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Birdwatching with Kids: NJ Backyard Birds

Updated on February 5, 2014

Birdwatching: New Jersey Backyard Birds (with Kids & for the Kid in all of Us)

One of the easiest ways to involve your children in nature is Backyard Bird watching with kids.  Here you'll find tips for teaching them about birds, and resources for you and your family to learn more & to have a new source of entertainment (that sure beats t.v.)!

I've listed below the major backyard birds of Northern New Jersey.  This way, you'll have an easy-to-find source of info for you & your kids.

[This photo was taken by fizgig777 and posted here on GardenWeb.com.]

The Little Birds

have been

hopping

around

our snow

on the deck.

Bears & Birdfeeders

Do you live in a woodsy area that has bears? If so, how do you manage your birdfeeding? For us, the bears are hibernating, so the birds can enjoy a little black sunflower seeds!

Do you live among bears (not including your DH) & what do you do to feed the birds with the bears?

See results

Kids love nature - how to teach kids everything with Bird Watching

Kids, especially ages 5 to 8, love nature. They love seeing it, discovering it, analyzing it, pondering it, touching it, dissecting it, holding it, nurturing it, mimicking it, and engaging with it.

Backyard bird watching is a perfect way for kids to experience and interact with nature. Let them learn about their surroundings. Let them create things for the birds to use and eat. Let them track their discoveries. Let them write stories about their experiences. Let them read and listen to captivating antics and songs. Let them sit, enraptured in stillness and wonder, by the coming and goings of their new=found feathered friends.

If you haven't noticed already, you just covered reading, writing, math, social studies, science, art, music, and spirituality.

Need I say more?

2 Kid-Friendly Bird Books you'll want to have

Don't waste your time or money with other books. Just get these. They work for kids and parents alike!

Backyard Bird-feeders

It's hard to see the birds in the backyard (even though they're there) if they can't stop by a rest a bit and snack!

How to Build a Simple Bird Feeder Video

Simple demonstration - a good basic starter, and for some good reasons, too! See below for some tips!

Tips for Making your Kid-friendly Backyard Bird Feeder

  1. Notice I didn't show a peanut butter pine cone feeder video? Because peanut butter pinecones usually make it through a few rains, but then get pretty disgusting
  2. You could use a bleach bottle, but the clear 2 liter bottles or clear big juice bottles work better.
  3. I don't recommend making all 4 holes like in the video because too much rain gets in and makes the seeds soggy & then moldy; plus the wind will spill too much out.
  4. I recommend 1 hole on each side.
  5. I also recommend doing something to give the birds a perch to sit. Either tape-over the jagged plastic bottom edge of the hole. Or, cut 2 small slits or side holes next to the big opening, and run 2 dowels through the holes on opposite sides of the bottle, to get the birds a perch. We did this latter idea, and it worked very well. We used a CLEAR large apple/grape juice bottle and it lasted for a long time!
  6. These home-made feeders are easy for the kids to fill up with just a simple scooper or paper cup.
  7. I recommend hanging it where you can reach it easily so the kids (or you) can fill it up easily.
  8. If you have chipmunks, the kids will love watching the chipmunks sitting completely INSIDE the bird feeder!
  9. Of course, squirrels come with the territory. Not much you can do there. Some commercial feeders do better keeping their pesky noses out. But the kids really treasure the ones they made more - plus, the kids actually enjoy yelling at the squirrels to "get away" from the birds' food!
  10. But so do racoons & bears. So, we take our bird feeders in at night. We didn't used to do this until . . . 1 racoon came the 1st night, then 2 the 2nd night, . . ., until the 4th night when 4 racoons were lounging on our 10' high deck. Our daughter still talks about the racoons who ran off with every last bit of every bird feeder we had. We bring them in now.
  11. Definitely have the kids paint and decorate the bird feeder. Let them go wild! Get a bag of stuff from the discount store, those bags with shapes of foam, sequins, pom poms, sparkly things, etc. Have them use poster paint & glue the stuff & string onto the bird feeder. You'll be the hit of the neighborhood!

This is THE Book to Use with Kids

Very informative for any adult, but especially easy for kids (ages 6 to 16) to read, use and quickly find birds in it!

Birds of New Jersey Field Guide
Birds of New Jersey Field Guide

The color coding and quick-read facts section makes this book especially handy and useful! This is the only bird watching book you'll probably ever need if you birdwatch in New Jersey and have kids.

 

(or if you just want to leave a note if you thought this lens was helpful or will help you backyard birdwatch with your kids!)

Tell us about your backyard birding experiences!

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    • Im Horse Crazy profile image

      Im Horse Crazy 5 years ago

      I still get excited everytime a hummingbird visits!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      i love birds, they are so cute

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 6 years ago from Ljubljana

      Amazing little creatures and great photos:) Thanks!

    • profile image

      laureenr 6 years ago

      We have different birds in South Africa too. I love the birds you have. Very beautiful.

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 6 years ago from Australia

      We don't have those birds here. Here in Australia we just had a willie wagtail nest in our garden this last Spring and we watched and photographed with delight all the happenings there!

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 6 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      We have a lot of the same birds. Except the eagles, we have to go for a drive to see those. We also get a lot of starlings and red-winged blackbirds (their habitat is diminishing so it's not surprising they have adapted to using feeders.

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      sheilamarie78 6 years ago

      Children love watching the birds. We start by imitating the birds and often break into a song of our own. Nice lens!

