The list of forty common species was developed for central New Jersey. In developing your own, use abundant species
but also include a few from different families and habitats to help teach the bird families for requirement 3. Also,
make sure a few species have easily remembered calls for requirement 6. While the boys only need to identify twenty birds
in the field, teaching forty species increases the odds that they will be able to ID twenty random birds in the field.
to keep it simple. This is not the place to demonstrate your knowledge of the wear patterns on the tertials
of the alternate plumage of the Rectilated Waffle-Snatcher. It is the place to carefully describe the field marks of
the American Robin to beginners.
Be enthusiastic about our hobby and preserving habitat, but avoid coming
across as a zealot. For most of the boys this is their first encounter with a birder. Many look at our
non-traditional, somewhat esoteric hobby as being slightly eccentric. This is our chance to dispel this, not reinforce
If you can, avoid habits and dress that kids might consider "nerdy". These include weird
vests, ugly hats, tucking your pants legs inside your socks to avoid ticks while still indoors, etc.. Having one
instructor under the age of 30 will automatically help you with this.
Encourage and reinforce their discoveries. Act excited when they correctly identify a European
Be careful in explaining the benefits of binoculars. Be sure you don't disparage
their dad's prized $50 sports binoculars with zoom and "InstaFocus". You can point out that there are binoculars better suited for
birding, but remember what they have is what they're going to have to use.