One of our goals at Raven On The Mountain is to develop a love of and interest in Nature in kids. We spend a lot of time around children and nature, and we know what kids like. In the second decade of the 21st century it isn't birds.
Kids like electronic toys. They like fast-moving, effect-filled, entertainment. They have an unending stream of this stuff to drink from. But they also like a challenge. They like to compete. They like to have and share secrets.
If you are a parent who wants to interest your child in Nature, the secrets part may be the key. Read on and learn about things that you didn't know existed. Sights truly worth seeing. Depending on where you live they may be in your own backyard. Get ready for your own National Geographic special.
HOW TO DO THIS
1. Find a "secret" you want to see.
If you aren't interested, neither will the kids be.
2. Go to Google. Type in the bird's name, a
descriptive feature, and a state. For example,
Sage Grouse, lek, Wyoming leads you to lots of information and even how to sign up for a tour.
3. Call the location. If it's a park or refuge the
staff is always happy to answer your questions and give advice. Ask about time of year, time of day, accessibility, hiking, facilities,etc.
4. Make it a big deal. If you are trying to interest kids in what you are planning, you've got to talk it up. Get some video. The Web is loaded. Pick a feature of the bird that is either weird or funny for them to see. Turn the idea of the trip into an adventure or some kind of mystery quest. Make sure it seems special. If you can get one of their friends to think it's cool, you're home.
5. Other stuff. Even if the bird is the goal, other activity, before and after improves the experience. Think food.
6. Ground rules. Some of these sights require serious quiet or patience. There may be a long drive or hike. Let them know in advance and repeat it.
7. Don't be preachy. This is upposed to be fun, not a conservation lesson.
8. Leave it open ended. If you go to see courtship displays and the place is near home, go again later in the year to look for babies. At any rate talk about another nature-oriented trip at a future date while they are still in Nature mode.
This information and more is found in the Bird Videographer's Calendar in You Can't Direct The Talent.