Apr 16th, 2020

Bird Watching for Kids

Spring is the perfect time of year to observe birds and make discoveries about where they live, what they eat, and how they travel. A good book to start off your exploration of bird watching with kids is Our Yard is Full of Birds by Anne Rockwell. What a great story to read outside while being able to enjoy some fresh air and observe birds in their natural habitat!

yellow bird on branch eats seed part of the wildscapes in winter

Bird watching is an activity the entire family can enjoy. [Photo credit: Tom Hennessy]

We spoke with Tarneshia Evans and she gave us some other great book suggestions for those interested in resources about bird watching for kids. Tarneshia is a Children’s Educator Program Developer at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and a bird-lover herself. She even provided this fun and simple Bird Hunt activity: bird-hunt-sheet (PDF).

Children’s Picture Books and Other Non-Fiction Books about Birds

  • You Nest Here With Me by Jane Yolen
  • Whose Nest? by Guy Troughton
  • The Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward
  • It’s Spring by Linda Glaser
  • Birds by Kevin Henkes
  • Birdsongs by Besty Franco and Steve Jenkins
  • Bird Watch by Christie Matheson
  • About Birds: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill
  • Outside My Window: Birds by Ernestine Giesecke
  • Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song

Exploration: Take a Walk in Your Backyard

Tarneshia says you don’t have to know a lot to start bird watching with your kids. In fact, it’s better if you don’t. This is an activity for families to explore and learn together. A good article to read is Birding with Kids, You Don’t Have to be an Expert by Jennifer L. Bristol. This resource and others are available at  www.findingnature.org

Getting started is as simple as taking a stroll. As you are walking, look for birds or signs of birds such as:

  • A nest up in the tree branch
  • Seeds that a bird will eat
  • Holes that a woodpecker made in a tree trunk
  • Birds of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Can you spot a cardinal, robin, or goldfinch?
  • Swimming birds, flying birds, birds running or pecking for food on the ground.

    Three children watching birds at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

    Kids can create simple bird watching binoculars by taping together two empty bath tissue rolls.

 Other Useful Resources for Bird Watching for Kids

Apps for Birding

Helpful Websites

  • Richmond Audubon Society: The Richmond Audubon society promotes the enjoyment, understanding, and preservation of birds, other wildlife, and habitat through education, advocacy, and fellowship.
  • Birds & Blooms Magazine: Birds & Blooms is the #1 bird and garden magazine in North America with more than 1 million subscribers. This magazine covers a wide range of topics such as attracting hummingbirds, building birdhouses, gardening for butterflies, feeding birds for less, growing veggies, tales of readers’ birding experiences, plus a whole lot more.
  • National Wildlife Federation: Want some great resources for turning your outdoor space into a spot that supports local wildlife? Use the tip sheets and videos from the National Wildlife Federation to guide you in creating a go-to garden for butterflies, birds, and other animals.

Child-Friendly Field Guides 

  • Birds of Virginia by Sean Tekiela
  • Songbirds by Jonathan Latimer and Karen Stray Notling
  • Virginia Birds A Folding Pocket Guide
  • Common Birds of Virginia ID Card Published by Audubon Society
  • Bird Guide of North America by Jonathan Alderfer; published by National Geographic Kid

We’re grateful to Tarneshia for pulling this information together for us. Happy Birding!

About Beth Monroe

Beth Monroe is public relations and marketing director at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. She feels honored to be part of a team connecting people and plants to improve our community.

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