One of the simplest and most rewarding ways to learn about animals in the winter is bird-watching. It can be done indoors or out, and is a great activity to engage little ones. For this reason, our week is going to focus on birds – feathers, crafting bird-seed feeders, painting tiny bird house ornaments, visiting a local animal shelter…
Here you’ll find info about our two favourite bird books, as well as a printable bird-watching checklist that would make a great addition to your advent calendar, or a fun thing to share with your children any time of the year.
What do you need to start out?
A few years ago we purchased two basic bird identification books, and started a little basket with the books and a set of nice binoculars (which were very affordable at under ten dollars). The binoculars come with us on nature walks and have taken quite a beating over the past four years or so! Well worth the small investment.
Strangely, both books are titled Backyard Birds. One is the Peterson Field Guides For Young Naturalists: Backyard Birds, and the other is Backyard Birds: An Introduction. The first is a fantastic resource with colour coded sections according to the main colour of the bird. It is easy for kids to navigate and has a digestible amount of information for beginners. The second one we love for its beautiful paintings of birds by Robert Bateman.
Either (or both) of these books would make a lovely advent or Christmas gift.
I created a mini ‘life list’ for the kids back when we first created our bird basket, and the kids check off birds they spot and identify using our books. It turned out to be a really fun pastime for the whole family.
Recently, I updated our bird-watching checklist to share with all of you, and I truly hope you and your little ones will enjoy it as much as we do. There are two versions available – one is designed to work in partnership with the Peterson guide and the other can be used on its own or with another book. Print if off and keep it in your own birding basket, or in your backpack to go along on nature walks. You can download it here.