Chapters

Idea No. 1. Start in the park

Suggestions on how to WATCH the ducks in a city park rather than just LOOK at them. How do they feed? Why are males brightly coloured and females not? What sounds do ducks make apart from quacking? What other waterbirds can be spotted in a park?

Idea No. 2. Look in the garden

How to start watching garden birds – and the correct way to count them. How to take part in national garden bird censuses. And some ideas for watching birds in your neighbourhood if you don’t have a garden but live in an apartment block.

Idea No. 3. Buy or borrow bird books

What kind of bird book is best for a total novice? What about books for a child seeking to advance their birding skills? What makes a good field guide? And what other kinds of bird books are useful for children keen to take their hobby further?

Idea No. 4. Buy a pair of binoculars

Why binoculars are essential for a child keen to develop their interest in birds. What kind of binoculars are best for a child? How much do they cost? Guidelines on how to hold them properly, use the focus wheels correctly, and take care of them.

Idea No. 5. Feed the birds

Caring for wild birds starts with feeding them. But why do we need to feed them, and what with? Here are some basic “raw ingredients” for a successful recipe that a child can use to attract birds into their garden.

Idea No. 6. Put up nest-boxes

Why are artificial nest-boxes necessary? What type of nest-boxes do birds need? Where should they be located? Suggestions for a child to study nesting birds and realise the importance of insectivorous birds in the foodchain.

Idea No. 7. Listen to the birds

How listening to and learning bird songs and calls can give children unique skills, and benefit them psychologically. What’s the difference between a bird’s song and its call? And how does a child go about learning birdsong?

Idea No. 8. Record your observations

Encouraging a child to record their bird sightings is a fun activity that may give them much pleasure. It could also give them a methodical approach to observations that could benefit them in later life. Some tips to get a child started on recording their observations.

Idea No. 9. Join a club

Birdwatching can be a social activity if a child is encouraged to join a birdwatching group at school or a local birding group. What kind of bird clubs exist, what do they do and where do they go? Also some suggestions for birdwatching holidays for older children.

Idea No. 10. Discover what owls eat

Here’s a more advanced idea that combines field work and home study with some fascinating detective work. It will enable a child to gain insights into an owl’s diet, and what small animals live in the neighbourhood.

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