Participating in the National Audubon Society’s 114th Christmas Bird Count is an excellent opportunity to slow the frantic pace of the holidays, appreciate the time together as a family, and spend the day enjoying the beauty of the winter season. Family caregivers may find this event a wonderful way to include aging parents in a multigenerational activity that can be tailored to any mobility or interest level. Young children love to be the sharp-eyed lookout for different birds while senior participants can confirm the bird’s markings and species.
Here’s how to get involved in one of the many Houston-area Christmas Bird Counts:
1. Check the website for a count in your area and contact the local compiler for registration information and participation details.
2. New birdwatchers may be paired with an experienced birder who can direct first-timers to key locations and guide family birders through the compilation list.
3. If your family’s backyard bird feeder is located within the official count circle, you may wish to make prior arrangement to use your feeder as your count area. A cozy nook near a window, binoculars, your bird identification guide, tally sheet, and a cup of hot cocoa is all your aging parent will need for the day’s activity!
If you discover that bird counts are a good fit for your family caregiver and loved one, the 17th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count is custom-made to allow homebound birders to be a central part of the action.
Birders can participate from anywhere in the world between Friday, Feb. 14 through Monday, Feb. 17, 2014. Simply check the website for details and information about submitting your count details.
In addition to traditional birding handbooks, bird watchers may wish to add new technology to their bird tracking tools with smart phone applications.
Participating in a local bird count introduces the family caregiver and loved one to new friends, encourages physical activity and social stimulation, and can be customized to fit any level of ability or interest.