Never Too Young to Watch and Wonder

Bird watching gets kids outside exploring, teaches wildlife responsibility, and encourages empathy for all living creatures.

Bird Rescue volunteer Leanne Ruiz Chavez and her daughter participate in the Backyard Bird Count for Kids at Rush Ranch. Photo by Kay Ramsdell

On Saturday, February 18, International Bird Rescue hosted its first-ever Backyard Bird Count for Kids event in partnership with the Pacific Flyway Center, and with help from our friends at the Solano Land Trust. This event, modeled after the Christmas Bird Count for Kids, was part of the larger Audubon Great Backyard Bird Count. People all around the world were encouraged to count birds in their own backyards and contribute their data to citizen science. We took this opportunity to introduce children in our Fairfield community to the joy of birdwatching.

The excitement started early when kids were treated to the sight of a large flock of White-crowned Sparrows right by the sign-in table! They were able to practice their binocular skills on these nearby birds before splitting into two groups for bird walks. Team Turkey Vulture headed to the Gold Hills/Cordelia Slough property where they spotted 24 species of birds including Hooded Mergansers and a Black Phoebe. Team Chicken explored the marsh at Rush Ranch where they were able to identify 23 species of birds including American Avocets and Buffleheads.

Ryan Eads and his daughter Sidney noted the wildlife they saw into a compilation sign at Rush Ranch for the Backyard Bird Count for Kids. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds – International Bird Rescue

After an hour and a half of enthusiastic bird watching, both teams met back at Rush Ranch for a tabulation celebration where they shared their bird lists (including some non-birds like ladybugs and dragonflies too). Budding birders enjoyed hot dogs, s’mores, and fun activities provided by Rush Ranch to finish the day’s festivities.

We love sharing our passion for birds with people of all ages and look forward to hosting more bird counts for kids like this one at the Cordelia Slough in the future. In addition to special events like the Backyard Bird Count for Kids, International Bird Rescue and the Pacific Flyway Center offer a youth education program at the slough that includes a guided nature walk and learning stations. This program is available to students and youth groups throughout the region. For more information, visit