Family Fun: Bird Identification
When I homeschooled my daughter, we had a number of field guides and bird identification audio CDs. It was such a fun thing to do. And there are so many ways that you can tie appreciating nature with learning. It won’t even seem like learning.
Kiddopedia has a YouTube video that’s very straightforward – a picture of the bird, its name is spoken, then their song. The sound quality is very good. I cat tested it. My cats came running and one of them wanted my phone. He just knew I was hiding a bird behind it (he’s now watching “Cat TV” – YouTube videos of birds by Paul Denning).
Learn at Home
When we were learning to identify birds by sound, we would play the CD while doing chores or eating lunch. It’s also a great rainy day activity. The Internet was in its infancy back then. You couldn’t just pull it up on your computer and definitely not on your phone. But we still learned them by sound at least. We had big charts of birds and, of course, the field guides. This video makes it so much easier to put it all together.
At least in my area, we have rain in the forecast for most of the next week. That gives people in my area the opportunity to watch the video repeatedly and learn some of the birds before the weather clears and you can go outside to do some birdwatching.
Then Take it Outside
Depending on where you live determines what kind of bird watching you can do during this Covid-19 “Safer at Home” program. In my area we can take walks as families as long as no one is in quarantine and you practice social distancing when out in public areas. In some areas public parks and nature centers are open and in others, they are not. In some very hard-hit areas, I’ve heard that people aren’t allowed to even leave their homes unless they are required to work. In that case, your birdwatching will need to be from your house windows for the moment until you’re able to get out again.
Cement it With Coordinated Learning
One of the ways that you remember what you’ve learned better is to use different learning modalities, or methods. As a former homeschooler, I always did this. Here are ways to cement the learning:
- Color the birds – Either in coloring books or download bird pictures
- Sketch the birds
- Take photographs of the birds and create a photo journal – older kids can use photo enhancing software or create a printable photo journal with journaling.
- Have younger children call or video chat with their grandparents telling them about what they learned. If they learn to imitate the sounds, all the better. These are good public speaking skills that can be learned at a young age in a non-threatening way.
- Buy field guides and make notations in the book of when and where you saw the birds
- Research what the birds in your back yard like to eat and buy the bird food your area birds eat (or the ones you like to attract – cardinals love safflower seeds).
- Build a bird feeder
- Install a birdbath
- Build a species-specific birdhouse and install where it is appropriate for the species.
While we are off and Doing Home Life due to the Coronavirus, we should make the most of our time together as families. If at all possible, getting fresh air, exercise, and doing something enjoyable with the family will build great family memories – and even build your immune system. And remember to laugh, too. Laughter also builds the immune system and is good for our mental health as well.
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