Thursday, February 14, 2013

I Love Birding {And 5 Tips For Beginners}

If you would have asked me six months ago how many bird species nested in my backyard, I probably could have named four. And one would have been a crow, because you can never go wrong by answering, a crow, right? Oh, and robins. 

But in a few short months we (me mostly, and Arielle second) have become batty for birding. Our eyes have beheld the beauty around us as if for the first time. It is a joy to share this with my children and I want to share an opportunity with all of you sweet readers.

Your eyes are needed this weekend for the The Great Backyard Bird Count

With tens of billions of birds nesting around the US, the expert birders need our help with counting. Here are my five tips for a successful weekend of birding for beginners.


1) Borrow books and bird CD's from your local library. Choose books that include color photos and descriptions of common birds in your area, those books are generally smaller and less intimidating. 

There's hundreds, if not thousands, of bird books, each with a different feel. It is best to borrow the beauty first from the library and decide what fits you before you buy, especially if you aren't sure you'll continue after this weekend. This and this are our all time favorites.


2) Put up a feeder (or make your own bird treats) near a window that's convenient for you and safe for your feathered friends. Many of my photos in the collage above were taken through our living room window.  


3) Size, shape, shade. Birds are flighty. Most won't want to pose, and unlike children, they can't be bribed. By the time you find the camera, or binoculars, or bird guide, the Rufus sided towhee will be long gone. I know this from painful experience. Just study the bird with your eyes instead. Focus on the color of the head, back and breast. Note any special markings near the eyes, wings, or head. Size helps identify as well. Then look it up in your bird guide.


4) Involve your children. They may complain at first, but if you let them choose what role they will play: Avian Archivist (data recorder), Fowl Photojournalist, Binocular Flock Spotter, Chick Checker, you get the idea. Make it fun. You'll be shocked at how much they'll learn in one weekend.


5) Watch a few bird movies. I can highly recommend this and this.  

All this bird talk has me thinking...

Books Are Binoculars For Your Brain.
                           ~ The Great Read

If you participate, I'd love to hear what you discovered in your backyard. 
Have a great weekend.

xoxo Michele
Why buy happiness when your library shares it. Free music downloads through Freegal E-books, audio-books, and digital downloads are at your local library, just visit here or your local library website for complete information.