There could not be a better truism … doughnuts are a magical birding good, particularly if you are taking a five year old granddaughter on her first birding expedition. With more and more children growing up in huge urban areas, it is the responsibility of those of us who are fortunate enough to live with easily accessible wilderness to help the next generation learn an appreciation for the natural world.
Mya, one of my four grandchildren, just spent a week with us here on the edge of Duluth. Prior to taking her out birding I had scouted locations which were likely to result in a successful birding expedition both in terms of easily seeing birds, and providing enjoyment for a five year old. The mouth of the Lester River on Lake Superior was just the ticket for Mya and me. I knew birds would be present without much difficulty in terms of access, and we could also always spend time of the stone beach throwing rocks into the lake.
Mya (and me) had a great time. My friendly Merlins perched on dead tree branches where they were easily viewed. In addition, a bird which normally spooks easily, Belted Kingfishers, actually provided us easy views. Finally, on the way home we stopped off at the grocery store and purchased fresh doughnuts. After all … good birding always ends with doughnuts!
There has been a nice response to this post. I decided I should expand my approach on some of the ways I am teaching the next generation about birding. The first item is fairly obvious, easily viewable bird feeders. All my grandchildren love watching birds from inside our home. Viewing can be short and enjoyable … 30 Seconds!
In addition, for Christmas last year I was given “Birding Bingo”. This game has become a favorite, and only costs $12 via Amazon. Here is a screenshot. My grandkids don’t care much about winning, but warning … they like to fill the entire board! There are different versions of this game, but I like the one by Lucy Hammett Games … good “local” birds.