The coronavirus pandemic is turning our lives upside down, and many of us can’t get outside and see birds the way we’d like and have the birding blues, so intoBirds put together a list of things people who love birds can share together while we’re apart.
We get it. Nesting season is here.
Migratory birds are returning from their long winter journey.
Earth Day is right around the corner.
And what about World Migratory Bird Month in May.
If you live near a forest preserve or hiking trail, then you can still get out and explore the grandeur of birds and nature.
But, if you’re stuck inside, or isolated to your backyard, here are a few things you can do with your family to feel connected with birds and nature to beat the birding blues.
10 Ideas to Beat the Birding Blues
1- Clean out your bird feeders and birdhouses
Get them ready to welcome new visitors and seasonal tenants.
You never know what migratory birds might stop by, and each day offers a new adventure.
2 – Feed the birds and enjoy seeing backyard visitors
Fill your bird feeders, grab your binoculars, and camera, and enjoy seeing birds in your yard.
People who watch birds from their homes have a lower risk of depression, stress, and anxiety compared to people who live in areas with fewer birds.
Do your part for citizen science and share your bird sightings with the Cornell Lab’s Project Feeder Watch and NestWatch.
Share your images on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Be sure to tag them #intobirds because we love seeing your pics and re-sharing hem.
3 – Keep a bird journal
Detail all the birds you’re seeing at your feeders and on hikes. Include personal drawings, sketches, or watercolors for future reference.
IntoBirds has a line of wood laser-engraved journals in our Etsy store.
We take our bird journal wherever we go to keep notes in the moment.
4 – Watch live bird cams of nesting birds or online wildlife programs
If you can’t get outside, there are plenty of sources for bringing the birds to you.
Some of our favorite live bird cams from around the world include:
–San Francisco Bay Osprey Cam brought to you by the Golden Gate Audubon Society.
–Cornell Feeder Watch Cam at Sapsucker Woods in Ithaca, New York.
–Bald Eagle Nesting Cam at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge near Vian, Oklahoma.
-Cornell Lab’s Panama Fruit Feeder Cam at Canopy Lodge, Panama.
-Explore’s Bald Eagles Cam at Santa Cruz Island, California.
-Cornell Lab’s Bermuda Petrel Cam at Nonsuch Island.
-Wild Bird’s Unlimited/Cornell Lab’s Barred Owls Cam.
–Hanover Bald Eagles Cam in Hanover, Pennsylvania.
Another great option is watching a live wildlife presentation by a wildlife educator.
Our favorite wildlife rehabilitator and educator is Christine Peyreigne of Christine’s Critters of Weston, Connecticut.
Christine is keeping kids connected to nature by offering informative 1-hour presentations through Facebook Live featuring birds of prey and reptiles.
The virtual programs provide daily science lessons to entertain and educate kids during the coronavirus crisis.
5 – Play bird-related games to sharpen your birding skills
We love Wingspan, a highly competitive, card-driven board game.
We refer to it as Risk for birders.
You need to build and manage a bird nature preserve, and it takes more strategy than you think.
Gather 1-5 players, rely on your bird knowledge, and if you have the most points after 4 rounds, then you’re the winner.
Don’t overpay for this game. Amazon sellers offer this game for $137.97, but you can find it from other sellers for $50 or less.
Another game we enjoy is What Bird Am I? educational trivia game.
The game features more than 300 photo cards with facts serving as clues to help identify the bird.
The cards are broken up into three levels of difficulty so you can hone your skills and progress.
We think this bird trivia game is terrific for helping new birders learn how to identify bird species and learn important characteristics of each species.
Pick up What Bird Am I? from Amazon. ($32.49)
6 – Do a bird puzzle
Our favorite puzzles and some of the most challenging are made by Eurographics Puzzles.
The World of Birds 2000 piece puzzle ($29.99) is quite challenging and will keep your attention for a few weeks.
Best of all, the drawings are by David Sibley.
Read out review of this puzzle here.
Another favorite is the Birds of Prey and Owls 1000 piece puzzle ($17.99).
This puzzle isn’t as challenging as The World of Birds, but it’s a close second.
7 – Make bird origami art
Everyone has paper, so look up instructions for making your favorite paper bird and have some fun.
We love the Bird Origami collection by Seth Friedman.
It includes a book of 20 origami birds to create with diagrams of the folds and 100 sheets of specially designed paper for the projects.
The special paper gives color, design, and personality to your origami birds.
8 – Make LEGO birds
Who doesn’t love playing with LEGOS!
Last year visiting Wild Birds Unlimited in Fairfield, Connecticut, a LEGO Blue Jay caught our eye.
Since our logo is of a Blue Jay, we had to find that kit.
The kit is out of production, but after Googling it online, several vendors are selling this retired kit for $75.
The LEGOS Ideas Birds is a fun kit for creating 3 fabulous birds.
-Colibri thalassinus, the Green Violetear, a medium-sized member of the hummingbird family.
-Erithacus rubecula, the European Robin.
-Cyanocitta cristata, the Blue Jay.
9 – Read a book about birds
There are so many books about birds, and the choices are limitless.
The standard bird field guides are great reading, including the Peterson Field Guide and The Sibley Field Guide to Birds.
Reading these field guides is like watching the movie, The Shawshank Redemption.
You always pick up something you missed before.
Some other great books to check out include:
–Birding at the Bridge by Heather Wolf. Read our story about spending a morning birding with Heather Wolf here.
–H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
–Birds of a Feather by Lorin Lindner
–What the Robin Knows by Jon Young
–The New York Pigeon Behind the Feathers by Andrew Garn
–Bird Brain: An Exploration of Avian Intelligence by Nathan Emery. Read our review about Bird Brain here.
–Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird by Katie Fallon
–The Delightful Horror of Family Birding by Eli J. Knapp. Read our review of this book here.
–Bird Note: Chirps, Quirk, and Stories of 100 Birds from the Popular Public Radio Show
-Beauty and the Beak by Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkamp. Read our story about Beauty and the Beak here.
10 – Take an online class about birds
To help improve our bird journaling, we’re taking a Cornell Lab Bird Academy Course – Nature Journaling and Field Sketching.
Online classes are an excellent way to sharpen your skills in activities you enjoy the most.
Cornell Labs offers a variety of courses in the Bird Academy, and you’ll find something that grabs your interest.
And of course, when you want to see or read about birds, visit our website often.
We share photos, original stories, and news about birds, so stop by often.
Don’t let being cooped up get you down.
Turn whatever plot of grass at your disposal into your personal birding patch.
Make bird feeders and birdhouses out of your household supplies, find some poles, and get bird seed and create your backyard bird sanctuary.
Don’t forget the binoculars.
And please share photos of everything over social media so we can stay connected.
Beat the Birding Blues By Being Thankful the Birds are Here
Although our lives are changing due to unforeseen circumstances, take solace that the birds are still there for our viewing pleasure to lift our spirits and make us feel normal.
If you can get outside to walk, hike or birdwatch, please be sure to practice social distancing.
Otherwise, please stay inside safe until this storm passes.