Summer is a great time to enjoy birding, so why not have even more fun with birds through this seasonal scavenger hunt? These twelve items to find can test your summer birding skills in different ways, from just getting started birding to learning more about every bird you see to supporting bird conservation. A great project for kids, this bird scavenger hunt is a fun summer game any birder can enjoy. How many of these items can you find?
1. Field Guides
The very first item to find for a bird scavenger hunt in any season is an appropriate field guide. Visit a library or book store to check out different types of field guides and newly published volumes. Compare their photos, illustrations, range maps, bird descriptions and other features to decide which one may be most helpful to you for all your summer birding adventures.
Learn More: Choose Your Best Field Guide
2. 5 Different Backyard Birds
A great place to start enjoying summer birds is in your own backyard. Pick out at least five different bird species visiting your trees, flowerbeds, shrubs, feeders and bird baths. Need more of a challenge? See how many different backyard species you can record in one day, or try to find a new species in the yard every day for a week.
Learn More: Most Common Backyard Birds
3. State Bird
Learn more about your state bird, including what habitat it prefers, its favorite food and where you can see it nearby. Why is this bird important to your state, and why is it a good choice for a state bird? If you could pick a different bird to represent your state, what would it be?
Learn More: List of State Birds
4. Bird Nest
Summer is nesting season for birds, and watching a bird nest is a great way to learn more about bird families and appreciate how birds raise their young. While it is always important to keep your distance from nests so you don't stress parent birds or young chicks, it can be rewarding to see them in person.
Learn More: Wild Bird Nests and Eggs
5. Bird House Family
Many cavity-nesting birds enjoy the prime real estate of backyard bird houses, and watching birds build a nest or tend to their young by going in and out, in and out of a bird house can be a fun experience. Even better are nesting boxes in a monitoring project, such as eastern bluebirds, when you may have opportunities to take a careful peek inside the house to see the birds up close.
Learn More: Birds That Use Bird Houses
Hummingbirds are exciting to see and can be a challenge to find because of their tiny size and swift flight. Visiting different hummingbird habitats can give you a chance to see more species, or adding nectar feeders to your backyard might bring these flying jewels right to you.
Learn More: How to Find Hummingbirds
7. Invasive Bird
Invasive birds are species that do not belong where they are found – they have been accidentally or deliberately introduced to an area and can be detrimental to local bird populations. More species than many birders realize are invasive, such as house sparrows, European starlings and mute swans, but learning more about these birds can help you learn how they impact local ecosystems.
Learn More: Invasive Birds
8. Threatening Litter
Many casually discarded items can be a severe threat to birds, such as tangles of fishing line, firework debris or even summer picnic litter. But on your scavenger hunt, do more than just find these threats – pick them up and discard them properly to help safeguard your summer birds.
Learn More: Threats to Summer Birds
Birds of prey are magnificent birds and powerful predators that are a spectacular sight for any birder to see. There are raptors to be found in every habitat, from harriers over swamps and grasslands to accipiters in the forest to hawks in rural areas to falcons in cities, and finding one can be the highlight of a birding trip.
Learn More: Raptor Identification Tips
It might be easy to find one or two birds on any summer day, but can you find a whole flock? Some birds are colonial and nest in rookeries, while others stay in large flocks all year round and can be fun to watch in groups. Look for waterfowl, shorebirds, gulls and wading birds for the largest summer flocks.
Learn More: Names of Groups of Birds
11. 3 Birds With Different Diets
Different birds enjoy different diets, and if you deliberately look for birds with different eating habits you'll be surprised at the variety of species you find and how unique they can be. Check forests for frugivorous birds, grain fields for granivorous birds and shallow lakes or rivers for piscivorous birds.
Learn More: Bird Diet Types
The best type of bird to find, whether on a scavenger hunt or just a day of summer birding, is a new lifer. Visit unusual habitats, check online local birding message boards or visit a birding festival to see unique and rare birds in your area, and you might be able to add to your life list while you take a few peeks at summer birds.
Learn More: Keeping a Life List