Birding with Grandchildren

Looking for birds – sort of

One of the advantages of growing older is that you have more time to bird — none of the grab a quick session before work or wait until the weekend.  For me, another perk is the chance to introduce grandchildren to an activity I waited nearly seventy years to start. 

Our Maryland grandson Dane has taken a real interest in nature and is fast becoming a birder.  Last fall, when we visited I brought my scope and we went out to the Severn River and looked a ducks and gulls.  He seemed interested but I didn’t push it at all — so it was a pleasant surprise this trip when his folks told me that he wanted to go birding. 

So, the first morning we packed up and took along his younger sister and my spouse, Mary and had a delightful outing back at Greenbury Point, part of the U.S. Naval Academy.  We walked a short trail (Maeve got bored rather quickly) and saw about a dozen birds.  Dane learned how to identify Turkey Vultures and Northern Mockingbirds and was first to see a Great Blue Heron cruising by.

We dropped Maeve and Mary at a nearby playground and went back to the river for a little more birding.  Ospreys were everywhere and we saw about a dozen including some active nests. 

Returning before it got sweltering, we had 18 species.  Dane was psyched, as was I.

That evening, his Dad got him set up with an eBird account and the next day I showed him how to enter the data.  We birded again, picked up another 10 new ones, and he came home and entered them. 

So, I have a nearly 10 year-old grandson who is ranked 87th in his county and seems, at least for now, hooked on birding.  We are already talking about the possibilities when he vacations this summer in New York state and then comes to visit us in Vermont.  Young eyes, enthusiasm, and a nearly blank bird list makes Dane a wonderful birding companion.

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