Birding Blog

Carmel Mountain Preschool Birding Blog

Recently in the Nature Lab we’ve been talking about birds and how they provide us with beautiful songs and are beautiful to observe. Many birds help with controlling pest populations as well as pollinating and spreading seeds. We love birds! So these past weeks we’ve learned about some local birds that we often see in the Glenn and around school. The birds we learned about were the Northern Mockingbird, the American Crow, the Anna’s Hummingbird, and the Mourning Dove. We listened to each of their songs and worked on trying to identify the birds by their call. Often you can hear birds, but not see them. We practiced closing our eyes in nature so our ears were even sharper, then we’d be able to pinpoint the birds’ location better. One of my favorite websites for birding and especially hearing bird calls is Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds Guide. I will list the links for each of the birds we talked about in our lessons below.

If you are interested in birding with your own child and are new to it, some things I recommend are getting yourself a bird guide to reference. When you are trying to identify species, you’ll want to focus on certain characteristics such as primary color, general shape, wing/feet and beak color, distinctive markings or unique features such as long legs/beak, and the length and shape of the tail.

Carmel Mountain Preschool Birding Blog

There are some great locations around San Diego to go birding. We have so many species and unique ecosystems. This website has a great map of different birding sites around the county along with info about what is likely to be seen or heard there.

If you would like a little more of a guided, educational experience I would suggest checking out Mission Trails Regional Park. They have guided nature walks, specific guided birding walks, and even a birding basics class offered about once a month. Here is a link to their calendar for August.

For those serious birders out there I recommend getting involved in some citizen science bird projects. The most well-known is the Christmas Bird Count which is the longest running Citizen Science project having begun in 1900. The Great Backyard Bird Count is also a very popular one too. It’s a wonderful experience for kids to be a part of something so expansive that benefits the study of overall bird populations. There are also some upcoming events here in San Diego all about birds.

Carmel Mountain Preschool Birding Blog

In your own backyard you can increase the number of birds you can see in several ways. Here in the Glenn our goal is to increase the number of native plants we have to help support our local wildlife. Providing native species is the most natural and typically healthiest way to support species, especially when it comes to hummingbirds. Studies have shown that by offering a lot of hummingbird feeders it decreases the hummingbirds’ ability to pollinate since they are visiting the feeders as opposed to flowers they could get nectar from while pollinating. For some granivores (seed eating birds) providing seed can help some species that are in decline, especially those in areas where it snows. But there are some serious concerns as well. Bird feeders can unfortunately increase disease transmission among bird populations. Also, feeders often support unwanted populations of pests such as rats.

All that said, if having a feeder (or several) supports a positive connection with nature, then maybe it’s worth it for you and your family, especially if you have children. Building that relationship with nature can create a lifelong connection and enjoyment and support an environmental attitude. That’s why we also made some temporary bird feeders during our lesson as well. Depending on the class, we either used pine cones and coated them with seed, or used pipe cleaners with plain cheerios. We won’t be leaving them up long. We consider them a special treat for the birds in our Glenn. The children love seeing when their feeder has been nibbled on and knowing they provided the birds with a yummy snack. Happy trails and birding to you all!

Carmel Mountain Preschool Birding Blog

Links to the birds we talked about in our lesson:

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