Submit your story of birding with a young person to firstname.lastname@example.org to be entered in a draw for Kermit Cumming’s new children’s book, A Backyard Birding Adventure: What’s in Your Yard?. The deadline to submit your story is March 1st, 2017 at 9:00am (Pacific time). Scroll down to read the stories people have shared with Beakingoff so far!
I will never forget going birding with my nephew when he was 5 (he is circled in the image below). He was sooo confident in every bird we saw: Bald Eagles, Black-capped chickadees, white crowned sparrows, robins, magpies, etc. Funny thing was I didn’t notice until the end of birding that he had Elmo binoculars that made everything super blurry. Everyone else (myself included) had their fancy binoculars from Leopold to Swarovski. He got every bird right even looking through Elmo into the blurry abyss!
~ Jackie T.,
While working at an outdoor education school on Toronto Island, a group of students arrived one week with their teachers. The teachers gave us a heads-up about a young boy who would be quite a handful. And he was.
We took time and care with him and his classmates, but he had a way of wearing you down a bit with time. He just didn’t seem to care about anything that we were doing, and his energy would often distract the group from their own curiosity and exploration.
On their last day, we went for a hike in the forest. We happened to hear the local black-capped chickadee group, and so we stopped to put out some bird seed at one of the feeding spots. They flew down, and being used to our groups, started to gather in the trees.
We handed out bird seed and told the children to find a spot to wait near a branch. Myself and the other leaders love birds, and so we were enthralled and engaged with the birds as well. At one point we looked around to see how it was going, and we saw that little boy sitting under a bush with a quiet little girl. Both of them were sitting in complete awe and silence as the small birds landed on their hands again and again. It was pure magic, and you could just see it on his face.
Nothing that we did as educators had anywhere near the impact on that little boy as those birds did. It’s the simple magic of backyard birds that creates wonder and awe in the hearts of children (and adults alike).
~ Erin E., Canada
Last fall my wife and I were making a weekly day trip to Vancouver to visit our daughter and partner and our grandson. Mateo had recently turned 2 and was starting to say a few words I could actually understand. My wife and I usually took Mateo for a walk to the beach while we were there. On the walks I would point out common birds and tell him the common name hoping he would develop an interest in birds. On one occasion we were walking along the beach and he pointed out over the water and said what I thought was ‘eagle’. I looked out but all there was was a seagull. I told him the bird in the water was a ‘seagull’. When we got him back home I told our daughter about it. She said that,actually, when he says ‘seagull’ it sounds like ‘eegull’. He had it right after all. Good boy.
My story is sharing my love of birding with my young grand children 2 and 4 years old. On a family vacation in Kauai, Hawaii 2016, I introduced them to the Cardinals and Myna birds around our condo and my favorite bird the Layasan Albatross. They have such good eye sight and would point out birds for me to identify for them. This spring while visiting in Victoria, BC the now 5 year old saw a large Herring Gull and start yelling “Albatross nana!”
~Colleen H., Canada
My family and I were on holidays visiting relatives who live on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. We took a day trip to Parksville with a picnic lunch. We stopped at a lovely water-side spot for a bite to eat. We were just finishing up our lunch, and a family of Canada geese swam up and came on shore right up to us. I guess they were looking for a hand-out. We didn’t have much left, but enjoyed watching them walk around checking out the area for any left overs.
~ Maureen V., Canada