Bird Mentoring

Having had a chance to bird with my grandson Dane last weekend, I was reminded once again about how rewarding it is to go out with kids on a bird watching outing.  Regardless of how much or how little you know, there’s always something you can pass on.  Those young eyes are sharp to catch movement but often, patience is required to let them get the bird in the binoculars.

One of the things I’m learning about youth birding is that attention spans are different with kids — in fact the leaders at a birding camp this summer interspersed many games with the kids which were as popular as the birding.  Short outings, especially if the birding is spotty, work well. We learn as they learn.

A young birder releases a banded bird at the North Branch Nature Center.

A young birder releases a banded bird at the North Branch Nature Center. (photo by dickmfield)

A while back, I came upon this little article that I’ve been saving — but I can’t find the source.  If you wrote it, let me know and I’ll give you the credit you deserve.

People who have been birdwatching for many years store an enormous amount of information in their heads – the kind of experiences and emotions you can’t learn from a book or website. To foster an appreciation for nature in new generations, it is essential that information be passed on.

Do you have years of birding experience? For the sake of the birds, become a mentor to an eager new birdwatcher; lead a tour; start a young naturalists club; give a talk. Looking at beautiful bird photos on the computer is one thing, but there is no substitution for a personal introduction to the magic of nature. Pass it along – the birds will thank you for it!

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