by Cliff Bennett 
613-798-6295
bennett@magma.ca

Here’s how it will work.

What you will need is a pencil and a small notebook. Binoculars are helpful if you have a pair. A bird identity book is even more useful. Mr. Eades, editor of the Millstone, will help you tap into apps that you can download on your smartphone.

Hi kids, who can identify this bird and tell me what is its spring call saying?

In your notebook, you should have columns for the date, the name of the bird, where you saw it and how many you saw.

For example, March 19; Canada geese (about 500), on the fairgrounds and in the river, in Almonte. Every time you go birding, make a new list, even if you see the same birds each day.

At the end of the day, or any convenient time, send me your list and date and I will enter it in an article called “Birding For Kids”, which will appear regularly in the Millstone. My contacts are listed above.

I will also start a new listing of your observations on my computer.

At the end of this programme, which will happen when you go back to school, I will publish a complete list of your observations.

Where can you go birding?

Start in your or your neighbour’s back yard, or any other yard which has feeders. Be sure you don’t trespass on private property without permission. Have your parents or caregiver take you out to the new MVFN observation platform and tower at the Almonte Lagoon. The Riverwalk trail in Carleton Place has an abundance of river and shorebirds. See if you can get a copy of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalist’s Birding Guide. It tells you of many places your folks can go for a drive in Lanark County to see birds.

And finally, and most important. Realize that the real reason you are not in school is because we are under threat of a worldwide pandemic called coronavirus. Keep clear of other people and wash you hands thoroughly when you come home.

Phone or email me if you have any questions.


Birding apps and websites

Brent Eades

If you have a smartphone it can be very useful for identifying the birds you see. Here are some apps for that I recommend.

Merlin
Cornell Lab of Ornithology

This free app asks you to answer some questions about the bird’s shape, size, colours, etc, then shows a list of possible matches. Easy to use.

Audubon Bird Guide
Audubon Society

Also free and works very much like the Merlin app. Has an extensive library of bird calls and songs.

All About Birds website
Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Don’t have a smartphone? Cornell’s excellent birding site lets you ID birds online.