Ripples 8/25/22

Written by Emma Campbell, summer education intern 

In the short time I have been the education intern at Woodland Dunes, I have learned so many new and exciting things. My favorite thing has been learning to identify the many different bird calls I hear outside of my window and along the trails. Working with so many different age groups of children really made it clear how important environmental instruction is, and an easy way to do that is by teaching children bird calls. 

photo of a robinYou may be asking, why bird calls specifically? That’s a simple question to answer. While the cacophony of high pitched sounds may seem intimidating, learning just a few calls can turn that chaotic noise into something comprehensible. For example, just learning the “cheer-up, cherilee” song of the American Robin helped me distinguish from a lot of the songs I hear at my house in the morning. I also discovered that there really aren’t so many different kinds of birds – the sounds are mostly robins! Knowing this, I’m able to listen more closely for different birds by tuning out the robins. 

Not only is it easy to learn some bird calls, but it is also super simple to find them. Birds are almost everywhere, in your backyard, at the park, sitting on power lines, and flying all around town. You rarely have to look or listen hard to find them.

Learning bird calls is also a great way to get kids excited about nature. Since it’s readily available, it’s something kids can master and even show their friends. It’s a great way to get kids outside and curious about the environment, it also indirectly teaches them to pay attention and be mindful of it.  

But where to start? There are many different ways you can teach yourself and others bird calls. Finding someone who is already knowledgeable about birds and going birding with them is a great start. This helps to learn not just the bird calls, but also lots of fun facts about the birds. Another way you can learn is by using field guides. These are helpful for learning to identify the birds by how they look (some will also help with calls). Finally, like most things now, there’s an app for it. Or apps, since there are many different technological resources you can use to help identify a bird call in real time.  Apps like “Merlin Bird ID” can identify birds by using a recording of their call or a clear picture of the bird. 

In the end, learning to identify bird calls is something for everyone. It’s a wonderful and easy way to get people involved with the outdoors and on track to an environmentally curious perspective.

photo from Wikipedia

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