One of our favorite nature study pastimes around here is bird watching. I remember when we first moved to the farm more than a decade ago, the first gift my beautiful husband gave me was a pair of binoculars. Our house has 6-foot windows at the back that face our woods. Birds are Everywhere out there all year.
Remember, I was born and raised in the city. And the city does not have this variety of birds. In fact, I’ve seen birds here at the farm that I never had really heard of before.
You know the Lit Mama. I bought some books.
The boys and I started learning about birds together, so it was only natural that we extended that learning to our homeschool.
If you want to include birding as part of your science or nature study, there are lots of ways to go about it.
Birding is a Great Addition to Nature Study
We like to watch the birds during winter. When it’s too frigid or icy to spend any quality time outdoors, we get in front of the windows with a pair of binoculars, our bird books, and our nature study journals. Our favorite part of winter birding is the Great Backyard Bird Count. We participate every year. If you haven’t taken part yet, check out this post from last February. It tells all about how to sign up and all the amazing resources that are offered by the GBBC, plus a free printable and directions to make a couple of simple bird feeders. Oh, and the next GBBC is February 17-20 2017. But don’t take my word for it, head to their website and check it out.
Project FeederWatch is another way your littles can contribute to the world of science. The interactive page for common feeder birds is divine. I am not making that up. We use it often when we are dumber than our books. (You know what I mean—we looked at the bird 70 times as we flipped through the book over and over but somehow missed it every. single. time.) And yeah, we almost always take part in this count, too.
National Geographic Backyard Birding Site has another great bird identifier. It also has up-to-date bird news, which always interests my boys. Plus, right now there’s a live cam on baby eagles. So how could you not learn from that?
Of course, you can’t make a list of birding websites and leave out the Audubon. This site. You guys. Seriously. Info about birds, about bird scientists (ornithologists), about plants that attract birds… Info about almost anything you want to know where birds are concerned. It’s probably the best site for learning about bird conservation.
But you don’t come here for a list of websites. You come here for books.
You know I have them.
Our favorites are pretty basic—they are the same ones I bought 9 years ago to go with my binoculars.
Birds of Indiana by Stan Tekiela Stan’s cool, though. He has one for your state, too. Yeah yeah. This one is our favorite because it is region-specific. You don’t have to thumb through thousands of birds that are only found on another continent or in another climate to find your bird. If you see him, he’s probably in the book. And easy to find. And that rocks.
Eastern Birds by Roger Tory Peterson This one is a little less specific to our area, but it is arranged completely differently from Birds of Indiana, so we still use it a lot. Honestly, we usually find the bird in both books to glean as much information as we can. Yeah, we’re those people.
Reader’s Digest Book of North American Birds The whole continent is covered in this one, and believe it or not, we use it quite a bit. It’s not just great for getting more facts about birds we’ve already found in other books, it’s great for just learning about birds we don’t see around here. So it’s cool.
Y’all. I ain’t lyin’ when I say I like the birds. You can look back over my Story Times for the past year and see that for yourself. Well, here, let me help you out. Here are the links to all my Story Times about bird books:
Story Time: ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving What? It’s all about turkeys. They’re birds.
If you want some just to read (because I haven’t gotten to them yet but can only assume I will one day):
The Owl Who Became the Moon by Jonathon London Um. This is one of my all time favorite lullabye books. Why haven’t I Story Timed it yet? It feels like I must have, but apparently not.
Little Green by Keith Baker Hummingbirds. Yeah yeah
Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel You already know how much I love Lobel. Owl is no exception. I heart this book about Owl’s life and home. Your littles will, too.
Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing the Birds by Jim Arnosky It’s Arnosky. I don’t think I need to say more. dropping mic
What to Read Wednesday
The most popular post from last week was:
And now for the link up!
Our hosts will still share a themed selection of our favorite books each week.
If you’d like to join us as a co-host for What to Read Wednesday, please contact Anne.
This list has our book themes, but you don’t have to stick to that to link up–any family-friendly posts are welcome. So, come on! Join in the fun!
If you’d like to link back to What to Read Wednesday, here is a pretty button for you!
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