When we get several rainy days in a row I often notice it doesn’t make the birds quit singing and dining at the feeders. They go to and fro just as they do when the sun shines. Watching them and also the playful chipmunks and squirrels are very entertaining, especially since they can’t get on our feeders. They get plenty of seeds that scattered under the feeders, bits of bread and other goodies that I put out, if they get them before Mr. Crow comes.
Recently I sat on the back porch enjoying the menagerie dining and playing in the yard, I reminisced about the yesteryears that I shared the same joy with our young children and later with our grandchildren. It was amazing to see how quickly they learned to identify the bird species and rodents and the fun we had in watching them. There are also life lessons that can be learned as one observes birds, rodents and other things in our outdoor world. I found it was something I could share with young children and older ones, in winter from inside and in summer outside and inside. Many of those same youngsters have carried that same enthusiasm into adulthood and they have joined hundreds of other backyard bird watchers.
Some people think that bird watching is mostly for “old folks” and those that go traipsing all over to find new birds to add to their list but that’s not true. One can be just a backyard bird watcher and it is for all ages including little children.
That fact was recently emphasized in the July-August Bird Watcher’s Digest. The article, “Getting Toddlers Involved in Birding” written by Chuck Jakubchak, states one is never too young to love birds. He says “most toddlers are quickly exposed to television, toys and many electronic innovations.” He wanted his granddaughter to have the opportunity to appreciate birds too. He also wanted “to plant a seed in her heart at a young age so that it might sprout when she is making personal decisions later in life.”
Jakubchak shares even toddlers enjoy such activities as visiting a raptor rehabilitation center. It can be productive as they view live birds, injured birds and even stuffed ones. He gives other examples of things that little ones enjoy and learn from.
If you want to learn more examples about sharing backyard birding with children of all ages get a copy of the recent Bird Watcher’s Digest publication at a local library, news stand or purchase a subscription by calling 800-879-2473, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or Bird Watcher’s Digest, P.O. Box 110, Marietta, OH 45750.
Photos by Elaine G. Cole
Elaine G. Cole’s grandchildren, Asyssa (top) and Josh Cole, learned about birds at an early age when they came to her house. One of the special times they had was seeing some new baby robins. The babies parent’s had built their nest in Bill’s hydrologic lift at his sawmill which was located just south of her home and yard.