How To Get Kids Interested In Birdwatching

Tips For Getting Your Child Interested In Birding

Are you looking for an easy way to get your child out into nature? Fostering interest in birds is a dynamic way to get kids outside.

Birds are found on every continent in the world. This means birdwatching can be done anywhere!

Below are some tips for introducing the world of birding to your child so that it is fun and not intimidating.

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1)Start Birdwatching In Your Backyard

What better way to introduce birds to your child than to look outside their bedroom window.

Pointing out your own yard’s frequent bird visitors will spark your child’s curiosity. They’ll want to know what kind of bird it is and what the birds are doing while they’re in your yard.

For a low effort introduction to birdwatching at home, I like to set up an indoor birding nook.

Let Your Kids Indoor Bird Watch

Setting up an indoor bird watching station will keep your kids occupied so you can do other things around the house.

This is also a great option during cold weather. Birds will still be around during the winter but you can be snuggled up warmly inside.

young bow sitting on windowsill looking outside at trees for birds

1. Find The Best Window To See Birds

An indoor birding station will be near a window pointed towards an outside area infrequently trafficked by people or pets.

A front or backyard with trees, a garden with tall grasses and bushes, birdhouses, or birdfeeders is a surefire birding spot.

To bring birds even closer, place a window-mounted bird feeder nearby.

2. Make Sure Birdwatching Supplies Are Nearby

Having all of the proper birdwatching supplies at your child’s birdwatching nook will help keep their interest longer. They won’t get up to go searching for items.

Starting out, all you’ll need is a bird guide so that your child can identify the birds they are seeing.

As they gain more interest in birdwatching, getting a pair of kid-friendly binoculars will allow them to see the smaller details of the birds.

Incorporate additional games into your birdwatching time. Have your child keep a tally of each species of bird they see. If your child prefers to draw, they can make a sketch of today’s birds in a notebook.

3. Wait Patiently For Birds To Show Up

Patience is a lesson learned quickly in birdwatching. If you recently added nestboxes, hummingbird feeders or birdseed to your yard, it will take some time for birds to find them.

Once they do though, they’ll continue to return day after day. As your child watches, they may pick up on the patterns and the best times of day to watch for your local birds.

blue jays in backyard eating peanuts from a bird feeder tray

2) Let Your Child Make Some Of The Decisions

No one likes to be told to do something or be put out of our comfort zones with something new.

Dictating to your child that they must sit silently and look for birds will surely get pushback. This may even cause your child to give up on birding before they even started.

Instead of making the unfamiliar activity negative, allow your child to be involved in the decisions surrounding it.

Let THEM pick out a pair of kid-friendly binoculars, a local bird guide, and more. By allowing them to have some ownership over the decisions around the activity, they are much more likely to buy-in.

3) Turn Regular Outings Into Bird Outings

If indoor birding isn’t cutting it and you’re ready to start venturing outside, the easiest option is to go to your regular hiking spots.

Go on the same walks outside you would normally but, this time, take the time to stop and look around you. You’ll probably find birds on your walks that you never noticed before.

Even a walk around a busy city will have birds. Granted, the variety of species may be more limited than in the woods, but you can point out the variations in color and differences in plumage in a species.

Sticking local cuts down on your stress for finding special outings to attend. It also allows your kids to self reflect and see the area they’re familiar with through a different lens, quite literally.

girl in white dress birdwatching with binoculars outside in a field

4) Start Integrating More Nature

As your child increases their interest in birds and is a little older, start incorporating more nature hikes. Hikes through the woods will have more bird species than the typical species adapted for busier human environments.

This is a great opportunity to focus on identifying birds though their calls since noise pollution will be reduced.

Look up your local nature center to see if they have any bird-related children’s programs. Often, these centers have rehabilitated birds to learn about or a collection of feathers your child can touch.

5) Join Local Birding Groups

Most cities have a local group of people who love to bird. You can find them through social media, homeschooling groups, and even your city’s Parks & Recreation department.

Here is a list of already established groups for young birders. If you aren’t having any luck finding an already established group, why not start your own?

Meeting up once a month with a friend’s group is a way for your child to be out in nature instead of inside playing video games.

6) Make Birdwatching Fun

With younger kids, games and entertainment are important in order to keep their interest. If you hear a bird call, ask them if they can mimic it.

Yes, talking and making noise is going to scare away most of the birds but that’s not the point. Instilling a love of birds and having fun searching for them is most important for younger children.

Let your child take pictures as you go on your hikes. When they get back home, they can put them into scrapbooks chronicling their birding adventures.

7) Start A Birding Life List For Your Child

A birder’s life list is the list of every species of bird they have seen and identified with certainty. Having your child start one is a way for them to keep track of the bird species they’ve seen.

Life lists are often only kept by “serious birders” but starting one with your child can encourage them. It may not be evident how many species of birds are in your backyard or local neighborhood until you see them all written down.

Birdwatching Is Great At Any Age

When people initially think of birdwatching, often an older generation is pictured in their minds. Don’t let this limiting thought keep you and your family from the fun and exciting world of birdwatching.

Fostering interest in birds is a dynamic way to get kids out into nature. Birdwatching is an activity that can be done almost anywhere so it travels well.

If your child is resistant to trying new activities, taking it slow and making it fun are the best options.

I hope these tips for getting your kid interested in birdwatching have inspired you. Let me know if you’ve used any of them in the comments below.

Rose Churchill headshot with cockatiel on her shoulder
Rose Churchill

Avian Biologist & Bird Nerd

Head bird nerd at Spark Lark, Rose has been birdwatching for over 15 years. After working with rehabilitated wild birds as an avian biologist, she found a love of birds that has continued on. Now, she is raising her son to be an outdoor nature-loving child. Here, she shares her knowledge of attracting birds to your yard and tips for getting kids obsessed with birds.

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Invite Curiosity And Learning In Your Child With Birdwatching

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