Every season has a distinctive character. The changing visual landscape has a lot to do with this, but for me, it's the soundscape that really defines it. In the summer, it's the soft hum of distant music, kids playing outside, fireworks (I live near a baseball field), and ice cream trucks. In autumn it's the shuffle and crunch that echos each step through a carpet of leaves. In the winter it's the crisp silence of slow mornings and early evenings. But for spring? It's the birds.
Right now there is an almost constant symphony of birds outside my window. I can identify most of them when they are near by, but sometimes I can only see a distant silhouette. . .
. . . which is exactly why it seemed like the perfect time to put together an ornithology kit filled with tools to magnify and record. . .
. . . tools to help identify shapes. . .
. . . and of course, a few good books. . .
. . . all in one easy-to-grab-at-a-minute's-notice satchel.
- Bag (you can use one you already have on hand or make one)
- Scrap fabric
- Pens, pencils, paint, or markers
- Card Stock
- Popsicle sticks
- Monocular or Binoculars
- Cloth measuring tape for specimen identification (feathers etc. - optional)
- Your favorite bird books (you can find a few lovely birding books here)
- A bird mask (optional buy highly recommended to really "get into character". The instructions for the one shown above can be found in our book)
I made a basic lined bag with some scrap fabric (losely following the envelope bag pattern from Imagine Childhood) but you could simply add applique to a bag you have on hand. On mine, I used felt for this so that I didn't have to fold over the edges or worry about fraying. If you are using a satchel like the one pictured above, you could also sew a few strips of scrap fabric to the inside flap as well (great for keeping your tools neat and tidy).
To make the silhouette identifiers I used this great birding resource to copy the shapes onto card stock and then I just cut them out and glued them to sticks (good for identifying birds at a distance... in the sky or on a branch).
Oh, and this site is great for bird identification when you don't have a guidebook on hand.
*Last time in Crafts and Activities: Spring Pin Board