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      nicely presented lens. ~blessed~

    • JeanJohnson LM profile image

      JeanJohnson LM 6 years ago

      just wanted to say enjoyed reading your lense, great birds

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      it's a great way to get kids involved young

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image

      Missmerfaery444 6 years ago

      Wow, it's lovely to read about the kinds of birds people get in their gardens in other parts of the world! And having to worry about bears - all we worry about in England is the squirrels!! Lol. I do wish we had Cardinals here though, they are beautiful.

    • TheresaMarkham profile image
      Author

      TheresaMarkham 6 years ago

      @hayleylou lm: Hayleylou, Thank you for the SquidAngel blessing!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      Fabulous suggestion! I truly do believe taking nature hikes, feeding the birds and watching them eat is a wonderful way to teach children while also entertaining them. Most excellent!

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 6 years ago

      We have Parakeets in our backyard, beautiful. Blessed and will be featured in the lens, My Time as a Squid Angel :)

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 6 years ago

      Excellent and beautiful lens. Blessed by a Squid Angel and will be featured in the upcoming lens, My Time as a Squid Angel :)

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 7 years ago

      Hello, I'm in Northern NJ too, and have an abundance of birds. I added to your plexo a lens I did about bird feeding long ago, and another about box turtles, I love animals and we have so many here. As for bears, I bring my feeder in every night during the summer, but do feed the birds during the summer. Just 2 nights ago I forgot to bring it in and in the morning my husband watched a bear neatly tip the feeder so the seeds went into it's mouth and chomp away:-) ~claudia

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Hi,

      My name is Elizabeth Jean Allen and I am the new group leader for the Nature and the Outdoors Group.

      Welcome.

      Lizzy

    • CoolFoto profile image

      CoolFoto 8 years ago

      You are so good at bird identification please visit my What is the name of this bird? lens www.squidoo.com/identify-birds . Lensroll to that lens.

    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 9 years ago from Covington, LA

      Very nice lens and educational, too. It's never too early to introduce children to our beautiful native fauna and bird watching is a great place to start. Welcome to the Naturally Native Squids group (https://hubpages.com/community/groups-naturallynat ). Don't forget to add your lens link to the appropriate plexo and vote for it.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 9 years ago from Royalton

      Thank you for joining www.squidoo.com/groups/woods. I enjoyed reading your lens. Thank you for opening my eyes to new information and ideas.

      Please feel free to add as many lenses as relate to the theme and then add them to a plexo. If you don’t find a plexo that fits your lens just email me.

      Please feel free to grab any of these plexos to add them to your lenses.

      Don't forget to visit the other lenses in the group.

      You can add any of your lenses that are in the Isle of Squid to the last plexo. Please remember to visit the Isle of Squid lenses and review them.

      I believe that each of these connections will improve the ranks of all of our lenses.

      Evelyn

    • Tiddledeewinks LM profile image

      Tiddledeewinks LM 9 years ago

      We have woodpeckers, humming birds, goldfinch, chickadee, robins, cardinal, bats, mourning doves and more in our garden.

    • TheresaMarkham profile image
      Author

      TheresaMarkham 9 years ago

      Hi Vik! It's a Mourning Dove. Quite wonderful birds :) We had one in our front yard tree - sounded like an owl all day long. She didn't move a muscle from that nest the entire time she had the egg in the nest. Her "baby" got quite quite big - they both had to squish into the nest - before he flew away.

      All the Best, Tree

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      There is a bird in my back yard and she has just been hanging out in the nest while the male flies in and out on a daily basis. She is gray and quite plump and has a very narrow beak. They coo, almost like an owl sound; it is very gentle and like a purr. What type of bird is this?

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Thanks for the reply. I'm in Northern Morris county, near Sussex county. The bird had dark(black) back/wings. Our feeder is open and seems to attract a variety of birds. It only stayed a few minutes before leaving. Possibly a red headed wood pecker? Thnaks for the reply too. Will check out a photo of the grosbeak.

    • TheresaMarkham profile image
      Author

      TheresaMarkham 9 years ago

      Tom, My guess, is that if the head was black, and its back & wings were black with spots, and you're in NJ, then it was probably a

      MALE, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK

      Page 29 of the "Birds of NJ Field Guide" by Stan Tekiela (see above).

      They're about 8" long, migrate to Mexico & S.A., come to seed bird feeders, and spend the summer in Northern NJ, while being in Southern NJ during migration. The female looks quite different (and boring).

      My notes indicate that we've seen them here.

      Hope this helps, and wishing you,

      All the Best,

      Theresa

    • TheresaMarkham profile image
      Author

      TheresaMarkham 9 years ago

      Tom - I have a couple ideas, but first: What color was the rest of the bird? What kind of food (seeds or thistle or brick) do you have in the birdfeeder? Are you in NJ or another state? All the Best, Tree

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Today, 5/22/08 saw strange bird at feeder. Approx 8-10 " long, dark head with small whitish streaks on either side of head. Whitish chest with bright red which began wide near/under head and tapered to a narrower point mid chest. Any ideas?

      tomcassidy1966@yahoo.com

    • TheresaMarkham profile image
      Author

      TheresaMarkham 10 years ago

      Our backyard mourning doves seem to love taking over the back porch in the afternoons. About 5 to 10 arrive daily in the afternoon - after the morning songbirds have come and gone. After the mourning doves leave, then the Bluejays, Cardinals, Titmouses and Nuthatches take over.