Featured Activity: Bird Watching

Published on October 28, 2022 - Updated on October 28, 2022

We fell into bird watching.

We love to spend time outdoors and before long the kids started asking about all the different birds we would see at the park, hiking, or even in our own backyard. I knew next to nothing about birds and could hardly identify even the bright red coat of a cardinal.

As we started to learn a bit more about our backyard birds and keep track of what we saw, the kids started to learn the names. I realized what a great activity bird watching is because there were birds everywhere. This was something we could take with us to keep the kids engaged while we were outside.

What You Need for Bird Watching

Bird Watching

The best thing about bird watching is you don't need any gear to get started. More gear can always make an activity more fun, but it's not strictly required. That being said, my kids are infinitely more into anything that comes with some gear, so we assembled a little bird-watching bag with the following supplies.

If your still not feeling confident about your ability to identify birds in the wild these apps may also be helpful.

Where to Start

Baby Birds in Nest

Go outside and watch! Seriously it's that easy.

You can either start by going to a place that you love and seeing what birds you observe or pick a bird you want to find and use your birding guide to figure out where you might find it. There is no wrong way to get started. Once you find your first bird and identify it, you will be hooked.

A great way to start birding is to find other birders. There are lots of meet-ups for bird watching. We found some at our local nature center and another at the botanical gardens. We stop other birders we find when hiking or at the park to inquire about what they have found. Everyone always seems excited to hear that we want to learn more about birds.

I was initially quite worried that the kids would scare away the birds, but because they want to see them they are happy to remain quiet. We just make sure that when they are losing interest we move on.

The Great Backyard Bird Count


Our favorite birding activity is The Great Backyard Bird Count. Every year in February, people all over the world count birds in their area and report what they have seen. All you have to do is commit to watching at least 15 minutes in one spot during the four-day window. Then you go online and enter your data.

This is a great project for families to participate in and a marvelous way to practice your birding skills.

Other Resources

Family Bird Activities

I love diving into things like bird watching. If like me you're always looking for a few more resources, this "extra reading" list is for you.

Our favorite birding read-aloud is The Burgess Bird Book for Children, which helps you remember each bird's color and song through a charming story.

If you're a podcast lover check out Bird Note. A short daily podcast where you learn something new about birds each day.

For the subscription box crowd, Bird Watching Academy offers a variety of monthly boxes aimed at helping you learn about birds and bird watching.

Bird Bingo

If you are a board game-type family you won't want to miss Wingspan. Bird Bingo is beautifully illustrated and a great way to practice your bird identification. We also love Professor Noggin's Birds of North America trivia cards for family game time on a road trip or when out to dinner.

Give It A Try

Bird Watching

However you decide to birdwatch, I hope it tunes you in just a little more to the world around you. For us, bird watching has helped us identify plants and ecosystems, and make choices about what we plant in our backyard. We've spent a bit more time looking for where a particular bird might nest and walking quietly on a hike to see if we can catch a bird's song. It has honed our practical memorization and recall skills. I can honestly say it has enriched our life, as I hope it does yours!

Does your family enjoy bird watching? Have you spotted anything unique? If you do, tag us on Instagram @gethappyly for a chance to be featured!

Interested in other fun activities that will get your family outside? Read up on Building a Family Garden, how to Find a Storywalk, or how to Build a Bug Hotel!

For even more local activities and attractions at your fingertips, be sure to download the happyly app, the country's only mobile-first family activity planning app, for fast access to all of our frequent blog content, favorite activities, and expertly designed curated days, both locally and in many communities and travel destinations across the country.

Thoughtfully captured by:
Elizabeth Newcamp
Elizabeth Newcamp grew up in Atlanta, GA, went to school in South Bend, IN, and as a military spouse has called Washington D.C., California, Texas, Colorado, Alabama, Florida, and The Netherlands home. She has a JD from Emory University. She writes the Homeschool and Travel Blog, Dutch, Dutch, Goose! and co-hosts Slate's parenting podcast Mom and Dad are Fighting. Elizabeth is an avid traveler, having been to over 30 countries and all 50 US States, where she has laughed, cried and more than once thought about kicking the travel habit until her three kids are grown. She is actively engaged in her community, enjoys the outdoors, and has a passion for engaging her children within the world around them.
More posts by Elizabeth
Spring on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains is a mixed bag; you never know if you will be buried under a foot of snow or bathed in sunshine. Luck
Atlanta is truly the heart of the south, making it an amazing jumping-off point for adventures in every direction. This spring, no matter what type of
Geocaching is a free and fun way to lure your kids outside for hikes and new adventures. So grab your phone, gather up some of those plastic toys and