Birds need Extra Water

“I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think”. Rumi

Except that the birds aren’t singing very loudly today.

There’s a heat wave moving across Australia this week. As I sit down to write this post and share a long overdue book review, it’s a sweltering 41°C outside.  The trees are wilting and the birds seem to have gone into hiding. Normally I hear them in my backyard, cockatoos squawking, chatty lorikeets flitting about in the trees and kookaburras laughing in the distance.

But not today, as they seek shelter from the incessant heat. I’ve refilled the bird bath and put extra bowls around the backyard. It’s important we help our feathered friends as many of them struggle in extreme heat.

As night falls, I’ve no doubt they’ll be out again. We’ve lived here, in our little pocket of green on the outskirts of Melbourne, for over 23 years and love it as much today as when we moved in. The garden’s changed over the years, we’ve lost a lot of trees from drought (my lack of a green thumb hasn’t helped) and native trees have somehow sprung up. What hasn’t changed, however, is the prolific birdlife.

Some days I step outside and feel as though I’m living in a bird sanctuary.  The sounds of cockatoos, galahs and kookaburras always make me smile. When the kids were little the birds would land on our decking (they still do) and it was always a delight. I’m sure it encouraged their love of nature.

I was approached by Denzil Walton late last year to read and review his book and, as an avid nature and bird lover, the subject piqued my interest and I was keen to dive right in.  img_2377

I’ve been following Denzil’s blog Discovering Belgium for many years. Here in this book, Encourage a Child to Watch Birds, he deviates slightly from his usual travel tales and shares his enthusiasm for this subject.

Denzil’s written a highly engaging book aimed for caregivers of children between 7 and 12 years of age. However, anyone with young children and an interest in birds will find this book enjoyable. It teaches us the difference between simply looking at birds and really learning about them.

His aim he says is

To provide ideas and practical tips to motivate a child’s interest in nature. I hope that these ideas inspire children to develop a hobby that they will enjoy now and possibly in their later life.”

As a lover of nature this book hit the mark and, even though my kids have grown up, I can confidently say he’s achieved his goal.

Denziil’s love of nature is evident in his writing as he guides us through many varied aspects of bird watching. He lists ten ideas ranging from how to encourage a child to watch birds to learning their sounds and how to recognise and record them. He offers fun ways of learning and remembering bird sounds right through to the correlation between bird song and our peace of mind. He offers practical tips that range from choosing a good set of binoculars and the best field guide book through to knowing what to feed birds and how to care for them.

At the end of each chapter Denzil offers a set of projects along with questions to keep a child engaged. There’s hands on activities, loads of tips and engaging ideas which can be read and implemented independently.

His guide is a delightful journey into learning how to care and watch out for birds and a wonderful resource for anyone wanting to inspire young children to enjoy birdlife, whether a parent at home or within a nursery or kindergarten. Despite the lack of images in the book there’s a link to Encourage a Child website which includes lots of other pictorial resources.

Regardless of where you live in the world, this book is a fabulous incentive to get children away from their computer screens and outdoors. It’s a reminder to the beauty you can find if you keep your eyes open to nature. You don’t have to live in the countryside, the ideas in this book can be used anywhere, in parks and gardens and even apartment buildings.

Bird watching is a great way to disconnect from the screen and reconnect with the outside world. What a wonderful hobby for parents and children to take up together.

Total read time is approximately thirty minutes but the ideas you’ll gain could bring you endless hours of pleasure.

Rating 4 out of 5 stars.

Ebook of Encourage a Child to Watch Birds is available on Smashwords and also here on Amazon UK & Amazon US.

Photo courtesy Denzil Walton

Here’s to keeping our eyes open to the wonders of nature around us.

In light and love as we continue the journey.

“A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.” Here’s a snippet of a magpie singing her song on my decking in Spring last year when it was cooler.

