Oct 122010
 

Bird watching is one sport that can be shared and enjoyed by both parents and children. It is an activity that gets the family involved in the great outdoors. They will not only learn about birds but will experience and observe many other situations and events that happen in the wild.

Kids will look forward to nature trips like hiking and bird watching. Outdoor activities are a great way to get exercise at the same time you are experiencing nature. To keep the kids interested there are many other outdoor activities (ie. camping, picnicking, kite flying and star gazing) that can be combined with bird watching and hiking.

One of the best advantages of bird watching is that it doesn’t require buying bunches of equipment. All that’s needed is a good pair of eyes and a green area. As you become more involved in bird watching and hiking you may want to bring along and pair of bird watching binoculars and a field guide. Binoculars will give you an up-close view of birds and a field guide will help you to identify birds and animals.

Bird watching can be done at any time and in any season. Each season will offer something a little different.

You can set up a bird feeder in the backyard and kids will enjoy the variety of birds that will visit your bird feeder.

Spring is the time to observe the first flowers and the first birds of the season. Birds will be migrating back to their nests. It is also a time to enjoy the new foliage and pick berries. The whole family will have fun in the spring with all the activities that it brings.

Kids Go Bird Watching

Summer showcases many different animals that are most active at this time. Children can spot squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and other animals scurrying along the trail. Apple, pears, peaches and other fruiting trees will be ready to be picked. Gathering fruit to take home to make desserts will be a big hit with the whole family.

Autumn is when birds start migrating. You will see many species of birds congregating and leaving the area for their long journey to warmer climates. It is a time for exploring and collecting pine cones, acorns, seeds and other items before they are buried by the winter’s snow..

Winter, the coldest of all seasons, will have the children tracking animals and learning how animals survive through the long winter. A great sport to do when bird watching is snowshoeing. The children will like trudging through the snow in the cold.

Bird watching or birding will help children increase their knowledge in the field of animals and birds. There are thousands of species of birds worldwide. This is an activity that appeals to children and adults alike. Bird watching with the family will open up many new activities that can be shared by everyone.

Sep 032010
 

Birds are one of the most magnificent living things. They are probably among the best loved animals in the world. We are captivated by their colorful form, intelligent actions and cheeky mannerisms. In the United States there are about 550,000 members of the National Audubon Society of America. The U.K. has over 1,000,000 members. Members are dedicated to protecting birds and they do bird watching to monitor them.

There are about 10,000 living species of birds. 2,000 species have been seen in North America (from Panama north and including the Caribbean), 925 in the United States and Canada, 3200 in South America, 2,300 in Africa, 1,000 in Europe, 2,900 in Asia, 1,700 in Australia and 65 in Antarctica.

The contenders for the most common bird in the world are: the Red-billed Quelea, Red Junglefowl (domestic chicken) and the European House Sparrow.

It is difficult to say which bird is the rarest. A couple of examples are the the Sudanese Red Sea Cliff Swallow (Hirundo perdita) seen once in 1984 and the Orange-necked Partridge (Arborophila davidi) seen once in 1927. Other birds are known or believed to be extinct in the wild but still have representatives living in captivity. One is the Spix’s Macaw (Cyanopsitta spiscii) hunted to the brink of extinction to satisfy the foolish demands of the pet trade.

Unfortunately, there are about 115 species of birds that are known to be extinct. The reason for extinction is mainly human interference. There are efforts to make up for the mistakes done in the past.

California Condor

At one time there were only 4 wild Mauritius Kestrels. But, thanks to human effort, its numbers are back around 300. Another example is the California Condor, during 1987 there was only one male left in the wild and 27 condors were in captivity. As of August, 2010, there are 384 condors known to be living, including 188 in the wild (Wikipedia).

The largest bird can be measured in three possible ways-weight, height and length of wingspan. Unfortunately, all of the record holders for these three categories are already extinct. The heaviest bird was the Dromornis stirtoni from Australia. This flightless giant lived millions of years ago and probably stood nearly 10ft/3m tall and weighed in at a massive 1100lb/500kg. The tallest bird ever, as far as we know, was the Dinornus maximus, a Giant Moa from New Zealand. And the bird with the longest wingspan was the The Giant Teratorn Argentavis magnificens) which had a wingspan between 19.5ft/6M and 25ft/7.5m and was in the United States.

The largest living bird is the Ostrich. In Africa, the Kori Bustard, is the heaviest flying bird weighing in around 42 lb (19kg). Meanwhile, the smallest bird is the Bee Hummingbird from Cuba.

We learn so much from birds. Bird watching is more than just watching birds. It is observing and learning from them in nature.

Name This Bird

 Birds  Comments Off on Name This Bird
Aug 302010
 

Can you identify this bird? It was at my bird feeder for fifteen minutes this morning. It chased away any birds that came to the side where it was feeding.

Aug 262010
 

Bird watching (birdwatching), also known as birding, is the observation and study of birds with the naked eye or with the use of bird watching binoculars. Birding includes an auditory component, since birds can be easily and readily identified using the ear rather than the eye. Most people follow birdwatching as a hobby.

Birdwatching can be traced back to the Victorian Era, in Britain, when the study of birds and natural history became fashionable. Collectors would gather eggs, skins and feathers from different colonies. In the 1800s, there was a call to protect birds. This led to the observation and study of birds.

Meanwhile in the United States, as early as 1889, there was already a field guide written by Florence Bailey entitled “Birds Through an Opera Glass”. At that time the focus of bird watching in the United States was mainly in the eastern seaboard region.

Now there are not only local birdwatching guides but also global guides for identifying birds. The availability of air travel enables hobbyists and serious birdwatchers to travel to different places and observe wild birds in their natural habitat.

Birding includes taking precise notes of different details that distinguish one species from the others. Mastering the skills of identifying characteristics of birds will help you determine which birds you are observing. A serious birdwatcher may sit for hours, frequently crouched and hidden from view, in the hopes of spotting a rare or beautiful bird.

Birdwatching is the fastest growing outdoor activity in America. According to a survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 51.3 million Americans report that they watch birds. More are taking it up all the time.

So, why are more and more people taking an interest in this activity?

Historically, birds are considered bringers of omens. Ancient Romans believed that the flights and call of birds could foretell the future. Nowadays, modern science uses birds to help predict the future. By noting changes in bird populations it can reflect on the health of the environment.

Most people start birding for simple reasons, like having fun or creating a connection with the wonders of nature. Birding is beneficial for your health because birdwatching gets you outside and walking. Birdwatching is a relaxing sport. Your mind settles when you are out in nature and with birds. The senses open up, you may even find that you enjoy going out alone.

Birdwatching is a great family activity. It unites people across generations. By taking up this activity parents, grandparents and children can all be involved. Some people go birdwatching for social reasons. Nearly every community has a birding club.

There are local bird clubs or magazines devoted to birdwatching that can help you get started. A bird book or a field guide will help you learn more about identifying birds. A field guide provides information, pictures and descriptions of the birds. There are now applications for your smart phone that will help you to identify birds. Birdwatching basics are also available on DVDs or videos.

Now you are ready to go outside and enjoy the birds!