Birding Part 1: Become a Birder in Your Own Backyard


Fun Fact: Did you know the study of birds is called Ornithology?

Birds come in all colors and sizes and make a variety of sounds. The best way to learn more is to get outside and observe them!




These are some tools you can use to become birdwatcher:

  • Field guide for birds or a Bird ID app on your phone*
  • A quiet place to sit in nature
  • A pencil and pad of paper


  • Binoculars can be helpful. Any pair in good condition can be used for birding.



Learn how to make your own pair of  “binoculars” on our next PPZ blog here!



Once you have all your gear, head out into nature! That could be your deck or anywhere in your yard. Be prepared to stay for a while! That could be 15 minutes or an hour. Bring a lawn chair, or maybe there is a fallen log nearby that you could sit on. Sit as quietly as you can. Birds will feel more comfortable to come close if they think you are just part of the environment.

Close your eyes for a minute. Listen for birds, you may hear a bird singing before you even see them. When you hear a bird, find them with your eyes or use your binoculars.

Pay close attention to the size, color, and habitat the bird is in. Are they doing a particular behavior?  All these observations will help you make an identification. Consult your field guide or birding app. Once you have identified the bird, write it on your paper. If you go back later to the same spot, are you seeing the same kinds of birds?

If you are birding with children, you could incorporate drawing and coloring into your bird watching. Have the little scientists draw a picture of the bird they saw. Read about birds and look up recordings of what the bird sounds like. Can you imitate the sound the bird makes? If sitting still is too much, take a walk around the neighborhood to look for birds.

*Some field guides are specifically for birds, like The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America or you can use a more general one for all wildlife. Bird Watching apps are an amazing resource too! Be sure to check out Merlin Bird ID and Song Sleuth: Auto Bird Song ID to help you ID birds in your neighborhood! These can be awesome tools to help you improve your birding skills!


Be sure to share your birding adventure with us by posting photos to our Facebook @PotterParkZoo