen.
My drawing skills and Huck's coloring skills were really stretched to the max for this, but I have to say that I am totally impressed with both of our efforts on this very fun nature project.
Bird watching has been our activity of choice right before breakfast and right before dinner lately. So we'll keep adding to "Our Backyard Birds" as we see new species throughout the year. It's filling up so fast we may have to make a second poster for summer!
Even if you do just print pictures from the internet or magazines of the birds in your area, birdwatching and making a poster of your local birds is just a really fun way to get your child interested in the natural world.
For more information on activities to do along these lines check out the Great Backyard Bird Count. The next official count isn't until February 2011 but the site is brimming with cool stuff--check lists of birds in your area to "collect", feeding tips, backyard activities, quizzes, coloring pages and more. I haven't even shown this to Huck yet, but we will definitely be participating and having a poke around their website!
For more cool projects like this one...
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