Bird Watching, a Natural Pastime

Summer is the best time of year to get outdoors and be one with nature. For those who have an interest in the environment, birds provide a tangible way of identifying with nature. Whether on a busy downtown street or in a remote part of a national park, birds are easy to see and appreciate, without the need for special knowledge or expensive equipment. Bird watching or "birding" has become a popular pastime, and not just for older adults. Birding has seen a surprisingly major resurgence in the digital age. At one time the advent of smartphones was thought to be the end of birding, all the while it has had the opposite effect. Today, more and more people have taken up this hobby due to the rise of smartphone apps that allow bird-watchers to easily identify and record their observances.  Going out and being nature is a great way for kids to learn about the world around them. Whether you take the little ones on a hike to look for birds, or merely appreciating them while participating in another activity, birding greatly enhances one’s enjoyment of the outdoors. Many of us live in cities, but this in no way diminishes the possibilities or the pleasures of looking at birds. These amazing animals have adapted to live in all kinds of environments, from downtown skyscrapers, to wetlands, ravines and waterfronts on lakes and oceans, you can find birds anywhere in Canada. 

The backyard is a great place to start as it gives you and your children the opportunity to see how birds interact with you directly in your daily lives. Even the newest subdivisions will have their “bird pioneers”, the first group of birds to settle an area. In these areas the variety of birds will be small at first, and older neighbourhoods will have many more species because of the greater variety of trees and bushes. We recommend setting up a bird feeder in your backyard in order to attract as many species as possible. The beauty of birding is its simplicity. All you need are a good pair of binoculars, but even without them you can still see many of our country’s beautiful species with a good set of eyes. One of our most popular activities with parents this summer has been our nature scavenger hunt, we highly recommend it whether your intention is to birding or not. If you’re on the lookout for new feathered friends here’s a list of 10 birds to look for in Canada this summer. Happy bird watching!