Birding, also known as bird-watching, is a fun activity for kids and adults of all ages.
Birding for Kids! Children will love this list of bird-watching activities and lessons for kids from toddlers to teens. Watching and observing birds of many different feathers is an educational outdoor wildlife activity for young and old alike. You might also enjoy this list of Outside Learning Activities for Kids.
Birdwatching is a great way to study nature at home and in the wild. Invite children to observe birds with the naked eye or with binoculars and telescopes to discover the wonderful world of birds in the air, on land, and in water. Get this bundle of bird-watching printables to make it easy to count the number of birds you see, and record your birding observations and experiences in the natural world.
Both kids and adults love to observe and identify birds for fun and to learn more about them. Scroll down to find a list of birding or birdwatching activities and lessons for preschoolers, kindergarteners, elementary-aged kids, tweens, teens–and adults too! Or, look at this list of squirrel facts and learning ideas for kids.
Birding for Kids
Birdwatching is a great way to study nature in your own backyard–and in local, national, and state parks–and nature reserves. Kids and adults love observing and identifying birds to learn more about them. You might also enjoy learning more about Nature Study for Kids.
Benefits of Bird Watching
Birding is a lifelong hobby that has many educational rewards for young and old alike. For example, this list of birding or bird-watching activities and lessons for kids can help children (or adults) learn about birds and increase their knowledge about the many types or species of birds native to their environment and the world beyond.
Another benefit of birding for kids is that the best bird watching happens outdoors. In other words, this list of birding activities can help get kids outside to create a connection with the natural world and the secrets that it shares. You might also enjoy this list of outdoor activities for kids and adults–>Get Outside and Connect.
And best of all, backyard birdwatching allows children to search for answers to the questions that matter most to them and take charge of their education. So, this backyard birdwatching post is updated with the latest and greatest birding ideas and activities for kids–and the adults that act as their teachers, guides, and fellow nature explorers. Bookmark this page and check back to see what’s new!
Best Bird-Watching Activities for Kids and Adults
First, grab the recommended bird-watching supplies for kids from the list below. Then use the list of recommended supplies and birdwatching activities with the list of birdwatching ideas to get kids started with birding in their backyard, in your local park, and outdoors in nature.
One of the best times of the year to watch birds is late winter and early spring–because most birds can be spotted migrating north to return home. And you just might get lucky enough to see a few mating rituals.
I had a great time watching two male mockingbirds compete for the affections of a lady mockingbird out my office window one spring morning–but any day is an excellent day for birdwatching!
As a bonus, many birding activities make it easy to add literacy, math, and science into a child’s education at home or in the classroom. You might also enjoy searching for the signs of spring or this spring scavenger hunt for toddlers and preschoolers.
Related: Best Nature Study Supplies for Kids
18 Educational Birding Activities for Kids
Birding, also known as bird watching, is a great way to get kids outside to learn and have fun. Use this round-up of birding activities to spark a child’s interest in nature and science, and lead them to ask even more questions about the big wide world that surrounds them.
Invite children to observe bird behavior in their backyard, schoolyard, neighborhood, or park with these fun birdwatching activities for kids (and adults!). Start by watching birds in your yard. Next, head out into your local community by visiting parks and nature reserves. Finally, encourage children to record their observations in nature journals or birding logs.
1. Gather Must-Have Bird-Watching Supplies and Learning Resources for Kids
Below is an essential list of birding supplies for kids and young birders with the latest and greatest bird-watching basics. We recommend beginning with at least one birding field guide or field journal. Choose one of the “birding basics” birdwatching items from each bullet point on the must-have birding supply list below, and you will be off to a great start.
We are constantly updating this “birding for kids” post with the newest educational birding books, backyard birdwatching supplies, and reference guides for children from toddlers to teens–and the adults that act as their teachers and guides. So, bookmark this page and check back to see what’s new!
Best birding supplies for kids:
Choose at least one item from each itemized bullet point:
- Real birding binoculars for kids, compact binoculars, or a monocular telescope to look for and spot birds in the backyard and in the wild.
