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I've always loved birds. I love watching them, learning about them and knowing the different varieties. Lucky for me, my kids feel the same. Since we've moved into our tiny home, we've spent a lot more time outdoors than we used to, but in a different way. We used to spend more time hiking, going to the beach and enjoying our local parks. While we still do these things, we spend more time in our yard than anywhere else.
We started watching the various birds that come to our yard and as time has gone on, we've amassed a collection of bird feeders that we love to maintain and watch. Because our windows are so high from the ground, we're at the perfect height to watch the birds!
We have several hummingbird feeders, a couple tube feeders, and a few other random feeders. Our kids LOVE these window feeders and we've had all kinds of birds perch on them to eat. Even when we're sitting inches away at the table, many of the birds don't mind and still come to visit.
While the Amazon links above are very similar feeders to the ones we have, we've actually gotten most of ours second-hand. They're not expensive to buy new, but saving a few bucks makes it even better.
Another key to making birding interesting for ours kids has been having bird books available for them to look at all the time. We've picked up a couple second hand and checked some out of the library that they've enjoyed, but this book has been a favorite! It's easy for them to navigate and plays the sounds of many common birds in our area. They love finding a new bird and listening to the sound. I think the coolest part is that often if we play a certain sound loudly outside, that variety of bird will call back to us! It's been a fun way to learn more about birds and their behaviors.
I try to have our bird books near our windows and ready to be looked at so we can identify new birds. I used to search the internet to try to identify a new bird, which is easy and quick, but I like that the kids see me using actual books to find new information and it's a fun way to teach them the value of books!
We have an ongoing list that we add to when we see a new bird, in the past few months we've seen 15 varieties at our feeders. Lulu is always really excited when we see a new bird and as the seasons change, the kind of birds we see has changed too. Both of our kids can point out and identify many kinds of birds and I think it's a neat thing for them to learn about.
If you have a bird feeder in your yard, you've probably dealt with the same problem we do: squirrels! We've tried hanging the feeders in different areas, placing them further out on branches, using different materials to hang them, etc. Every time our solutions seems to work and then those stinky squirrels find some work-around we hadn't thought of!
Most recently, we've tried mixing Cayenne pepper and chili powder into the bird food as we fill the feeders. Apparently birds can't taste it, so it doesn't bother them, but squirrels do and won't touch it. We've have the spicy food out for a couple days and so far, we haven't seen any squirrels and the birds don't seem to mind! I'm hoping we might have found a solution that actually works, but I'm not holding my breath!