Our Life List of Birds...

5 years ago
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Have you seen the movie "The Big Year"?  We just watched it about a month ago thanks to the recommendation of my mother-in-law. 

What is it about?  A bunch of birders on a quest to find more birds than the next person in one calendar year.  Sounds a bit like a nerdy, birder movie doesn't it?  Well, then you add in Owen Wilson, Steve Martin and Jack Black and you've got a cute, funny little movie. 

I thought so anyway, but then again, I've got some nerdy, birder in me... Bird banding

Yup, that's me, way back in college.  I did an internship one summer working on a Wildlife Refuge.  Every now and then I had to work in the gift shop and I watched many birders milling about before or after their "watching" and it seemed like such a funny little hobby to me.  While another job of mine was to assist in bird banding.  Now that was a lot of fun!  Although, in the case of the Pelicans, smelly! Pelican
So, let's just say, that I've come to learn that watching birds is pretty fun.  I'm fairly certain it's in my genes because for as long as I can remember my mom has been pointing birds out to me wherever we go (she got it from her mother), and now, I am realizing that I, too, am constantly pointing out who's who in our backyard.  (If you've been around here long enough you might remember some of the many other bird related posts...here, here, here, here, here, and here!) 

But, it's not just me really, the kiddos like it too!  It's a reason to look out the window.  It's a reason to look something up in a book or on our "bird map" (what the kiddos call our bird identifier) or on the computer.  It's a reason to learn something new.  A reason to observe. 

So, taking some inspiration from "The Big Year" we decided why not begin a life list of the birds that we see... IMG_7764

To start I made some bird stickers. IMG_7768

FIVE pages of bird stickers to be exact! 

Wow, this was definitely one of those projects that I started and then wondered WHY?  It was not a quick process.  I used our trusty little birds of the DC area "map", which we purchased at a hardware store shortly after moving to the area, as a guide for the stickers.  IMG_7913
I found a picture of each bird and then loaded it into a mailing address template along with each bird's name to make stickers.  While it did take me several days to complete, it was worth it, because now we have some fun stickers that we can print whenever we need them.

Once I made the commitment and completed the stickers it was time to move on to the bird book itself.  I picked out scraps of bird fabrics from my stash and very casually pieced them together.  I then cut the pieced together fabric slightly larger than an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of card stock.  I glued the fabric onto one side of the card stock with fabric glue, folded the excess fabric in toward the other side of the card stock and stitched around the edges with a zigzag stitch.  I made a little pocket the same way and then sewed the cover and pocket together about 1/8" away from the edge.  Bird book collage
The pages are simply a handful of printer paper, folded in half and then trimmed up a bit to fit within the book cover.  I sewed the pages into the cover with a couple of passes of stitching up and down.  I made this little owl button to keep the book snugly closed when not in use.  IMG_7758
I punched a little hole through the front of my cover, pushed the button back through to the inside and pulled a small pony tail holder through the back of the button.  IMG_7764
On the back cover I added a small brad and covered the folded parts inside with another little bird.  IMG_7759
The pony tail holder loops around the brad in the back and keeps our stickers (in the pockets) and our bird identifier snug and ready for a bird watching trip. IMG_7755And so off we went, to identify some birds... IMG_7821


We've really been having a lot of fun with it!  We found six birds on our first trip bird watching (in the cold) and have since found several more in our own backyard! 

Go, get yourself a bird identifier, or download Audubon's app, and get started yourselves!  It's okay to be a little "nerdy"

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