There are many reasons why you may not want—or be able—to leave home to go birding. You may not have enough time, or injuries or illness could keep you housebound. Poor weather could curtail your birding plans, or you may be a dedicated caregiver and be unable to manage a long birding excursion.
Community restrictions, curfews, or emergency measures could even restrict your activities. Fortunately, you don’t have to leave your property to enjoy excellent birding. Any of these 10 terrific options can bring amazing birds right to your home.
There are many great birds to see right in your yard and garden. Putting up a new feeder, adding a bird bath, or installing a birdhouse are all great ways to enjoy birds at home. You can even go a step further and plant native seed-bearing or nectar-rich flowers, berry bushes, or fruit trees. These plants can help to attract a more diverse flock. And don’t forget to turn your binoculars to the sky above your yard to see which raptors, gulls, swallows, or other soaring birds are passing by.
There are thousands of great books about birds. Stay-at-home birding can be a great opportunity to dive into your birding library. From birder mysteries, picture books, and stories for all ages and reading levels, to detailed accounts of birding exploits, bird rehabilitation, and natural histories of your favorite species. Many bird books are also available electronically, so you can read them easily on a tablet or computer as well.
You can get great looks at birds all over the world through a variety of nature webcams and livestream channels. From penguin colonies to shorebird rookeries to nature center feeding stations, you can visit all types of birds from the comfort of your computer. There are even nest cams for a wide range of birds. You can watch everything from tiny, charming hummingbird nests to regal, generational eagle nests. Each one gives you the opportunity to get intimate looks at amazing bird families.
Movies About Birds
A good movie night can be a great way to spend time at home. From classic thrillers like The Birds to documentaries like March of the Penguins, there are many noteworthy bird movies to see. The Big Year is a favorite among birders and can give you a taste of chasing rare birds right from your sofa. Or, have some lighthearted fun with animated bird movies like Rio or Happy Feet. You can even listen carefully for the birds in any of your favorite television shows or other movies.
See also: 5 Must-See Movies for Bird Lovers
Download Free Coloring Pages from Cornell Lab Publishing Group
Coloring books are great for stress relief, mindfulness, and relaxation. You can add birding to your artistic efforts with bird-themed coloring books and pages. Find simple bird outlines to calmly color in, realistic coloring books that can resemble color-your-own field guides, or artistic options with mandala-like patterns. You could color each bird realistically, or opt for more fantastical color options to create whimsically colored birds.
Birds can be part of many fun and creative craft projects, no matter what your skill level or artistic talents. You might try knitting patterns to make small bird toys, or find cross-stitch patterns of all detail levels. Fold a whole flock of origami birds, paint your own personal field guide, or sketch the birds on your life list. You could even try sculpting, woodworking, carving, or any other medium to bring birds to life.
Spending time at home is a great opportunity to learn more about birds. Consider taking online birding courses from different universities, or investigate naturalist courses from local extension offices, which often include online options. You can even create your own online learning experience by exploring digital field guides and birding apps.
Check out the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Online Bird Academy
If you can’t quite commit to a full online course, you can learn more about birds through podcasts. Many birding magazines, bloggers, and websites offer regular podcasts on a range of birding topics. These short, targeted lectures, interviews, and discussions can introduce you to a wide range of perspectives about birds and birding.
You can bake up some delicious birds with bird-shaped cookie cutters or cake pans. Try decorating cupcakes like curious owls, or make a rich hummingbird cake with tropical flavors your favorite Trochilidae birds would love. Mix up birdseed cakes and ornaments, pine cone bird feeders, or homemade suet to bring your baking right to the birds themselves.
See also: DIY Birdseed Ornaments
When you’ve been unable to go birding for a long time, you might just need a quick, silly break. Online bird games can be the perfect distraction. There are many trivia quizzes about birds to test your knowledge. Or, you can relax with digital jigsaw puzzles to reveal beautiful bird pictures. You might even enjoy silly bird games such as Angry Birds, Endless Migration, or other simple but addictive options.
No matter why you’re at home, you can still incorporate birding into your life and activities in many ways. By using these unique opportunities to enjoy birds, you’ll pass the time and even sharpen your birding skills so you are ready the next time you can go birding.