This week we traveled back to Little River Regional Park to learn about bird identification from park manager Mike DiFabio. As this is something that My Little Man and I know virtually nothing about, we were excited to find out more.
Mike began by teaching us about the basic ways that birds can be identified - visually, by their bodies, habitats, or nests, but also by the sounds they make or where they are found. He brought tools along to help us in our quest.
All of the children were excited to learn how to use these binoculars!
After learning the basics, we headed out on Little River's bird watching trail. Each child took binoculars and a special bird identification sheet that Mike had made for us.
The bird trail at Little River was carefully created to contain different types of trees, birdhouses, and a meadow, all to attract different birds. At this bench in the deciduous forest we stop to search for birds and identify the ones we can find. Mike uses a special tool that makes bird calls to identify the ones that we can hear but not see. The kids were all fascinated with this!
At this birdhouse Mike talked to us about the types of birds that make their homes in cavities and how to go about seeing if there's a bird inside. He showed us how to stand off to one side and knock before opening the lid so as not to scare any birds inside.
From this point, we hiked through the rest of the forest, across the meadow, and back to the pavilion for a question-and-answer session. We even got to see a heron!
As always, Mike went above and beyond the call of duty for our kids. Each child got lots of personalized attention and access to great equipment while in the park. Afterwards, we picnicked, visited the playground, and hiked a few trails before heading home.
If you're in the Triangle area, you should definitely visit Little River Regional Park. This park has a great staff and many education events happening. It's also the only park in a multi-county area where the staff will conduct these types of educational seminars for free upon request.