- Pets and Animals
Birdwatching with Kids: NJ Backyard Birds
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.
The Little Birds
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?
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!
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
- 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
- You could use a bleach bottle, but the clear 2 liter bottles or clear big juice bottles work better.
- 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.
- I recommend 1 hole on each side.
- 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!
- These home-made feeders are easy for the kids to fill up with just a simple scooper or paper cup.
- I recommend hanging it where you can reach it easily so the kids (or you) can fill it up easily.
- If you have chipmunks, the kids will love watching the chipmunks sitting completely INSIDE the bird feeder!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
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!)