It’s Bird Week! I don’t really need an excuse to take my kids birdwatching because it’s my favourite weekend activity – but I realise it’s not a usual outing for most families. If you like the idea of birding but don’t really know how to tackle it with kids, here are some tips to help you out.
- Go at the right time. Birds are most active at sunrise and dusk. If your kids are early risers, make the most of it by heading out first thing. There are birds around at any time of day, but they are often less active during the middle of the day which can make it harder to see them.
- Pick the right place. Birds can be found everywhere – from backyard to beach to bush. However, if you pick your place carefully you will increase your chance of seeing a wider variety of species. I recommend finding a quiet, bushy spot near running water.
- Take the right gear. My kids love packing their own backpack. They take their own binoculars and/or camera, their hat, water bottle, and a snack. I usually also take an Australian bird identification book. (If you prefer something lighter, try a bird app. The Morcombe – Stewart eGuide is about the same price as the book but weighs a lot less! There is also a free lite version.)
- Wear the right clothing. Make sure your kids have sensible shoes and clothing for spending time outdoors. It’s a good idea to pre-apply insect repellant too, especially around ankles. Don’t forget hat and sunscreen.
- Wait for the right weather. The birds won’t mind if the weather is miserable, but the kids will! Birding in the rain is only for hardcore bird nerds.
Follow up activities for kids:
- Draw a picture of a bird you saw
- Count how many birds you saw
- Count how many species you saw
- Print out a picture of a bird you photographed
- Identify a bird you saw using the Birds in Backyards Bird Finder or a bird book
- Research a bird you saw and find out some interesting facts
Have you ever been bird watching with your kids? Any other tips to share?