Missouri Dept. of Conservation
Songbirds are free to roam, and their travels take them beyond wild places to the trees, shrubs and grasses they find in cities or near rural homes.
The Missouri Department of Conservation encourages people to look for birds in their yards or neighborhoods. Nuthatches and wrens will be looking in oaks and maples for insects to eat or to carry back to a nest of young.
Bluejays and bluebirds may be among the feathered visitors looking for food or nest sites. Robins enjoy pecking bugs out of a fresh-mowed lawn. People can simply enjoy listening to bird songs coming from the trees, or they can use them as an educational tool, particularly for curious children.
Children learn by observation and thinking. Birds offer lessons in colors, numbers, geography and biology.
Here are some basic birding tips:
• Start a birding journal. Keep it handy. Children will note an adult’s enthusiasm for the bird journal and follow his lead. Include all ages in spotting and watching birds.
• Go on a bird-seeking expedition in the backyard, the front yard or perhaps a walk on the sidewalk once or twice a day. Take the journal. Teach the young to watch for birds or to listen for their songs.
• Ask questions of yourself or those with you. How many different bird sounds can you hear? Where are they coming from? Can you see the bird or is it hidden by leaves?
• If you see the bird, what is the color and the size? Do you think it is male or female? Can you identify the species? How many birds have you counted today? How many counted so far this summer?
Bird feeders and waterers will attract birds in summer as well as winter. But they are not essential, as summer birds will be finding natural foods.
Early morning and sunset are prime times for hearing and seeing songbirds.