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Old 01-18-2004, 09:26 AM
Miss Kitty's Avatar
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5 year old birdwatcher

My 5 year old son has become fascinated by birds. He picked up a bird guide on the sale table at Borders back at Christmas time. We had one small feeder outside our picture window. I took him to a garden center and he picked out a suet feeder and we got some sunflower seeds for Cardinals.
Does anyone else's children watch birds. Are there any good children's field guides for Northern birds. The one we have is good for us but too hard for him to find things in.
Also, is there anything he can make himself to feed the birds?
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Old 01-23-2004, 10:41 PM
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Re: 5 year old birdwatcher

Quote:
Originally posted by Miss Kitty
Also, is there anything he can make himself to feed the birds?
What a nice hobby for your son!!

A good, econimical bird feeder is to take a pine cone, smear peanut butter all over it and then roll it in some cheap bird seed. Then hang it from a tree limb...or something else. Birds love it.... or at least the "southern" birds do!
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Old 01-24-2004, 12:18 PM
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What a cool idea. My mom gave my son some pine cones and I didn't really know what to do with them.
Off we go to buy cheap peanut butter!;-)
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Old 01-24-2004, 01:37 PM
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A good site for anything critter related:
http://www.enature.com/

another is:
http://www.birds-n-garden.com/wild_b...otographs.html
lacyj
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Old 01-24-2004, 02:29 PM
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Miss Kitty,
During the winter we take the grease can when its full and mix it with some bird seed, maybe p-nut butter etc. then put it outside. A homemade feast!
Make sure its really cold outside though or it turns into a gross mess.

Oh yes, just remembered another one. Tried this with 5yo neice last year and it worked out great. Unfortunately I don't rememeber the exact measurements-but you can just wing it (ha ha ha).

Gelatin (not jello) mixed with birdseed (more seed than gelatin). Pour into a mini bundt pan or some form that has a hole in the middle. Freeze. When solid unmold the feeder, put a ribbon through middle and hang outside.
Thats what the directions said. Personally I couldn't locate a mini pan with hole, so I recycled a suet tray and put the new "cake" in the suet feeder. Birds loved it.
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Old 01-31-2004, 06:49 AM
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Greetings!
I think it's wonderful that your son is interested in bird watching.
I have three children and one of those is 5 also. And in fact he loves to bird watch. Our family is very much interested in nature.
Making the pinecone feeders and making homemade suet are great ideas.. however I would encourage you to use ingred without additives etc. For instance.. use natural peanut butter instead of the processed kind made with all the sugar. In the wild birds eat sugars from berries and fruits but not our refined sugars. The peanut butter does offer a protein source.
Things that even a five year can learn is that different birds have different eating habits. For example: Cardinals are fruitivoirs eat seeds and berries and will eat from a feeder and some on the ground. Blue Jays are omnivoires and will eat insects and berries etc so they will eat from the ground and the feeders and Robins are insectovoirs so they will eat on the ground. Of course in cold weather if food is scarce you may see a slight crossing of feeding habits.
Not all birds eat seed. Do a bit of studying to figure out what type of birds you have in your area and what they like to eat and where. My son thinks this is fun. We watch the feeders pick out a bird and then look it up.
You might consider different types of feeding stations. Thistle is very popular among many birds but it is a bit expensive.
If you have a Wildbirds Unlimited in your area they may have some ideas.
Bird watching is a hobby that can last a lifetime and be a wonderful family activity.
You might also check your local 4H Clubs...sometimes they have info and ideas as well and a local Agricultultural Extension Agency. We have also bought pre cut bird houses and put them together and placed them in safe areas.
If you have cats in your area remember to place your feeders at least 6 ft above ground to keep the birds safe from harm.
Have fun!
Robin in NC
www.bunnyrabbits.org/southerncomfortrefuge/
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Old 01-31-2004, 06:59 AM
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I forgot to add that in the Spring and Summer not to forget your Hummingbirds. You can make a simple solution or buy some. Try to get the kind with less red or no coloring.
We also plant flowers/vines and butterfly bushes. If he likes birds he may well like butterflies. We fill our deck with all kinds of potted plants that draw hummers and butterflies. We can sit there and relax while having a wonderful experience watching the activity on the plants.
The kids love digging in the dirt and planting and then watching things grow. Mine each have their own "tools" and watering can.
Kid size. Maybe the Easter Bunny could bring some things?
And last but not least if you can offer the birds a bird bath. When winters are cold water sources can be hard to find if all the water is frozen.
Happy Bird Watching!
Robin in NC
www.bunnyrabbits.org/southerncomfortrefuge/
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Old 01-31-2004, 07:10 AM
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I couldn't find field guides that were affordable or that listed local flora and fauna. I made my own.... I researched local animal and plant species and copy and pasted relevant info.... printed on card stock.... covered with clear contact paper... punched a hole on the top left and bottom left corner for a key ring to hold it together ......... I also make packs out of old blue jeans, added some binoculars, snacks, specimen jars,(Old pill jars. labels removed) firstaid kit in an old pill bottle..... Sun block, a hat, and other needed things, we make walking sticks and now we have wonderful adventures......
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Old 01-31-2004, 08:05 AM
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Great ideas, thanks a lot.
Robin - we buy all organic so our peanut butter has no additives. One of the sites listed here earlier in the thread had a great section on planting for birds. I have my list made out and have been pouring over the garden catalogues I am starting to get in the mail.
Thanks again, my ds is loving all the new birds that are starting to come around.
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:52 AM
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bird watching is fun

Love to hear that you are helping your son
with the bird watching.
What a fun thing to do.
Kind of fun to become friends with nature.
You never know when one of those birds become
close to you.
I had a blue jay that adopted me one summer.
He would actually eat out of my hand.
When I was inside he would come to the kitchen window and ratt-a-tatt- tatt to let me know he wanted me.
When I would do my gardening he would follow me around.
Nature is a wonderful thing.
Enjoy.
Thanks to those of you that listed some wonderful websites that I could look at.
Was fun.
Take care and have fun.
luvsbirds
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