- Peterson Field Guide to Birds or The Sibley Guide to Birds or Wildlife Guide to identify the birds you see.
- Bird-watching printables, beginning Birdwatcher’s Book, nature journal, or another children’s bird-watching journal or bird log to count the number of birds you see, and record your birding experiences in the backyard and wild spaces.
A few more Awesome but Optional Bird Watching Supplies:
- Colored pencils, watercolor pencils, or a portable watercolor set to draw the birds you see and create gorgeous nature journal entries.
- Backyard Birding Flashcards – 100 Common Birds of Eastern and Western North America
Once you have collected a pair of binoculars for birdwatching, and some other necessary birding supplies for kids from the list above, grab a few more of the fantastic birding resources and bird books from the list of bird-watching supplies for kids below.
2. Get Children Interested in Birding with Bird Books for Kids
Here’s a list of some of our favorite books about birds and birdwatching for kids to add to your collection of educational nature study resources.
Best Birding Books for Kids:
- Burgess Bird Book for Children – Parents, teachers, and young readers worldwide will enjoy learning about birds with this classic nature book featuring Peter Cottontail and his many feathered friends. Learn all about the life and habits of several varieties of birds in this book about birds for kids. This wonderful bird book shares information about different bird families that is written like a chapter book and told in the form of a story. (I recommend reading one chapter aloud to children daily as a part of your homeschool education. Next, read the Burgess Animal Book or the Burgess Seashore Book for Children–it’s a fantastic educational series for young and old alike.)
- Birds, Nests & Eggs – “A fun and informative take-along guide that will help children learn to identify 15 birds, and it features a few bird activities that are fun and easy to do.”
- National Geographic Kids: Bird Guide of North America – A birding book for kids from National Geographic’s bird experts.
- What’s it Like to Be a Bird – “A bird book for birders and nonbirders alike that will excite and inspire by providing a new and deeper understanding of what common, mostly backyard, birds are doing—and why!”
- Backyard Birding for Kids: An Introduction to Ornithology (Simple Introductions to Science) – With bird facts, an identification guide, and how-to instructions, this is a perfect children’s introduction to bird-watching.
3. Designate a Bird Watching Spot or Spots
Once you have gathered a few of the must-have birding supplies for kids on the list above, it’s time to create a bird-watching spot inside or outside of the home or classroom. We have one inside by the kitchen window where we keep our nature journal with our bird-watching printables, bird field guides, and a pair of binoculars standing by.
And when we want to look for birds in the backyard, we have chairs and a table set up that makes it easy to bring our birding supplies outdoors. Because it just so happens that the sliding door to the backyard is right next to the birding supplies we keep on the kitchen counter. Having supplies and a spot readily available makes bird watching an easy daily learning activity in our home.
4. Enjoy Backyard Birdwatching
Bird-watching is a great way to study nature in your backyard! Our family loves watching various birds in our yard and garden from the windows of our house and in our yard. We call out to the sparrows, finches, jays, mockingbirds, warblers, chickadees, and other birds we see from our windows when we spy on them in our birdfeeders, and we even call some by name.
Backyard bird-watching is a fun activity for all ages. Both kids and adults love to observe birds and learn more about them. Download and print your favorite bird-watching printables, or choose from any of the fun birding activities listed below to get started!
Educators and their students can also do many backyard birdwatching activities for kids in the schoolyard, a nearby meadow, hiking trail, pond, or at the local park if you don’t have a backyard or patio that will work.
5. Make Your Backyard Bird-Friendly
One of the best ways to bring birds into your backyard or onto your patio, and help them thrive, is to create a bird-friendly environment or habitat. Making or providing backyard bird feeders, standing or hanging birdbaths, and birdhouses are a few easy ways you can make your backyard or patio more bird-friendly.
