Being:: Birding

April 10, 2012

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Being: Conscious, mortal existence; life.

Every month we welcome two families, two people, two voices to share their stories in whatever way they chose. We hope that you find joy in their daily lives, and their simple habit of just being.


It has been, by all accounts, a banner birding year so far here in Vermont. An unusually warm winter, coupled with the fifty-pound bag of black-oil sunflower seed I snagged on sale last fall has meant that many of our backyard bird friends were visible and active at our feeder all winter long. Plus, the large lake in our area remained largely unfrozen throughout the winter, meaning that some of the larger birds that live nearby decided to forego their usual winter vacation plans as well. We’ve seen everything from blue herons to bald eagles in the last few months, and being the unapologetic bird nerds that we are, the excitement level has been pretty high around here.

I noticed one morning recently that my daughter had begun waking early some days to sit by the living room windows and make sketches of birds at the feeder. This gave me the idea to create a birding journal for her, and the two of us started talking about what she thought should be included in such a book. She wanted a space for recording basic information about birds that she’s seen, as well as a place to make a sketch. I suggested an area for taking notes on any related research that she decides to do, and she agreed that this sounded like a good idea. We also included some pages for her to use to begin her own “life list”- the list of bird species spotted over the years that serious birders keep.


In the end, we came up with a design for a birding journal that is equal parts practical and aesthetically pleasing, with the added bonus of being really, really easy to put together. I’ve laid out the project in a handy little birder’s book PDF for you all, so that you can print out the page templates for your book and follow along with a photo tutorial as you put the birding journal together.

Get started right away and you’ll be out in the yard or the woods with your small people and some binoculars before you know it!

Birder’s book PDF

This month we welcome Annie of the blog Bird and Little Bird . Annie is the mama of two young children, and along with her blog, she is also the creator of the incredibly popular Alphabet Glue e-magazine. We look forward to having Annie with us in the coming weeks, and we hope that you will join us here every Wednesday for Annie’s words, photographs and reflections.

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Jeff Jones April 10, 2012 at 8:50 am

This is a great way to get youngsters interested in birding. It’s always best when you can engage more of senses than just lectures or books. Getting them to take a hand in the creation of the guide is key. Good work!

Arianne April 10, 2012 at 8:58 am

Lovely idea! And thanks for the pdf. Our family will love this!

Donna April 10, 2012 at 9:01 am

We have been really enjoying watching the birds this year too. I have only caught a few good pictures of them. I have noticed white owls on the side of the roads hanging out on branches, which I have never seen before.

Alison April 10, 2012 at 10:17 am

Yes Yes! I am so excited for this pdf. I am raising a houseful of birders here and they will love this. I only wish we had already seen this before we went to the Riparian Park in Arizona last week – ah, now we’ll have to go again soon. Thank you for the lovely post.

Lacey April 10, 2012 at 11:41 am

THANK YOU! we are also thrilled with all the birds we’ve seen and the kids will LOVE this.

Monique B April 10, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Thank you so much for this! I love it and so will my bird loving kids!

Mousy Brown April 11, 2012 at 8:47 am

Love that idea Annie, we will doing a bit of that here too…it would work well for other wildlife or flowers, trees etc too! Nice to see you here too Em :D

Steph May 23, 2012 at 11:06 pm

Thank you so much. This is a lovely idea and I hope to use it with my children once school is out and we have more time to roam around the neighborhood or observe more at the park as we play… leisurely! Kind regards, Steph

Jen Fischer July 15, 2012 at 9:24 am

I love this. We have so many amazing birds in the very small town we live in, including hawks. My toddler loves to watch and imitate all of the birds. Can’t wait for him to be able to do this when he gets a little older.

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