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Garden birds are a great way to get kids excited about nature.
And January’s a fab time to get started.
With the annual Big Garden Bird Watch …
BUT counting the birds won’t keep most kids attention for long, will it?
And neither will simple identification – “yeah, yeah, mum, it’s a robin, I know!!!”
The really interesting bit is to actually get to know the birds.
BECAUSE they do have incredibly different personalities.
Some garden birds are right little nosey parkers who inspect everything you do.
Whilst some are shy as mice.
Some always come with their partners. Whilst others descend in a gang.
Some sit still for an age. And others are total fidgetbums.
Encouraging the birds with a simple feeder – we’ve got a new squirrel proof one – or table, gives kids the chance to be real little naturalists, observing the birds’ antics and asking themselves questions to make sense of what the birds are up to.
AND it lets the birds get to know your kids.
Quite a few birds will now feed from by our feet.
And one very cocky little robin will EVEN perch on a knee!
How cool is that?
To help your kids get to know the birds in your garden, try asking some of these questions.
Depending where you are, the actual birds will of course vary.
But the questions – interestingly – hold true …
Get To Know Your Garden Birds
- Who’s the nosiest? – in our garden this is definitely the robin, who just like the robin in The Secret Garden HAS to check out everything going on and loves to help with the gardening.
- Who’s the super shy song-meister? – in many gardens, ours included, it’s the tiny wren who creeps around carefully camouflaged by undergrowth. BUT who every now and again takes centre stage and belts out a humdinger of a chorus like the surprise shy-star on X-Factor!
- Who cracks jokes? – the magpie on the other hand sings anything but beautifully! In fact he doesn’t really sing at all – he just cackles loudly to one of his friends nearby.
- Who always brings their partner? – some birds do form inseperable pairs and you rarely see them alone. If there’s one jay, in our garden, there’s always two.
- Who comes in a rowdy gang? – BUT the starlings always descend en-masse, noisily shoving.
- Who are the chatterboxes? – nearly all the tits are chatterboxes. Big families of great tits and blue tits turn up and never stop chattering. It’s pretty tuneful, but my goodness they can talk!
- Who are the fidget-bums? – the tits also win this title, the tiny little blue-tits never stay still
- Who are the worse thieves? – magpies get a bad rap for stealing stuff but in our garden it’s the gold finches who brazenly nick garden string and the like for the nests. They’re always particularly keen on any string holding something up!
- Who are the bullies? – our robin is bossy but it’s the crows, I’m afraid, who are the bullies. Too cowardly to come up close for food they mug the braver little birds for their crumbs!
- Who are the winter visitors? – here in London, we don’t get many winter migrants in the garden itself but occasionally a flock of beautiful red-wings visits from Sweden. They never stay long before the advance hunting party returns to announce more food found elsewhere.
- Who stays for the summer? – in the first week of May, our summer visitors turn up. Every year, the totally amazing swifts fly OVER 5,000 miles back from central Africa to our street in south London where their family has been nesting for generations! How cool is that? We’re always so excited to see them return. And a bit sad to see them go in July.
- Who forecasts the storm? – we have another more sporadic visitor to our garden. They don’t land but circle in a group over head. And when they do appear, it ALWAYS means a storm or snow is on it’s way! Can you guess who it is? Have a peek here to find out …
So there you go … loads of questions to ask about the birds in your garden.
They really help kids to notice the differences in behaviour between different garden birds.
AND bring the birds to life for them.
PLUS our questions, get our kids asking their own questions …
… what do different birds do? Why do they do it? How does it help them survive?
And then before you know it, you’ve got a little naturalist on your hands! Hurrah!
I so hope you have fun with this and would love to hear about the birds in your garden.
What antics do they get up to? Which do your kids love most?
And for more ideas for exploring nature with kids at home and in the classroom check out my Nature’s Classroom Pinterest board.