Our wild backyard bird friends seem to prefer the hanging platform or tray bird feeders with sunflower seeds, thistle sock bird feeders, and suet cake feeders. And our hummingbird friends love our glass hummingbird feeders. But there are lots of other fantastic bird-feeding options, so a few more excellent recommendations are on the list below.
Best Hanging Tray Birdfeeders and Birdbaths:
- Hanging Tray Feeder Platform (Mesh)
- Wild Bird Feeder (Squirrel proof tube)
- Fly-Through Hanging Bird Feeder with Covered Roof & Aluminum Mesh Seed Tray
- Standing Bird Bath (We love and use this in our backyard because it’s easy to clean, looks like real metal, and our wild bird friends LOVE it!)
- Hanging Solar Powered Bird Bath or Bird Feeder for Outside
Another simple way to bring birds into your backyard is with native plants, colorful flowers, or a garden filled with trees and plants that help birds thrive. Learn how to make your backyard bird-friendly with THESE helpful tips from The Audubon Society.
6. Turn Your Yard, Garden, or Patio into a Certified Wildlife Habitat
Another bird-friendly option is to certify your backyard, patio, or garden as a wildlife habitat with the National Wildlife Federation.
Anyone can create a welcoming haven for local wildlife. Turning your yard, balcony container garden, schoolyard, work landscape, or roadside greenspace into a Certified Wildlife Habitat® is fun, easy, and can make a lasting difference for wildlife.The National Wildlife Federation
How to Get Certified as a Wildlife Habitat: Visit the Natural Wildlife Federation to look at THIS informative guide and get started today!
7. Learn to Identify Birds in the Backyard, Park, and Wild Nature Spaces
Learning how to identify birds is a fun outdoor learning activity for kids from preschoolers to teens. So if you have ever heard the question, “What’s that bird?” Or if you have ever wondered about the birds in your neighborhood, or, found yourself curious about the pair of wings floating through the sky above you, it’s time to invest in a pair of birding binoculars and a good bird book to help children try this fun birding activity!
My daughter loves to grab her birding binoculars each time she sees a bird in the backyard. We have learned to keep them near the back door next to her nature notebook to avoid the disappointment of the bird being gone by the time she returns. And today, she has a great working understanding of the local birds that frequent our backyard, local parks, and wild natural spaces.
How to Identify Birds:
Teaching yourself how to identify birds is one of the best ways to learn more about them. This birding activity can keep children busy for hours as they attempt to identify the birds they see and look up the birds they don’t know in a bird field guide.
Don’t forget to take birding binoculars, a monocular telescope, and a birding field guide (or two) when you head to the park, nature reserve, or out on a hike into the great outdoors.
The National Audubon Society has an online guide to help children identify birds that you can find HERE. All about birds also has an excellent online bird guide that you can find HERE. In addition, a few of our favorite bird books and birding field guides for kids and adults are on the list below. (You will notice that a few of these birding books for kids are also included in our recommended basic birding supplies and our favorite birdwatching books and learning resources for kids.)
The Best Bird Field Guides for Children and Adults:
- Wildlife Guide – Birds and butterflies, ferns and frogs, mushrooms and manta rays, seashells and salamanders—this fantastic book includes more than 2,000 plants and animals of all types and is a beautiful all-around essential field guide for kids.
- Peterson Field Guide to Birds – For decades, the Peterson birding guides have been the trusted guide for birders of all levels, thanks to its unparalleled illustrations and famous bird identification system.
- Backyard Birds (Field Guides for Young Naturalists) – This birding book is designed for the birdwatching beginner. It features the original art of celebrated naturalist Roger Tory Peterson and incorporates the Peterson Identification System–the most effective method for bird identification.
- The Sibley Guide to Birds – This excellent birding resource is used by millions of birders across the globe, from novices to the most advanced, “The Sibley Guide has become the standard by which natural history guides are measured.”
- Sibley’s Birding Basics is a comprehensive and beautifully illustrated guide to identifying birds in the field. This book is an essential companion for birders of all skill and experience levels.
