Birdwatching is something you would typically think of as an adult activity, but not so. In fact, it was my toddler son who first piqued my interest in birds. One of his first phrases was “Lookittabirds, lookittabirds!” He was especially fascinated in the fall and winter when large flocks keep together and take off when spooked.
As the years have gone on and he’s matured, so has the hobby. We’ve found out that birders usually keep a life list and add to it when they spot a new species, so that was a must. He spends time on The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website listening to calls, and checks out books from the library about the world’s most bizarre birds (and believe me, they’re weirder than you think). When we travel to other places, he looks around for birds we don’t see at home. On a trip to Colorado earlier this year, we had the pleasure of seeing several bird strangers. He was able to use the birding app on his ipod to call them in close, and as they perched nearby and danced around, they held a kind of little “conversation” with him.
One tool he really enjoys is the monocular he got for his birthday this year. It’s handy to and light to tote around. A bird book from the library is equally helpful (although a good birding app will serve the same purpose). Still, you don’t have to have any fancy schmancy things to enjoy birdwatching. Just a few minutes, and some patience will do. See if your kids will get hooked, too.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find out if I have the proper spelling of schmancy 🙂