Birding By Accident: The Tufted Titmouse And The Red-shouldered Hawk

As chauffeur for two young children, it is a rare occurrence to have time to stop and admire the birdlife around me. But recently, my five-year-old son has become an accomplice to my accidental birding tendencies.

This has come as a completely unexpected surprise. In fact, very recently he asked me, with some amount of disdain in his voice, why I liked to watch birds. I told him that I thought they were interesting because there were so many different kinds, and I liked the challenge of trying to identify each bird that I see.

This answer must have resonated with him somehow – I assume it has something to do with our repeated review of dinosaur species – because over the last few weeks he has helped me spot some interesting birds.

The first was a Tufted Titmouse that was flitting about our yard as we were about to leave for the morning.  I would have missed it entirely as I buckled everyone in, but he saw it and asked what it was.  We spent a few minutes watching it and learning its distinguishing characteristics before backing out of the driveway.

My son's second bird - as mommy's birding partner.

Just a few days later, he spotted “a huge falcon” as we drove home one afternoon.  It turned out to be a Red-shouldered Hawk, and we were able to get some great photos as it hung out in a nearby tree.  Our excitement caught the attention of a neighbor who then came over to share his find as well.

Needless to say, I am thrilled to have a birding partner in the family, and hope that it is something he continues to enjoy throughout his life. From a slightly more selfish perspective, I am glad to finally have someone whose eyesight is still intact helping me catch a glimpse of those birds I would otherwise miss!

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