- National Audubon Society Birds of North America – This comprehensive bird book for kids and adults is considered one of the most comprehensive and authoritative guides to the birds of North America. It includes the latest information on conservation status and the effects of climate change. From the world’s most trusted name in birding, Audubon’s guide is beloved by millions of backyard bird enthusiasts and birding experts worldwide.
8. Learn Basic Bird Anatomy with the Parts of a Bird Printable Worksheet
Before learning to identify birds, it’s a good idea to learn the parts of a bird. Learning basic bird anatomy makes it much easier for kids and adults to begin identifying the birds they see. Get the parts of a bird printable anatomy worksheet in the Rhythms of Play Learning Center to help kids learn which part is which!
9. Observe, count, and Record the Birds You See in the Backyard and in the Wild
Observing, counting, and recording birding observations is a fun and educational birding activity for kids. Here are a few simple bird-watching printables (including a bird-watching journal, bird-watching log book observation page, a bird-watching tally chart, bird life list, parts of a bird anatomy worksheet, and a bird count checklist) to help young naturalists learn to identify birds, count the birds they see, and record their birding experiences in the backyard and in the wild.
Backyard Bird Watching Observation Activity
This bundle of bird-watching printables is an excellent nature study resource for kids and adults alike. The printable birding log book pages can help you count and record the number of birds you observe each day, week, or month. So we like to keep them in our homemade nature journals.
- First, use a three-hole paper punch to make holes in the printable bird-watching log and journal pages you like best, and put them in a homemade nature notebook.
- Next, use the printable bird-watching tally sheet or checklist to count and record the number and variety of birds you correctly identify. (Simply write the names of the most common birds you see in the backyard, park, etc. in the column on the left, and use the tally or checklist to count the number of birds you see each day, week, or month.)
- Add each bird you correctly identify to your printable bird life list.
- And finally, record bird observations and experiences in your bird-watching journal or bird log.
10. Participate in Bird counts Such as the Great Backyard Bird Count and Global Big Day.
There are a few fun bird-counting events and festivals that my family loves to participate in. For example, the Great Backyard Bird Count is held annually in the second week of February. Every year, people come together to watch, learn about, count, and celebrate birds for the great backyard bird count.
And today, it’s easier than ever to join the backyard bird counting fun because there are two fantastic birding apps you can use to count the birds you see (or hear) and record them for the great backyard bird count; Merlin and eBird.
Another bird counting event called the “Global Big Day” occurs on World Migratory Bird Day on May 13, 2023. Learn more about joining either of these fun citizen science projects below.
How to Join Bird Counting Citizen Science Projects:
- Join the Great Backyard Bird Count by counting and recording the number of birds you see and correctly identify in the backyard, local park, nature reserves, and wild outdoor spaces. Submit multiple checklists for even more fun! The next great backyard bird count is February 16-19, 2024. Learn more about this fun birding event–> HERE.
- Become a member of birding’s biggest team of bird enthusiasts by counting and recording the birds you see or hear on Global Big Day–May 13, 2023. Like the Great Backyard Bird Count, you can join this fun birding event wherever you are. Celebrate World Migratory Bird Day, and learn how to participate in this global bird counting event–> HERE.
11. Learn to Name that Bird by Birdcall or Song
Encourage children to learn to identify the bird birdcalls of the species of birds that live in your area. Learning bird calls and songs is a great way to identify birds that hide in dense foliage and birds that come out at night. This birdcall identification activity can also help children and adults learn to identify birds that look alike but may not sound alike. A few fantastic bird language books for use at home, outdoors, or in the classroom are on the list below.
Books, Audio, and DVDs with Bird Language Basics:
- Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song
- What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World
- Bird Language Groups with Jon Young DVD
- Sibley’s Birding Basics: How to Identify Birds, Using the Clues in Feathers, Habitats, Behaviors, and Sounds
Click–> to HEAR 50 common bird species and their sounds! And, learn more about how to identify bird songs and calls–including five essential tips for beginners–> HERE. Or, learn a few fun mnemonics for typical birdsongs with the National Audubon Society–> HERE.
