Bird Watching (UK) - - Advice Birding With Kids -


If you’re at that stage where you need to get your lit­tle one off to sleep for a day­time nap, this can be a tiny win­dow of op­por­tu­nity to ap­pre­ci­ate birds – per­haps while you’re push­ing the buggy through a haze of sleep de­pri­va­tion, or paus­ing for a few min­utes in a park or by a win­dow.


Go­ing on hol­i­day, or even get­ting away from the house for a day, can take you to a dif­fer­ent habi­tat, where you could see dif­fer­ent birds from those at home. Ad­mit­tedly, you might not get much chance to en­joy them, but just be­ing on a beach, or walk­ing by a river or through a for­est, means you could catch a glance of some­thing a lit­tle bit out of the or­di­nary. We had ex­tremely con­fid­ing views of Turn­stones while walk­ing around Whitby, for ex­am­ple, and I’ve of­ten sneaked a look at Gan­nets div­ing in the bay, while dig­ging chan­nels or jump­ing waves in Fi­ley. Best of all was a pair of lif­ers while on hol­i­day in North Wales – Chough and Raven at RSPB South Stack. Take binoc­u­lars with you just in case.


When your kids are a bit older and you can leave them at birthday par­ties for an hour or two, this could be a golden op­por­tu­nity to squeeze in a cheeky bird­ing trip at a lo­cal site. I’ve been lucky enough to watch Tree Pip­its and Wood Larks at Skip­with Com­mon, just a five-minute drive from one pop­u­lar party venue. I even found my first ever wild snakes (two Grass Snakes) there in spring 2018 dur­ing a party gap, and dashed back there af­ter­wards to show my son and two of his friends who’d been at the party.


If you’re very lucky, your chil­dren might stay still in a hide; they might stay quiet; they might even show some in­ter­est in that dis­tant wader you’re try­ing to iden­tify. But they prob­a­bly won’t. At the ages of 10 and 13, my kids are just about able to man­age this, but I wish you luck if you want to try and keep chil­dren qui­etly oc­cu­pied in a hide. They’ll prob­a­bly get bored very swiftly, and try­ing to avoid dis­rupt­ing other bird­ers will most likely stress you out.

South Stack – don't for­get your bins!

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