Since somewhere around late fall, our backyard has been full of Northern Cardinals. Unfortunately they stuck to the back part of the yard, meaning they were visible (hard to miss that red), but a bit too distant to see well. So, hoping to entice those cardinals a bit closer, I finally bought a bird feeder to put outside the girls' window.
The news quickly spread and suddenly all of the other neighborhood birds showed up. The girls have been loving watching the birds up close and have quickly learned the names of all the most frequent visitors (Cardinal, Chickadee, Titmouse, and Nuthatch) and are slowly learning the names of less frequent visitors (Mourning Doves, which Pookie insists are called "good morning doves" and House Finches) as well as the less interesting visitors (apparently Juncos are just not worth memorizing the name of.)
The kids have been much more observant than I expected and are quick to come and let me know when there is some new bird at the feeder. The House Finches only just showed up the other week and I wouldn't have known of their existence but for the kids.
Of course, I started taking some pictures of the birds and naturally the kids quickly became a part of that. They know exactly what birds we don't have a picture of yet and at least once a day one of them comes bursting into the kitchen telling me to "Come quick! There is a *fill in the blank* and it is close enough for a picture!" They've also been reminding me that we need to go for a walk so we can get pictures of the geese and the heron that hang out at the lake.
Now, I suppose the next question would be whether or not to start a bird book (like our bug book.) I'm leaning towards no for now--we're certainly not still or quiet enough to capture any pictures of birds "in the wild" yet and my camera is currently not capable of handling such distant subjects. However, it most certainly doesn't hurt to begin collecting pictures now annnddd....see where it goes from there.