Long Island is “for the Birds!” Families and Bird Watching
One of the easiest and enjoyable activities to share with your children is bird watching. Taking time to observe our feathered friends while at the park, on the beach, or even in your backyard gives families the opportunity to increase their appreciation for nature and its cycles. Even if you can’t tell a cardinal from a blue jay, there are numerous guides for determining types of birds, both online and here at the Library. Most birding organizations offer tips and advice as to how to engage children and teens in discovering the beauty and habits of our feathered friends. For instance, recent scientific research has determined that birds are closely related to dinosaurs, so perhaps you can draw in reluctant participants with this fact to promote observation and discussion. Out on a trail, you can make your walk into a competition to see who can spot and name the most birds. And at one local Long Island preserve Elizabeth A. Morton Wildlife Refuge, chickadees will land on your hand to eat seeds—now that’s getting close to nature!
Just remember not to feed birds at the park with bread…it’s not good for them. Also, remember that ducks, geese, and swans are wild creatures, and can become aggressive, especially if their young are nearby. Seagulls show no fear of humans if there’s food involved and large numbers of them will swoop in and surround you if you deliberately feed them. Please be cautious.
With that in mind, here are a list of links, blogs and Facebook pages about activities that revolve around families and birds:
June Outdoor Program at Brookside
When: Thursday, June 15, 2017
Time: 6:00 pm Rain or Shine
Place: Great South Bay Audubon Society's Headquarters - Brookside County Park - 59 Brook Street, Sayville, NY
Program Description: Our program this year will be presented by members of Quogue Wildlife Refuge. They will discuss the adaptations of various birds of prey that allow these animals to be such incredible hunters. Find out why they live at the Wildlife Center and learn about their role in the wild. You might see a screech owl, a barn owl and maybe even a great horned owl. You won't want to miss it! This program is free, open to the public and will be held rain or shine. There will be a raffle and refreshments. Bring a blanket and/or chair. Parking is also available in the High School Parking lot across the street. Hope to see you there!
- This is a brochure for the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center in Oyster Bay detailing their "For The Birds!" Program - an 8 week elementary education program.
- Here you’ll find samples of bird calls to help you find birds by sound, as well as sight.
- A site with several galleries of images that will help to identify local birdlife and migratory species, along with some other wildlife.
- This magazine’s website has beautiful images of birds that will have you longing to find them. A free identification guide can be downloaded.
- Here’s a blog about bird feeders, with some informative links within.
- Educators and homeschoolers, please note that common core science standards are met by this lesson plan using Look Up! : Bird-watching in your Own Backyard by Annette Cate
(available here at the Library).
- LI Birds.com on Facebook will let you share pictures and stories of your birding adventures.
- The Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island provides information about coastal and pelagic birds of Long Island. It also conducts seal walks and whale-watching cruises, and has information about sea turtles found in New York waters.
- The Long Island Pine Barrens offer some of the best birding on Long Island. You’ll also find a link there to the Brookhaven National Laboratory bird watching checklist that you can download and print to bring along on walks.
- The Cornell Lab of Ornithology gives outdoor nature tips, and includes educational resources, workshops, and webinars.
- National Geographic has a spectacular page that allows you to download an app for your iPhone or iTouch that is especially useful for beginners.
Also, for a great craft that will “Build A Better World”- our Summer Reading Club theme - for our feathered friends, the Islip Public Library Children’s Department will be offering a program that gives kids ages 8 - 12 the opportunity to decorate birdhouses with (bird) edible materials! Program will take place on Friday, July 28th, 3:00- 4:00 PM. Please register beginning July 5th.
And come visit us to checkout our display of non-fiction and stories dedicated to all kinds of birds.