Easy Birdwatching With Kids

If you have a window, you have a portal into easy birdwatching with your kids. Children are fascinated by nature. Here are some tips, resources, activities, and even a simple journal you can use with your kids as you watch birds in your backyard (or out exploring the world together.)

Image of a red cardinal with the title "Easy Birdwatching with kids" underneath

Birdwatching Tips To Make it Easy & Enjoyable

Getting started birdwatching with kids (or birding as it’s known officially) can be a little overwhelming. There are so many birds to see and know! Here is some advice as you get started:

1) Learn the common birds in your area. In many places, birds like the American crow, Common Raven, black capped chickadee, blue jay, and American Robin are a great place to start! It will help you gain confidence to be able to recognize the more common birds that you are most likely to see.

2) Try to find the times and places where birds are most likely going to be found. Go when birds are most active, if possible. Mornings are best. Spring and fall migration times are going to have a greater variety in many areas. Check a variety of areas, like forest, waterways, beaches. Look up high and look down low.

3) Try to stay quiet and still, if possible! Sudden movements and noises can scare away the bird you are observing. Yes, this is hard to do with kids, especially young children. But worth a try.

4) Try to remember everything you can about the bird you saw if you are unsure what it is. Was it robin-sized? Sparrow sized? What colours did you see? Where was it (water, forest, etc?) These tips will help ID the bird. You can even ring along a camera if you have one. Even a not-so-great photo is better than nothing when trying to ID the bird later at home.

5) Seek out birders in your area to ask for help or tips. Our local area has a Facebook page for local birders. People post photos and ask for ID help. Ask at the local library. Someone there might be able to point you in the right direction, or at least show you where some great bird books are! Sometimes libraries host birding workshops, too!

6) Use a good bird field guide or website for identification help.

Recommended Birdwatching Books

This section contains affiliate links.

One of the most recommended books to easily identify books is the Peterson’s Guide to Birds. There are different variations based on where you live in North America which focus specifically on the birds that you are likely to see in your area.

Book cover for Peterson's Field Guide to Birds of North America

North America Eastern & Central North AmericaWestern North America

But there are plenty of books out there which are specifically helpful for kids who are studying birds. Here are our top recommendations.

National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America, Second Edition 
By Jonathan Alderfer

National Geographic Kids books never disappoint! I love their books.

My First Book of Canadian Birds
By Andrea Miller and Angela Doak

If you have a very young and bird-curious child, check out our review of My First Book of Canadian Birds. It’s a simplistic introduction to common Canadian birds with great artwork. Great for preschool and kindergarten.

Backyard Birding for Kids: An Introduction to Ornithology
By Erika Zambello

This book is recommended for ages 6-12. A great introduction to birding!

Audobon Birding Adventures for Kids
by Elissa Wolfson and Margaret A. Barker


Another great intro to birding as well as many hands-on activities!

Helpful Birding Websites – Especially for Birdwatching with Kids

The best birdwatching reference website available is the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. They offer information about birds in general and resources to help you identify the birds you see. But they also have other resources like

Another handy website about birdwatching for kids is Audobon. On this website, you will find art lessons, crafts, games, information, downloadable reference booklets, and much more.

Here in Canada we also have BirdsCanada – an organization that offers courses, training, and resources for anyone interested in birding. For kids, they offer virtual field trips, educator resources, and an activity gallery.

Merlin Bird ID App

Cornell has also created Merlin – a wizard to help you identify the birds you see and hear. It asks questions for you to answer, compares the sounds you hear with their database, and allows you record your sightings.

Easy DIY Pinecone Birdfeeders

Feeding birds in your backyard can be as simple as using black oil sunflower seeds or as complex as creating a birdfeeder out of whatever materials you have available.

Here is an easy birdfeeder to make with your kids. You will need:

  • an opened pinecone (if you can’t find any locally, you can buy some: Natural Pinecones.)
  • peanut or other nut butter
  • bird seed
  • twine

Step 1: Tie the twine around the top of your pinecone to create a string which you can hang it with. Depending on how you plan to hang it, you can create a loop or leave it open to tie around a branch, etc. later.

Step 2: Pour some bird seed onto a plate or bowl.

Step 3: Smear peanut butter onto the open area of the pinecone. It doesn’t matter if it’s “too much” because more means more sticky areas for bird seed. You can even shove some into the openings.

Step 4: Hold onto the top and bottom of your pinecone with your fingers and roll the peanut butter pinecone into the birdseed until it is covered.

Step 5: Hang it outside somewhere to attract birds and get watching!

Birding Themed Games

Games can be a great way to get kids involved in learning, while keeping it fun! Here are 3 games that are a great addition to any study on birds!

What Bird Am I? This Game Features North American Birds. Recommended for ages 14 and up. Lots of fun to quiz your bird knowledge and learn more!

Professor Noggin’s Birds of North America Trivia Game. Recommended for ages 7 and up. Who doesn’t like Professor Noggins Trivia Games? They are a lot of fun for the whole family.

Impact Photographics Memory Card Game. Recommended for ages 3 and up (especially if you use only some of the card pairs first so its not so overwhelming.) Features North American birds and a fun memory match! The cards are sturdy and the photographs are beautiful. This is a high quality memory-match game. This game is so much fun for young children!

Wingspan. Recommended for ages 14 and up. This game features North American birds. It is a fun, educational, strategy game with beautiful, full colour bird art on the cards. Highly recommend!

The Great Backyard Bird Count

Every February 17-20, you can participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count. People from all over the world participate in a multi-day birdwatching event to record what types of birds they see where they live. To participate, simply pick a place where it’s going to be easy to birdwatch with your kids. This could simply be out your backyard window! You only need to commit to 15 minutes each day (or at least once during the 4 day period) to observe and record the birds that you see and hear on the Merlin app, eBird app, or on the website.

Free Kids’ Birdwatching Journal

If you are taking up birdwatching with kids, you might want a way for them to record the birds they observe. One way to do that is with a journal. Here is a freebie you can print out and staple together into a booklet. If you can print two on a page (and then print both front and back!), it will be even easier.

Bird Observation Journal


Enjoy the experience of looking out your window and birdwatching with your kids. We’ve had a wonderful time watching the birds around our home – from baby Robins to a Snowy Owl pooping on our play structure roof. It creates memories and an appreciation for nature around us.

Lisa Marie Fletcher
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