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Tweeting is bird-watching and some people are obsessed! They travel the country for a sighting of a rare hawk or a possible glimpse of a migrating finch. However, tweeting with children can be great fun and a good way of introducing wildlife to them.
We've been obsessed with birdwatching for centuries. There are shelves of books in the library all about the birds that reside in different regions of the country and those that migrate and spend just the summer or winter in certain places. There are also lovely birdy books for children with a smaller selection of birds illustrated and presented in an accessible way.
So, how do we go about staring birdwatching?
At this time of year, its easier than ever to spot birds because there are no leaves on the trees! This means they can't hide away as easily as in the summer. Winter also brings migrating birds through, so you might spot more unusual ones! Start in your own garden or around your home. Even cities have a great selection of birds that roost in the buildings or in parks.
What equipment do we need?
If you have a bird watching book that's great. Take it along to the local countryside or park and use it as you look for birds. If not, jot down the characteristics of the birds you see and you can look it up in the library or on the internet when you get home to find out what it is called. Older children might want to scribble blocks of the colour that they see on each bird and you can then look up birds with those colours and confirm their sighting with pictures.
Do we need binoculars?
If you have binoculars, it adds to the fun so take them with you! If not, make the play the part and make some pretend binoculars with kitchen roll tubes, stuck together and some string attached to hang around you child's neck.
What do we do?
Simply sit still in your garden or in the park and wait! You'll probably hear the birds before you see them. Then just watch! See what the birds do, observe their colours, are they in a flock or alone. Try to identify them if you have a book with you, show the pictures to the children and ask them if that is what they see.
When you get home try to draw them and find our their names. You could even log your sightings in your ToucanLearn diary, noting what you see and where you see them. Happy watching!