For my project, I decided to create a Kids Birding Program. I chose to go with this because when I think about birding, I think about adults who have a better understanding of their surroundings and a greater ability to take in information. They also may already have knowledge of birds and may have been birding for years. With kids, birds are something they see every day, but don’t always understand what they are truly seeing and even hearing. I wanted to create something that can get kids excited about learning and to get them outside and really focusing on the world above them.
The way I created this program was by first going birding myself to determine the most popular birds seen on the island. I also reached out to our conservation team to get some data from their own bird surveys. Once I collected the data I needed, I began to put the information down to start creating a kid’s birding booklet. The booklet is going to contain 9 of the most common birds seen year-round from each ecosystem around the island, plus the Painted bunting, which is only here during the summer. For the program, I have compiled a list of places throughout the island that are great for young birders to really explore and learn about all the amazing birds on Bald Head Island. The way it will run will be to focus on these specific birds and really teach kids to use their ears as well as their eyes to identify birds in nature, to help them identify birds by their calls, and to really appreciate nature as a whole.
My hope for the project is that it will inspire kids to develop love for our avian friends, and to understand how diverse the bird world really is. I also hope that this program will even help develop other fun bird activities around Bald Head Island. For example, maybe a kid’s birding club can come from the start of this program. There would be a weekly meeting place somewhere on the island where there would be a specific bird or group of birds that the leader of the club would teach the kids about and the kids would get to see.
Another hope that I have for this program would be that, maybe, some future Ornithologist can come from this program. As a kid, what really gave me my love and enthusiasm for animals and the outdoors was “The Crocodile Hunter”. I’m hoping that this program can really give a spark to kids and help them develop a love for all things outdoors, as Steve Irwin did for me. I hope this program will teach kids the importance of birds and to show how beautiful they really are.