January 30, 2013 —
I recently enjoyed observing a 9-year-old girl wake to the pleasures of bird watching. Joei Marie is the recipient of an introductory birding kit I purchased from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Using the birding log and identification materials included in the kit, Joei began her “life list” by observing the birds that visited our feeders.
The arrival of a mourning dove, followed by vigorous black-capped chickadees, dark-eyed juncos, blue jays, Northern cardinals, downy woodpeckers and other birds common to the region sparked the embers of curiosity in this young birder. A pair of binoculars heightened the sense of adventure and exploration as she inspected the birds, then pored over identification charts, researched information and drew pictures of each one.
In addition to this wonderful kit, the Cornell Lab also recently launched a new online information hub to connect young birders with a wealth of birding resources, as well as information on college and career opportunities (ebird.org/content/ybn).
The lab also hosts Project FeederWatch, in which thousands of individuals across North America count birds at their feeders from November through April and contribute data that is summarized in an annual report (https://store.birds.cornell.edu/Project_FeederWatch_s/42.htm).