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Birding 101: Getting Started Birding With Seattle-Area Kids

Explore wild Northwest places with your family in search of a prize sighting

Bryony Angell

Published on: January 06, 2022

Bald eagle and nest Skagit Valley Washington
Bald eagle in Washington's Skagit Valley. Credit: Mike Hamilton

Bird-watching for Seattle-area families

Does your family need a reason to spend time outside this winter, time that includes scavenger hunt-like fun, multisensory exploration, breathtaking scenery and — the potential for bragging rights?

Yes? Then try out birding with kids! This nature activity, also called bird-watching, is an age-old pastime that’s gaining seriously cool cred among a younger generation — including kids!

Winter is the ideal season to try birding. The cold months of the year in the Pacific Northwest mean the shedding of tree leaves and the fluttering arrival of many avian visitors. The result of these two seasonal certainties is world-class birding in our region, from winter into late spring.

Washington state hosts snow geese, tundra and trumpeter swans, sandhill cranes, short-eared owls, masses of waterfowl and the usual resident birds, which are easier to see throughout trees and bushes bare of leaves. If you’re truly lucky, you might even see a snowy owl, a prize for even lifelong birders.

Page ahead for our top tips on how to get started and where to go — it’s as easy as stepping out your door.

First stop: your own backyard

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