Even Toddlers Can Learn to Identify Birdcalls!
Babies and toddlers love to imitate the sounds they hear from a young age and, thus, like to echo the bird sounds, bird calls, and bird songs they hear in the natural world around them. Help your toddler learn bird language basics with the fantastic birding nature study resource guides listed in the section above.
Our daughter’s favorite bird sounds to imitate are, of course, the woodpecker. She loves to exclaim rat-tat-tat-tat each time she hears or sees one pecking at a tree with its beak. She also enjoys coo-oo cooing gently with doves, squawking with blue jays, cawing at crows, hooting with owls, and quacking around with the local ducks.
12. Practice Bird “Listening” and identifying Outdoors
Another fun birding activity for kids (and adults) is to identify birds in your backyard or in the wild by their bird call, sound, or song. To practice bird listening, first use the resources in the section above to learn how to identify different bird sounds and calls. Next, listen to birds outside and attempt to identify them by the sound they make alone. And finally, do your best to “find” the bird with your eyes. It’s not always possible, but it sure is fun!
My daughter showed me that she could correctly identify geese honking in the sky from a great distance when she was only two years old! While out on a nature walk, she exclaimed, “geese!” I said, “What?” She loudly repeated, “GEESE!” I was about to squash her excitement and tell her that there were no geese when suddenly, I heard a faint honking in the sky!
We looked directly over our heads and saw a perfect “V” of geese flying so high–I was shocked that she was even able to hear them–let alone correctly identify them. And not only did she accurately identify what they were by the sound of their bird call. But she heard them honking through the sky long before I did! They were so high up; I had to pick her up in my arms and lay her horizontally so that she could see them! It was a proud mama and daughter birding moment that we thoroughly enjoyed.
13. Go on a bird Walk
Grab your nature study supplies and head outside on a bird walk, to practice identifying birds by sight or sound, or try one of the fun bird scavenger hunt ideas below.
14. Birding Scavenger Hunt Ideas
Here are a few bird scavenger hunt ideas my daughter and I came up with. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
Bird Counting Scavenger Hunt
You can do this fun and educational birding scavenger hunt in two different ways:
- Start by counting the number of bird species you can identify by sight or sound for the day, such as the number of wrens, goldfinches, cardinals, jays, or American robins you see–or hear.
- Or, add the number of birds you see or hear to the total number of birds you have seen of each species in your birdwatching or nature journal for the week, month, year, or lifetime.
Find That Bird Scavenger Hunt
Is there a bird you would love to see but haven’t yet? Then, head out on a scavenger hunt to find the bird, or birds, that continue to illude you with this fun bird-seeking activity:
- First, research the bird’s favorite habitat, food, bird call or sound, and waking and sleep patterns.
- Next, head out on an adventure in search of that bird!
- Once you find it (hear it or see it), take a picture of it if you can, and add the new bird you found to your printable bird life list!
Bird Feather Scavenger Hunt
Here is another fun birding scavenger hunt idea my daughter and I came up with:
- First head outside to search for feathers in your backyard, neighborhood, local park, or out on a nature hunt in the great outdoors.
- Next, challenge the kids to use a bird field guide or a book titled Bird Feathers: A Guide to North American Species to identify which bird each feather came from.
- And finally, record the types of bird feathers you find, put them in a pocket or pencil pouch dedicated to bird feathers in your nature journal, or keep a few of your favorite bird feathers in a vase on your nature table.
Related: Nature Sensory Bin Scavenger Hunt
15. Draw or Paint Birds
Another fun birding activity for kids, and a great way to learn more about them, is to spend time drawing or painting them.
Drawing and painting birds can help anyone learn more about them. Try any of the “How to Draw Birds” books on the list below. We love and recommend “The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds,” it’s a favorite in our homeschool art room.
