Learn together about birds in your backyard and in the Greater Roanoke Valley and join the Birding Bingo & Reading Challenge, for all ages, at the Salem Public Library. Pick up a Birding Bingo sheet at the Salem Public Library after April 1. Return your bingo sheet to the Salem Library when you’ve completed a bingo and be entered into a drawing for a prize! You could win: Birding Binoculars, Bird Guide Books or Bird-themed Coloring Books and Puzzles.
While visiting the library, ask about checking out a birding backpack, provided to local libraries by the Roanoke Valley Bird Club (www.roanokevalleybirdclub.com) The backpacks are stocked with binoculars, field guides, directions to local bird-watching hotspots in the Roanoke Valley and Botetourt County including the greenways located in the City of Salem as well as practical information for beginning birders.
Tips for Birding with Children from the Roanoke Valley Bird Club
- The easiest way to see and enjoy watching is with a bird feeder. Black oil sunflower seed attracts the widest variety of birds, and is a favorite for backyard bird feeders. Or spread peanut butter on a pine cone, roll it in wild bird seed, and hang it from a tree. See who comes to visit!
- Make it fun by letting children choose where to bird, bring a snack and wear sturdy walking shoes. Children have limited attention spans so follow your child’s lead if they get restless.
- Try first thing in the morning for your birding trips. Birds are more active in the morning and kids will be more rested too.
- Binoculars can be hard for children to learn to use. Instead, focus on staying quiet and looking for the movements of birds in trees or on the ground. If your child is old enough to use binoculars, teach proper usage with an adult first holding the binoculars until they are comfortable. Inexpensive tough children’s binoculars are also available in outdoor stores.
- Make it a game. Learn about 3 or 4 birds in your backyard and see how many they can spot. Have your child describe the birds they see. What colors? By itself or part of a group? Long or short tail? How big is the bird-like robin, crow, or duck? If you don’t see birds, is there evidence of birds: droppings, feathers, or a nest?
- Remind children that birds are hard to see but easy to hear. Have them sit still and close their eyes and listen to bird sounds.
Come to the Intro to Birding Class, Saturday, April 15, 10:30 a.m. at Salem Public Library and join Robin Austin, a Roanoke Valley Bird Club Member, as she leads a birding walk around Salem. Birders of all levels are welcome. Register for the program at salemva.libcal.com.
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