Feathered friends: 5 ways for kids to help birds

Peeper loves her some animals, and birds are no exception. I once called a bird that landed on the telephone wire a blue jay; she corrected me: “No, Mama, that’s a stellar jay.” (#schooledbyatoddler)

In a book she adores that has photos of pretty much every animal on the planet, she points to the birds with silly names and giggles uncontrollably as I recite them: plain chachalaca, hoopoe and the blue-crowned motmot.

And she has loved some of our recent projects to help our neighborhood’s resident birds.

ways for kids to help birdsWe were inspired to learn how kids can help birds by a recent suggested service project from Giving Families, a monthly mail subscription that sends kids ideas to help others. It included instructions on how to help birds build nests, making a cozy home for all those chirping chicks that will be hatching this spring.

Peeper didn’t want to stop there. If your kids want to help birds, too, here are a few super-easy, way quick ideas to support our feathered friends.

  1. Provide nest supplies. At the suggestion of Peeper’s monthly #goodmailchallenge, we snipped pieces of yarn and stuffed them in an empty net bag. We left the bag of yarn scraps hanging on a tree so birds can line their nests with the soft, warm material.
  2. Make a peanut butter bird feeder. Spread peanut butter onto a pine cone or toilet paper roll. Then have your child roll the sticky feeder in bird seed. Hang it in a place where she can watch the birds eat at the bird feeder. So far we’ve attracted more squirrels than birds, but Peeper loves watching for the visitors!
  3. Choose bird seed for the birds in your area. To help and attract your neighborhood avians, pick seed that they like to eat. Here is a useful chart that can help sort through all the different kinds. Otherwise, just buy bird seed at a local birding or gardening shop—they’ll know what local birds like to eat.
  4. ID birds you see every day. Download an app, like the Audubon Bird Guide, iBird or Sibley, so kids can identify the birds around your house. (Here’s a handy chart that breaks down a ton of mobile bird guides and apps.)
  5. Read about birds. Peeper was thrilled that in one of her favorite books, Tanglebird by Bernard Lodge, a bird tries to line its nest with yarn—just like the string she put outside! Looking for some good titles? Try the gorgeously illustrated Beautiful Birds by Jean Roussen, Birds by Kevin Henkes, Nest by Jorey Hurley, The Dead Bird by Margaret Wise Brown and—one of my all-time faves—Peck Peck Peck by Lucy Cousins.

How about you? Did your kids ever make a bird feeder or want to help the birds?

We receive a free subscription to Giving Families but, as always, all my content is independent and entirely my own opinion.

4 thoughts on “Feathered friends: 5 ways for kids to help birds

  • May 11, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    What a fun post! I used to love bird watching as a kid. I had several books on the subject and a small pair of binoculars. I’d love to spot as many types as I could. These are all great ideas for interacting with the beautiful birds out there 🙂

    • May 11, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      Peeper would love mini binoculars! Maybe she’ll get a pair for her birthday. 🙂

  • May 11, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Ohh these are awesome ideas. My kids have shown no interest in birds (yet!!!), but when they get fixated on something they become obsessed. I’d love to introduce them so some of these activities to see if I can spark some interest and sway their attention from their current obsession (a-hem, Star Wars)!!!

    • May 11, 2016 at 3:22 pm

      Oh, Star Wars! Luckily my kids haven’t seen it, so droids and light sabers aren’t even on their radar. Ha!


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