For the birds

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It’s no accident that our youngest daughter goes by the nickname Birdie.

We like birds. A lot.

A huge draw for me in buying this particular property was (you guessed it) the birds. The previous owners clearly enjoyed them as well; the place came equipped with a feeder perfectly located to provide fantastic morning viewing, a little stone bath by a picturesque window, and four houses with happy, feathered tenants already in residence. We’ve done our part by adding to the feeders and houses, and even rescuing injured avians on occasion.

Some of our favorite read-alouds are The Burgess Bird Book for Children, The Birdwatchers, and The Trumpet of the Swan— all of which, clearly, feature birds.

We have a collection of nests in our living room, and a bird chart in a wooden hanger (like this) featured prominently in that same central space.

So, yeah… we like birds.

And, in case you didn’t know it, East Tennessee has some pretty amazing chances to see a huge variety of birds, up close and personal.

For the birds

On Friday, we loaded up the whole crew and drive about an hour south(ish), into the Great Smoky Mountains. This was one of the summer bird banding events, and we were thrilled to arrive just in time to see an ornithologist untangling a tufted titmouse from a net with a crochet hook. Later, we saw the processing of six birds, including a parula, a red-eyed vireo, a male juvenile cardinal, and an American Crow!

 

Seriously, this was some of the best time we’ve had at an event in ages.

For the birds

During each careful inspection, the ornithologist revealed details about the birds, and talked about birding in general.

For the birds

For the birds

The best part was being shown how to hold the birds (in banding and photographer grips).

For the birds

It was the first time most of us had been able to actually hold a wild bird. I can tell you it’s not something we’ll quickly forget.

For the birds

For the birds

Every member of the family sat in quiet, rapt attention for several hours. Any event that keeps your two-year old desperately engaged with wildlife… yeah. it’s a win.

For the birds

We’ll definitely be heading back next year, maybe earlier in the season to see some different birds. Until then, we’ll keep fueling our love of birds with another bird-loving read; with the unexpected catch of the American Crow, I was reminded of The Tarantula in My Purse, a fabulous, funny read-aloud that I’d somehow missed with this second batch of kiddos. Guess what just made its way to the top of the TBR pile?

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