With the current quarantine for Covid-19 affecting Pennsylvania, many parents are looking for fun, educational activities for their children. One activity worth exploring is window birding. Due to the seasonal change, birds around the world are in the process of migrating. This is an activity that can be practiced by anyone in the family, but here are some suggestions for various ages:
Adults and Teens
Break out a notebook or some scrap paper, some markers or colored pencils, and sketch the birds you see from your window! You can also visit our Animal and Nature databases to learn more about the feathered friends you're seeing! The Student Search: General Encyclopedia includes multiple full science encyclopedias, including Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, which has two volumes (8 and 9) full of fascinating information about our feathered friends. The database also has a text to talk feature that is great for getting through some of the Latin names used to identify different species. You can also explore some great sites online, such as Audubon's Guide to North American Birds and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to learn more about the birds in our area. Both sites feature audio clips to further help you identify the species in your neighborhood that you can hear but may not be able to see.
Middle schoolers are a prime audience for making their own birding book. Dedicate a page to a bird and draw pictures, write facts, or make up riddles about the birds you're seeing. These young birders can explore the links above, but they may also want to check out Kids Infobits, a database that has bite-sized bits of information about a lot of topics, including some birds. Some commonly seen birds in Philadelphia include sparrows, ravens, and geese. This is a great place for trivia-minded kids to hang out and learn a thing or two while they're at home.
Younger middle schoolers can also benefit from RB Digital Magazines (formerly Zinio), a collection of free magazines, including a suite of Highlights magazines. These are great because the magazines are downloadable (and can be kept forever!), and you can print out individual pages or activities. Learn a little about science (including birding), do some activities, and read fiction and nonfiction articles.
You can get young children interested in birds while promoting other skills with this downloadable and printable bird booklet. Young children can improve their hand-eye coordination by practicing cutting out the circle pages and by coloring in the birds. They can practice their writing skills by copying the text and then test their counting ability by having them put the pages in order. Once that's done, staple the book together or use a hole punch and a piece of string or yarn to attach it. If you use yarn, make it extra long and let children practice their bow-tying skills. Once the booklet is created, turn it over and use the backs of the pages to start your child's first birding book!
What birds do you hope to see out your window this spring? Let us know in the comments below!