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Raising a Birding Enthusiast

Nature is a fascinating thing for young children - how do trees grow so big or why is the sky blue. Birds can be especially interesting to children because of their ability to fly! This stage of life is a great time to encourage this interest in birds and to make a life-long bird feeding and bird watching partner.

Once a child’s curiosity has been peaked - maybe she has spotted a bird flying overhead or some birds feeding while playing in the park - try to add a simple tube feeder in your backyard. Or even better, attach a window feeder for a Young Birdwatcherreally close-up look at the birds. But be aware that some birds may be skittish if the sense someone is watching them too close.

A hummingbird feeder and nectar will bring out the excitement of seeing a bird which can flap its wings 50 times per second. Talk about impressive! Another way to attract birds to your yard for your child to enjoy is to install a birdbath. Children will get a lot of entertainment out of watching the birds flap and splash about.

Once the birds arrive to your backyard, and they will come, let the learning opportunities begin. Fill your feeders with different seed types and learn which species of birds are attracted to which seeds. Watch for cardinals, chickadees or blue jays when you serve sunflower seed and finches when you serve thistle seed. An Upside Down feeder will bring out the goldfinches, who hang upside down on the feeder perches to eat, and a lesson about how all birds eat differently.

Since today’s children are becoming computer-savvy at younger and younger ages, take then onto the Internet to find answers to even more of their bird questions. There are limitless possibilities for web sites that will help your child identify the new bird at your feeder, or match the “song” of the birds you both heard earlier that morning. Plus it can be a learning tool for you as well, as you look up the answers to questions that only a child could think of….. Why do birds have feathers and not fur? Why are Robin’s eggs blue?

As your child grows older you can continue to use bird feeding to teach lessons on conservation, ecology and habitat preservation. And continue to share this fun hobby together.


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