Sunday, March 29, 2015

Backyard Birding

This beautiful American Goldfinch was at my mom's feeder.
This is the perfect time of year for you and your child to watch birds in your backyard with spring migration beginning!   Attracting birds to your yard is a  way for your child to see what is in his/her habitat and it is a great way for these kindergarten birders to put all of that bird knowledge to use.  Backyard birding is fairly inexpensive and its an educational activity that triggers discussion and research for the child and family.  Here are some pointers:

  • Put the bird feeder in the yard where you can view it from a window.
  • It sometimes takes a week or so for the birds to find your feeder.
  • Remember to keep the feeders full and clean.
  • Adding a bird bath will attract even more birds, especially during this very dry year.
  • Have a camera ready to take a photo of the different birds.
  • Your child could get a notebook or journal to place the photo in.  Then they could write the birds name and the first time that they saw it and anything else they'd like. They could share their bird journal with family and friends. Its a great way to work on writing skills during the summer.
  • Cut up pieces of yarn - 7" long or so. Have your child hang the yarn on the bushes or trees.  Then watch the birds carry it off as nesting material.  During the spring you will notice nests in the area with the yarn intertwined in the nest.
  • Make a bird blind by building a stick fort or putting out a toy tent for your child to spy on the birds.
  • Keep a yard list.  Birders often keep a list of all of the birds that they see or hear in or near their yard - including fly-overs.  I keep my list taped to the inside of my cupboard door and I add to it as I go.  This yard list is kind of fun to view.  
  • Your child will probably be able to identify most of the birds, but if they are unsure you could look up birds at "All About Birds".

Visit our local business, "Fairway Seeds" and they could help you get set up with the kind of bird feeder and seed that you would like.  There are finch feeders that you fill with Nyjer thistle seeds.  These feeders will attract American Goldfinches.  Many other birds don't have the correct bill for eating out of these feeders.

Black oil sunflower seeds work in most other feeders.  There are other seeds you could use too.
Seed that falls to the ground will not go to waste.  Some birds do their feeding off of the ground.

You may feel frustrated with squirrels or Common Grackles that come and seem to eat too much, but the squirrels are entertaining and they are just doing what squirrels do.  The Common Grackles are only here in large groups for a short time and then most of them will move on.

Watching bird behavior is both entertaining and relaxing.  I hope that you will consider attracting birds to your yard.  I'm sure your child would love it!

1 comment:

  1. Great suggestions, Mrs. Preheim! May your feeders always be full!!