Best Books About How to Draw Birds:
- The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds
- How to Draw Amazing Birds from Songbirds to Birds of Prey
- How to Draw Birds: A Step-by-Step Guide for Realistic Drawing Projects
- Drawing: Birds: Learn to draw step by step (How to Draw & Paint)
16. Take Pictures of Birds
Taking a picture of a bird makes it possible to use a birding field guide to figure out what it is later instead of attempting to identify an unfamiliar bird in the wild.
So, if birding is an activity you or your children enjoy, consider investing in photography lessons and a good camera with a telephoto lens or a cell phone camera lens kit. You may find that you want to capture pictures of your bird friends, the birds you meet along the way, and rare captures worthy of the birding photography wall.
17. Make a Birds Nest Birding Activity for Kids
Creating a bird’s nest is a fun STEAM challenge for kids preschool age and up. Invite children to make a bird’s nest as a fun and educational birding activity for kids.
First, encourage children to head outside, searching for items a bird would use to make a nest. You might want to remind the kids that many birds don’t build their nests in trees, and some don’t build a nest at all. So, please encourage them to think creatively before starting this nest-building activity.
Next, invite them to use the natural materials they collect to make a bird’s nest. Nest building is a self-motivated activity for our daughter; she has been making bird nests from nature’s scraps since she was a toddler. One of her many nests is pictured below. She has also fashioned a few nests in hollow logs and some great ground nests in clumps of tall grass over the years.
18. Study a Bird or Species of Birds (Conduct a Bird Study)
Once children become interested in birding and all the birds they hear and see around them, a great way to extend their learning is to study a particular bird or species of bird.
Spend time observing it in its natural habitat, look it up in your birding books and field guides, head to the library searching for information, and do a google search for fun ways to learn more. “When we follow our children’s interests, they are much more interested in learning.”
Hatching chicks and tending a small flock of chickens is a great educational birding activity for homeschoolers. As a toddler, and still today at 10 years old, our daughter is extremely fond of her fowl friends. She loved tending to and playing with the chicks and hens we keep in our coop and free-ranging in our backyard.
Collecting eggs and giving them food and water are jobs she thoroughly enjoys. She is even known to herd them toward the vegetation they like and find bugs for them to eat. Just look at how happy she is with the chicken in the picture below.
Educational Birding Resources for Children
A few more excellent educational birding resources for children are listed below.
Best Bird-Watching Printables for Kids and Adults
If you haven’t already, get this amazing bundle of bird-watching printables on the list below for one low price–> HERE! Or purchase your favorite printable birding journal from the list below:
- Printable Bird Life List
- Bird Watching Log Book Observation Sheet
- Printable Bird Watching Journal Sheet
- Bird Watching Tally Chart
- Parts of a Bird Printable Bird Anatomy Worksheet
- Bird Watching Checklist
Educational Birding Games and Activities for Children Bundle
Study birds with children while playing games, working on crafts, completing STEM challenges, and doing other hands-on activities at home, or in the classroom, with THIS educational birding bundle for kids from Adventure in a Box. With the bundle, the students can explore:
- Birds’ plumage and dimorphism in birds
- The diversity of the birds, as well as their distinctive features
- Birds’ eggs and parenting habits
- 48 different species of bird
- Birds’ houses and engineering skills
The combination of pictures, icons, and limited language in most games and activities within the birding bundle makes the lesson plans suitable for preschool through middle school children. Enjoy exploring the world of birds at home, or in the classroom, with THIS fun and educational birding bundle for kids!
Birding Lessons and Learning Activities for Kids
Learn more about birds, their habitats, and much more with lessons tailored to students from Kindergarten through 12th grade from The Cornell Lab.
From free curricula to all-inclusive kits, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a wide variety of lessons and activities to captivate learners of all grade levels.The Cornell Lab
Related: Spring Books for Kids
More Outdoor Activities for Kids
- Outdoor Learning and Nature Activities for Kids
- Nature Study for Kids
- Planting Sunflowers with Kids
- Search for Signs of Spring
- Planting Spring Flowers with Kids
- Skipping Stones
- Rock Balancing and Stone Stacking Art