You’re never too young (or too old) for birdwatching.
Celebrate spring migration by taking a bird walk with the children in your life. It’s a great way to introduce new vocabulary and experience nature in a live-action “Where’s Waldo?” situation that appeals to the puzzle solver in all of us. Birdwatching also requires slowing down, observing and interpreting what you’re seeing — all of which are important skills that can help children prepare for academic success.
A few great places to explore locally are the Dungeness River Audubon Center/Railroad Bridge Park, Carrie Blake Park and the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.
Share your enthusiasm for the birds and follow up your walks with some bird books from the North Olympic Library System. There are some fabulous new books to ignite curiosity and discussion with children in your life. Check them out today!
“Wings” by Cheryl B. Klein, illustrated by Tomi dePaola
A bird takes flight for the first time in this delightful, simple rhyming story perfect for toddlers with short attention spans or new readers gaining skill and confidence. Lovely!
“Bird Watch” by Christie Matheson
Readers who enjoy find-and-seek books will love the lush watercolor and collage illustrations in this interactive picture book that encourages readers to find, identify and count backyard birds. Each spread invites the reader to look for birds hidden on the pages. The book is a celebration of nature and a wonderful invitation to birdwatching for the very young. Birds are difficult to find (as they often are in the wild) and also will appeal to older children (and adults!).
“My Happy Year” by E. Bluebird (Paul Meisel)
A bluebird chronicles his year in a diary-style tale incorporating fact with fiction. This is a great book to share with preschoolers and older kids to demonstrate journaling and to give insight into a typical bird’s life.
“Woodpecker Wham!” by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Woodpeckers move with action perfect for a rhyming read-aloud for preschoolers and toddlers. Jenkins’ trademark collage illustrations depict a variety of woodpeckers including flickers and downy woodpeckers, both of which can be found locally. Information in the back of the book gives readers options for further research.
“Fly With Me: A Celebration of Birds Through Pictures, Poems and Stories” by Jane Yolen, Heidi E. Y. Stemple, Adam Stemple and Jason Stemple
Written by Jane Yolen and her three children as a tribute to her late husband, “Fly With Me” is chock full of bird information, poems and photographs. Pages are laid out with a smorgasbord of facts to draw the eye, making it appealing to both the casual browser and fact seeker.
The North Olympic Library System also has birding backpacks available to check out (search “birding kit” in the catalog) and take on your next adventure or use to explore right in your own backyard! Each kit includes guidebooks, binoculars and sound discs of bird songs.
For more birding fun with the little ones in your life, save the date to Build a Birdhouse with NOLS this summer! Sessions are at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at the Forks Library; 2 p.m. Friday, June 28, at the Port Angeles Library; and 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, at the Sequim Library.
Library staff and volunteers will guide young builders in creating their own birdhouses. An adult must accompany children under the age of 8. Supplies will be generously provided by Angeles Millwork & Hartnagel Building Supply. The Country Woodwright, a traditional woodworking school and custom furniture business, prepared more than 300 kits for the program.
Jennifer Knight is Youth Services Librarian for the North Olympic Library System.