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Did you know birds are related to dinosaurs? And that birds can make sounds you can’t because they have two voice boxes? And that there is a kind of bird that migrates from the north pole to the south pole every year? Amazing facts like these are part of the reason why birdwatching is such a popular outdoor activity, and a great one to do with kids!
You can watch birds from the comfort of your backyard or make it a family excursion! You don’t need any special equipment to get started, just your eyes and some books from the library!
Birding for Kids
Here are five picture books to whet your beak for bird watching, and five more to help you get started bird watching!
Bird Picture Books
Birdsongs by Betsy Franko, illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Birds make all different sounds and can be identified by their “song.” Eleven different birds are mentioned in this book, learn about them and see if you can sing along!
Birds by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek
A simple story about the simple beauty of birds: sometimes birds blend into the background, and we can even forget they are there, but the author takes a few moments to ponder the birds and what they do in the world. What do you notice about birds the most?
Ten Birds: Read Aloud Rhymes to Bend and Break by Jürg Amann & Helga Gebert
What a mouthful! There is no making sense of these rhymes, so just have some fun and be silly birds. Can you identify the birds in the pictures?
A sweet story of a girl and her grandfather and what happens when she joins him birdwatching. Sometimes birdwatchers are the best storytellers.
Flight School by Lita Judge
A heartwarming story about birds helping out a fellow-feathered-friend who isn’t a flier.
Bird Guides for Children
Birds: Nature’s Magnificent Flying Machines by Caroline Arnold, illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne
A must-read learning to identify birds flying through the air! This book is chock-full of information about wings, flight terms, and birds that don’t fly.
Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate
There is so much to look at with this book, don’t forget to “Look up!” at how many birds you already have living in your backyard.
Crinkleroot’s 25 Birds Every Child Should Know by Jim Arnosky
Some of these birds your child will see in books and some in their very own yard! Either way, they can be familiar with 25 right off the bat.
The Young Birder’s Guide to Birds of North America by Bill Thompson III
This very helpful field guild is geared to the youngest birder and includes birding manners, what to look for basics, tons of pictures and what to listen for when out looking for your favorite birds.
Birding Activities for Kids:
- Bagel Bird Feeder – Vegetable shortening is a safe substitute for peanut butter in this activity!
- Watercolor bird ornaments
Birding Resources for Kids:
- Lake County Forest Preserves – Birdwatching
- Chicago Botanic Garden – Spring Song Bird Migration
- Visit Lake County – Birdwatching in Lake County
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