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Bring birds to your backyard with free kids' bird bath or bird feeder clinic

This Saturday, April 5, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. all Home Depot locations will offer a free Kids Workshop Clinic on building bird feeders and bird baths; each child will get to build and take home his or her own feeder or bath!

The clinic is open to children ages 5-12 and their parents, who are welcome to arrive any time after 9:00 a.m.; each child will be given a workshop kit, instructions in safe tool use, supervised assembly time, as well as an apron, a commemorative pin, and a certificate of achievement for completing their project.

These clinics are first-come, first-served, so once supplies run out, the workshop will close to new participants.

Learn more and pre-register here. (Pre-registration is not required, but helps them ensure that they gather enough craft kits for those planning to come.)

More great backyard bird tips are shown in the attached video.

Providing bird feeders and bird baths will bring many more songbirds to the back yard so that children can improve their bird watching skills, including:

  • Detailed observation (colors and size for the little ones)
  • Counting (and, for older children, proper bird count technique)
  • Art practice (drawing or photography)
  • Behavioral observation (flight style/pattern, flocks vs. solitary birds, courting behavior, territorial behavior)

The most widely appreciated feed for songbirds in this area is black oil sunflower seed. Though spring is here, birds will still happily visit feeders because they need all the food they can get to have the energy to mate and raise fledglings. Black oil sunflower seed, which will attract at least 15 different species of birds, including the Top 10 Southwest Virginia Songbirds.

A few excellent books to accompany and extend the learning include:

For Young Children

  • Peterson First Guides: Birds by Roger Tory Peterson
  • My Spring Robin by Anne Rockwell
  • Those Darn Squirrels! by Adam Rubin
  • Feathers for Lunch by Louise Elhert
  • Robin at Hickory Street (Smithsonian's Backyard) by Dana Meachen Rau

For Older Children

  • Stokes Beginner's Guide to Birds: Eastern Region by Donald and Lillian Stokes
  • Peterson First Guides: Birds by Roger Tory Peterson (this book is good for kids of all ages, and beginner birdwatcher grown ups, too)
  • Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette LeBlanc Cate
  • Birds, Nests & Eggs (Take Along Guides) by Mel Boring
  • Backyard Birds of Summer: The Perfect Introduction to Birding by Carol Lerner

For Teens and Grown-Ups

  • Backyard Bird Secrets for Every Season: Attract a Variety of Nesting, Feeding, and Singing Birds Year-Round by Sally Roth
  • Audubon Backyard Birdwatcher: Bird feeders & Bird gardens by Robert Burton
  • Birds of North America: A Guide to Field Identification (Golden Field Guide) by Chandler Robbins et. al.
  • National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Eastern Region by National Audubon Society
  • Cooking for the Birds: Recipes to Attract and Feed Backyard Birds by Adele Porter

If you would like to learn more about southwest Virginia's nature and wildlife, and helping to teach your children about both, please click on the subscribe link below the byline to be notified by email whenever this Examiner posts a new article.

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