About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

'Staycation': Destination Home Sweet Home

Many of us spend quite a lot of time and effort making our backyards places to enjoy and then become so busy we fail to have time to utilize them.

As the economy upsets many families' vacations, it doesn't hurt to have a backup plan. And with a little creativity staying home can be just as relaxing as going somewhere.

Families can take nature journals on the backyard "trip." Then have nature scavenger hunts. Divide into teams and assign each team items to bring back. Field guides, binoculars, and cameras might also be helpful.
For example, one team may have to find five different bird species. This can mean recording the call of a bird in your nature journal, drawing a sketch, finding a feather, or photographing a bird at a feeder. Another team could be assigned to find five different insects or evidence of their existence. You can find birds, bugs, flowers, trees or animals.

The end of the game involves meeting at an appointed time and showing the trophies found. Photos can be printed later and pasted inside the journals.

Or as fun as that staycation sounds, you may prefer the even more relaxed version. Place a large comfy chair in front of a window and watch your bird feeding station. (Tea in one hand and a cat on the lap is my favorite position.) Call everyone over to watch as the Chickadees and Goldfinches flock in to eat. Or get your camera out as the squirrel miraculously makes his way up your pole and hangs upside down.

Of course, this isn't going to feel like a trip to a National Wildlife Refuge. But it can feel like a vacation, or at least relieve some stress from the everyday rat race. Let nature nurture. Discover a refuge in your own backyard.

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