Birdwatching Tips and Tricks for Children
This January here at Connect we will be taking part in the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch, and we want to encourage you and your children to join in the fun.
Birdwatching can be a valuable activity for children to start learning about the world around them. Birds are everywhere in the UK, and each day you’ll likely hear the gentle hum of birdsong as you go about your business.
Birds are important for the ecosystem in many ways; from controlling the insect population to helping seeds germinate, and understanding the different bird species around us is a great thing for children.
Today we want to discuss some simple tips and tricks for birdwatching that will help to maximise how many of them your child can see out in your garden or local park. From using food as bait to knowing where birds hang out, we’ve got some easy tips to help you and your children spot as many birds as possible while out and about.
When dealing with any form of nature, it is important to stay calm so as to not scare away the animals. Of course, we know children can be very excitable, which is why making it a game to be sneaky around the birds might be a great way to ensure they don’t run gung-ho after them. By walking calmly at a distance from birds, they are less likely to be spooked and you’ll be able to identify the bird and describe its characteristics to the children.
As we mentioned above, staying calm and being non-threatening is the best way to see birds out in the wild. Whether you are out in a park or sat in your garden, staying fairly quiet is the best way to see birds.
Listen for distinctive sounds
Every bird has its own unique call, and when you sit outside for a little while there will be some calls that start to become recognisable. Great Tits have a distinctive sound which sounds like a seesaw. Imagine saying the word seesaw, or riding on a squeaky one.
Woodpigeons have a very loud call that goes a little like this:
And finally, the smallest bird with the loudest call of all. The wren is a tiny creature, but it has an incredibly loud and unique call that goes something like this.
Once you stop and listen, you’ll start to be able to pick out different sounds and this is a great exercise for child development.
Use food to entice birds
The way to a bird’s, and in fact anyone’s heart is through their stomachs, and that’s why putting out some seeds or a fat block will always do the trick. If you have a bird table or feeder, this is a great opportunity for children to get an up close and personal view of the different species of bird in their area.
Look up high…
When out looking for birs, the most obvious place to look is in the trees. A lot of birds will hang out in trees when resting, and this is where you’ll have the chance to see species such as Robins, various types of Tit, and also Thrushes. There will always be a few birds up flying in the sky too!
And on the ground
Some birds such as Blackbirds, Magpies, and Sparrows are more likely to be walking around on the ground or in bushes and thickets. Most of the time when you see Magpies they will simply be walking around in small groups on the grass.
Check thick shrubbery
House Sparrows and Dunnocks both love to travel in big groups and they will often be found in thickets and bushes. By walking alongside a hedgerow or in the bushes, you will start to hear chattering as well as see some movement – on closer inspection you will see these little birds jumping between branches.
The best tip we have when out with children birdwatching is to take photos! This will allow your children to take a closer look at the species they saw when you get back home or into the classroom, and this can be a great time to teach children how to differentiate between species based on size, shape, and colour. You can take photos and share them on iConnect linking to the relevant parts of the EYFS, and with ParentZone, parents can do the same, recording a child’s development in this area.
We hope you join us in the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch this weekend, you can check out our social media to see how we do!