Does your kiddo have a love of all things nature? If they do, this is the perfect age to introduce them to the world of birding. What is birding? Birding is observing birds in their natural habitat and actively pursuing witnessing them, recording how many you see and having a love of the pursuit! While you are trying to find them and see them, you are not hunting them. Birding does not involve touching, harming or capturing the birds. This is a great family activity or activity to encourage them to do on their own in the backyard and in the community.
What you need for beginning birding:
- Notebook for recording
- Bird species book (area specific or all encompassing)
Birding made simple:
Spend time outside and keep a lookout for birds. Use binoculars to get up close with them. It’s that simple. Record the species of birds you find on your list and see the list grow.
What is not birding:
For a true birder, capturing a bird in a zoo or sanctuary would not count. It must be in their natural environment. But, if you visit a zoo and see a non-zoo bird resident perched on the grounds, that DOES count. To get them started learning about the different species of birds, a zoo like Santa Fe Learning Zoo is a perfect place to start understanding the bids and begin recognizing them.
Gainesville Hot Spots:
Gainesville is the home to a plethora of birds, so it is a wonderful place to begin their new calling as birders!
- Your own backyard Sweetwater Wetlands Park Depot Park
- Lake Alice
- Veterans Park
- University of Florida Campus
According to the Alachua Audubon Society website, which is a division of the National Audubon Society, there are currently 362 bird species in Alachua county. Visit their website at alachuaaudubon.org to find an up to date list of birds in our area!
Some birding tips:
- Never touch the birds. They are wild and they can harm you, just as much as you can harm them.
- You will never want to touch or get close to a bird nest!
- Be very still and quiet. Birds startle easily!
- You will want to look on the ground, as much as you do in the trees and air! Birds are everywhere!
- Keep an eye out when you travel. There are different birds all over the state!