Sunday, May 27, 2007

Birding Isn't Just For Grown-Ups

Saturday, I went on a Mattabeseck Audubon field trip. There were a total of 10 birders including myself. We did quite a bit of birding by ear, as the birds are a bit harder to find in late May. The leader, Larry C. (wrote the spring at K-mart article), is the one looking through the spotting scope.

This was a nice change of pace from the last couple of field trips I went on, which had as many as 25 birders. This group included some beginning birders,which meant that we were able to bird at a slower pace . We weren't focused on species count today. There was a young girl-(pictured in the background) who came along. She made it through the trip with no complaints. I have a feeling she will be very interested in birding when she gets a little older.

Our best looks were of Yellow Warblers,Cedar Waxwings, Great-crested Flycatcher, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and an Orchard Oriole. We also had a nice but distant view of a large Great Blue Heron Rookery. There is an estimated 100+ nests on one island. We were able to get a distant view of a few dozen of the active nests through the trees.

I believe that this field trip is the last one I will have attended before fall migration. It was a nice way to end. Have you ever introduced a child to the wonders of nature? Should birding clubs do more to encourage participation of children ? Can you think of any ways we can help promote nature to children?


Ruth said...

When I was a child, my grandma paid the membership for my brother and I to belong to the Junior Field Naturalists of Ontario. We got a neat magazine and attended interesting meetings in Toronto. It really did influence our interest in nature. I wanted to get my young cousin a membership, but it seems that the group no longer is operational.
Ruth said...

Yes! And Yes! Veery's son, who we call the Little Kingfisher, is 9 and is the youngest member of our local birding club. He loves birds because he is around many nature lovers. Kids are interested in everything when they are little and we need to promote birds and nature the them at every opportunity! I am glad that there was a young person on the walk. I think between five and ten is a perfect field trip number for birding.

Larry said...

Ruth-That was a great gift your grandma gave you-That gives me a gift idea for my niece.
Little kingfisher-great nickname-and I agree.

Mary said...

Children will be interested in birds and nature if adults make an effort to introduce it to them. The Raptor Center nearby has recently (the the past five years) offered free memberships to children under 12 and they also welcome bus loads of elementary school children to visit regularly. I can only assume they have active children's clubs.

Love that rookery! Glad you had a smaller group this time. Less chatter?

Cathy said...

Larry - it went too fast didn't it. The big Spring migrations winds down.

I think it is at the very heart of nature preservation to bring our young people into contact with the offerings of the natural world.

How can we ask them to protect it if they've never experienced the beauty and mystery. So, yes - I spent many happy hours introducing my son to the world that I loved. He knows his warbler songs better than I. Our nighttime star forays led to a career in astronomy.

Anonymous said...

In this part of south central PA notices are put in the local paper about the first deer or turkey that a child has killed. My son on the other hand has had fun made of him because he is a birder. I guess it's because he doesn't shoot em. I do not have anything against responsible hunting (lord knows we have messed up the habitat so much here that the White-tailed deer are running rampant, Ducks unlimited has played a big part in keeping healthy duck populations and the gamelands in PA provides valuable habitat for many species of birds and animals) but it seems our values as a society are a little askew when one is made fun of becuase you don't end up killing what you have hunted (and as I often remind hunters when they look at me funny when they find out I'm a birder, that many of the same things they do in hunting I do in birding, the only difference is I don't shoot what I have stalked).

Jayne said...

I think it's more cool now to be a birding person than it used to be, and it's a perfect time to introduce the joy to younger people. I think there are so many more programs available now too through local aquariums, nature centers, etc. that are such great resources.

Glad that your outing was smaller and slower Larry. That's just the sort of outing I'd enjoy most.

Betsy True said...

Great trip; I'd love to see a great blue rookery! Our local birding club here has trips just for kids, and one of the best birding locations near me, Huntley Meadows, has lots of activities for kids and is a regular field trip for local schools.

Larry said...

Mary-Better organized chatter-
rookeries are something to see-like something out of jurasssic park.

Cathy-As much as I enjoy spring migration,I like the change of pace that follows as well.-That's great that you were such a positive influence for your son.-where's his astronomy blog?

Betsy-Sounds like your birding clubs are on the right track-That's the sort of thing I'm talking about-walks just for kids.

Jayne-I think birding is becoming a little bit more accepted.-

Vern-I think the hunters around here are a little more used to birders-maybe because we have less land and always cross each other's paths.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

We are a homeschooling family from Victoria, BC and we enjoy birding as a family. There are quite a few birding programs offered through our Capital Region. my youngest is particularily fond of birding and can name more birds than I can. I enjoyed your blog and will share it with my kids.