Bird Watching With Kids

A hobby we have enjoyed for many years is watching the birds around our house. Our kids and grandkids have also enjoyed watching the birds that come to our bird feeders. We have fun trying to figure out what each bird is. There are many books available that can help with that and now there are even apps for that purpose. Look for books and apps for your area of the world.

You don’t have to be fancy to put out birdseed to feed the birds. We have used regular bird feeders before but now the tree that we used to hang them from is no longer there. So we have improvised and we still have lots of birds showing up! As you’ll see in the pictures, we are using an old piece of Tupperware that we were going to throw away. Lol We hope to make a better setup, but this is good for now.

What do you feed birds? Here are a couple of charts that can help you decide, but if you want to just buy one type of bird seed I would recommend the Black Oil Sunflower seeds. Many kinds birds will eat those. You will notice a half of an orange in the pictures and that is there to attract the Baltimore Orioles.

Different places in the U.S. will have different birds that live there. And you might have some birds only in the summer and others in the winter and some that live by you year-round. We are in northern Ohio. I’d like to share some pictures of some of the birds that have visited us this year. 🙂 The pictures aren’t spectacular because they were taken with my iPhone through a window, but it will give you an idea of what some birds look like.

#1.) House Finch. This is a male house finch and a female house finch. The male is a brighter red color while the female is more brown. They live in Ohio year-round.

#2.) Dark-eyed Junco. They are a dark gray on top and have white underneath. Juncos live here during the Winter and then migrate to Canada for the summer months.

#3.) White-crowned Sparrow. Notice the black and white stripes on the top of its head. These spend the winter in Ohio but then in the Spring they migrate on up to Canada where they spend the summer. The last day for us to see them here this year was May 17th.

#4.) Northern Cardinal. This beautiful bird is the state bird for Ohio and Indiana and maybe other states too. The first picture with the bright red bird is a male Northern Cardinal. The second picture is of a female that is also beautiful but in a different way. The females beak can be bright orange. Northern Cardinals live in Ohio year-round.

#5.) Black-capped Chickadee or a Carolina Chickadee. It’s very hard to tell the difference between the two kinds of Chickadees so by looking at the map of where each type lives, we can guess that it’s more likely for us to have a Carolina Chickadee here. They are a small quick bird and they don’t seem to stay at the feeder for very long at a time.

#6.) You’re right, that’s not a bird! Haha! But he does come to our bird feeder quite often. We jokingly call him an Alvin-bird. (After Alvin the Chipmunk) Don’t be surprised if you have some unexpected visitors to your feeders! We also have had squirrels, raccoons and even a groundhog show up!

#7.) Common Grackle. I try not to be partial to certain birds, but these guys can be rather annoying. They are a big bird and they scare the other birds away from the feeder which of course seems rather unfriendly. But they are just birds and they get hungry too so I try to be nice to them. 😉 Their body is black and their heads seem to be “shiny” looking. (Iridescent)

#8.) American Goldfinch. I just love these little guys! The male is a brighter yellow than the female but they are so pretty that it cheers me up to see them. They like to come to a feeder with thistle seeds in it, but we don’t have one yet this year. I was happy to see them come to this feeder too. 🙂

#9.) Song Sparrow. There are several types of Sparrows and this one is called a Song Sparrow. Notice the stripes on its chest and belly. That’s one difference between them and some other Sparrows. They live in Ohio year-round.

#10.) Mourning Dove. This is a little larger bird and they make a cooing sound that sometimes is mistaken for an owl. They also live in Ohio year-round.

#11.) Eastern Towhee. Here is a favorite of mine. They are supposedly common around us but we actually don’t see very many of them. The map shows them to be in southern Ohio year-round, but in our area only during the summer.

#12.) House Sparrows. You can also see the Eastern Towhee here again, but look at the other 2 birds. The bird the farthest to the left is the male House Sparrow and the other one is a female. We have a LOT of these around! The male has black around its eyes, down its throat and a patch on its breast. They will sit in the feeder and chatter away at each other and I enjoy watching them.

#13.) Brown-headed Cowbird. This is a pair of Brown-headed Cowbirds. Again, the male is the darker colored one and the female is lighter. Notice the body of the male is black while his head is brown. These are in Ohio year-round. An interesting fact about them is that they will lay their eggs in another bird’s nest and their babies are raised by other birds. Sometimes the baby Cowbirds are bigger than the birds raising and feeding them!

#14.) Tufted Titmouse. They are another favorite of mine. They seem dainty and I like the little crest on their head, kind of like a Northern Cardinal. They are quick and don’t stay at the feeder too long, just like the Chickadees. They visit us year-round.

#15.) White-breasted Nuthatch. Sorry this is a bad picture, but these little guys are super fast and I’ve had trouble getting their picture. They are very fun to watch as they will walk down a tree head first! They are a blue-gray color with white on their breast and head and around their eyes. They are here year-round.

#16.) Red-breasted Nuthatch. This bird looks similar to the White-breasted Nuthatch but notice that it has a black stripe on the side on it head passing through its eye area. They are usually a little more pale orange on their breast than this one is. He is smaller than the White-breasted Nuthatch, but he will walk upside down on trees too and they both have long beaks. They winter in Ohio, but spend their summers in Canada.

#17.) Blue Jay. These are beautiful birds with their blue and white coloring, but they can be a bit loud and bossy to other birds. They have a dark line around their throat which makes them look like they are wearing a necklace. 🙂 They live in Ohio year-round.

#18.) Brown Thrasher. Here is another bird that I like to watch. They started out staying mostly out in the yard away from the house but gradually came closer and closer until now they come right up into the feeder. They are a large bird with rusty brown coloring and a long tail, long beak and stripes on their breast. They are in Ohio only in the summer.

We have other birds visiting us that I haven’t been able to get a good picture of and some of the birds here don’t come up to our feeder. We’ve seen American Robins, Northern Mockingbirds (big favorite!), European Starlings, Barn Swallows, Chimney Swifts (some of these live in our chimney each summer!), Red-winged Blackbirds, Baltimore Orioles (beautiful orange and black birds), Chipping Sparrows and probably more I’m not thinking of at the moment.

It’s amazing to me to watch a bird crack a seed open, break the shell off and eat the kernel by just using their mouth! We would use our hands, wouldn’t we? A very sweet thing that you might see especially in the Spring, is a male bird feeding a seed to his female mate. 🙂 It’s hard to get me stopped once I start talking about birds, but I’ll let this be all for this time! I hope you will try feeding the birds in your area and you will have a new hobby to enjoy with your kids! 🙂

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