Children are inquisitive and take great pleasure in identifying trees, plants, and especially birds.
As a child, I was blessed with a birding education by my father, who took pride in identifying every bird by sight and sound.
Over the years, he taught me to distinguish a hawk from a buzzard by its flight pattern, a dove from a blackbird on the wing, and to use the sounds that birds make to become a better hunter.
In the fall rifle season, the cry of a pileated woodpecker (shown here) is especially thrilling, since running or moving deer often cause it to fly and make its easily distinguishable alarm call. Whenever I hear a pileated, I put my finger on the safety and orient toward the sound.
Some birds send false signals, like the cardinal. Bowhunting in farmland country, I heard a nearby cardinal give its alarm sound with greater frequency as darkness approached. Was it the herald of an approaching buck? As time went on, I learned that cardinals, like young children, just don’t want to go to bed and always put up a fuss.
Carrying a birding book is one way to teach yourself and other to identify birds, yet The Birds of North America Online is a much more manageable and interesting way to identify birds. You not only get lots of interesting information about the species, but you can access multiple pictures of each bird, along with the sound that the bird makes. You can even access the database on your smartphone, so that you can take your birding encyclopedia to your favorite blind, tree stand, or campsite. It’s also great for curious young minds and can be a learning experience for you and your family.
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