Birding

Last spring we developed a love for bird watching. It was early in the season, snow still on the ground and cold, cold, cold, as early spring in Maine tends to be. We hung a bird feeder, some suet, and a month or so later, at Easter time, a friendly bunny left us a clear plastic feeder that we could suction cup to a window. As the weather warmed, we added a humming bird feeder to the mix, and though it hung over our porch table where we often ate meals during the summer, the tiny birds were undeterred and buzzed just over our heads.

By the end of the summer, the bird feed had run out and in the busyness of getting ready for a new school year pushed the idea of purchasing more out of my mind. But now, finally, I went out and bought a new bag and a large block of suet, refilled the feeders, and bird watching has finally recommenced.

M., being the fan of all small things that he is, is the most excited about the visits from the birds. He will stand at the French doors that lead out to our porch for several minutes at a time (quite the feat for an almost 4 year old) and watch the birds, mostly chickadees, as they flit from the suet to the bird feeder. I know, given some time, we’ll start seeing blue jays and woodpeckers and cardinals, those more colorful breeds that get us all excited.

One of our favorite kid-friendly birding resources has been National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America. It’s frequently looked at and was often consulted last spring, as I suspect it will be again this year. For a more adult option, I like to grab our library’s copy of The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America. It’s beautiful just to look at and has lots of great information to help a budding birder figure out just who is visiting.

While spring is a good long way off here in Maine, this one little act of putting out some food for those creatures who decide to stick around during these cold months has alleviated some of those winter doldrums. And now, I think, it’s time for a cup of coffee and a seat by the the window.

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