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89 thoughts on “Birds need Extra Water

  1. Not many feathery species I see in my big city but the pre-sunrise chattering of sparrows is good enough to hear the first thing after waking up.
    Recent heatwaves across the globe are very intense indeed. You are doing the right thing by placing extra bowls in your yard. I hope you will hear from your feathery friends in daylight also, under the warming sun 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Hammad, you’re right about the heatwaves, they seem to be becoming more common across the world. Enjoy your sunrises. We all have our own version of nature and beauty wherever we live. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A great idea to get kids away from their screens. While we don’t have the exotic birds from your part of the world, it’s still fun to see the different types that live here in the northeast U.S. I’m looking forward to spring so I can hear all their chirping!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Hi Miriam,
    I ran across Walton’s book a bit ago when researching ways to help my grandchildren get out from under the influence of screens and media. While I did not read it, I saw the website…and anything that gets our kids outdoors is a good thing.
    And, my maiden name is Walton, so I had a connection right away.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lovely photos Miriam. I remember all the birdsong from the weeks that we spent staying down on the Mornington Peninsula, so many bright colourful birds singing all sorts of amazing tunes.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. First of all i say i adore your photos of the birds …i don’t see them here…except in a zoo or a bird sanctuary…and how lucky you are to have them just around the corner….
    Secondy Denziil’s book is quite interesting as you made a brief but thorough review of it..i don’t have little kids anymore but i echo his idea of how introducing birds to kids can do wonders to their well being. Thank you for sharing his book and his thoughts as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My goodness, your proximity to this great array of birds has me all jealous! What a glorious variety you have to marvel at, I mostly have pigeons and seagulls on the window ledge of my top floor flat here in the UK and I too feed them, it rains so much they rarely need water! Glad you have them in your thoughts. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good for you, Miriam! The birds that visit our yard aren’t nearly as pretty as yours, but I do insist on filling the bird bath with fresh water every day. They need it and deserve it. And I also follow Denzil’s blog….I’m wondering if I discovered it from yours?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Ann, I love seeing our bird bath filled with fresh water. It’s the least we can do for them. Glad you also follow Denzil’s blog. Love that we’re all such a supportive like minded community.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Happy new year Miriam (I don’t think I have already conveyed my wishes but please forgive me if I have).
    Got Abit behind with blog following pre & post Christmas due to a lingering cold virus which I think is on it’s way out.
    I love birds Miriam as did mum r.i.p. As a child and young adult visiting mum’s homestead in Ireland I was fascinated by my uncle’s r.i.p ability mid conversation to interrupt with ‘quiet, there’s the ………. type of bird. This ability to differentiate the different sounds used to fascinate me.
    The lovely sounds of local birds here in u.k and birds of The Gambia have captured my interest.
    I recently joined a local r.s.p.b. (Royal Society for Protection if Birds) group which holds monthly talks and regular walks.
    I will revisit your post. Today loved listening to your magpie. The quote about singing because you have a song but not an answer rings especially true for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post Margaret. Clearly you’re an avid bird lover and have inherited some strong bird watching genes. Enjoy your local rsph group, sounds like a wonderful way to appreciate your birds. And I do hope you’re feeling well and truly better by the time you read this. Thanks so much for your lovely comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hello dear Miriam, such a lovely review and it’s a beautiful idea of Denzil to write a book to encourage the ways of returning to nature. I’m sorry you have had so much heat. You are a blessing to your birds that visit your garden…
    Wishing you a lovely and much less hot, weekend, my friend 😘💞

    Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re welcome dear Miriam. It must have been an honour to be asked to read and review it. You’ll have to add ‘editor’ to your new year credentials. Which will fit perfectly with your own new magazine✨✨💐💕

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Good goosebumps I trust…a good sign this is important to you🙏🏼Thank you for saying, dear Miriam💐❤️

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  10. Miriam, a wonderful post!! 😀 Full of light, joy and lots of colourful birds! What a delight to see your avian visitors and I am quite envious of the array and brightness in your garden. The kookaburra looks so sweet and what a friendly and vocal magpie (?) in the video.The bird song must almost be deafening beautiful! A lovely introduction to Denzil’s book and an excellent review of his book. I wish him best of luck to him with this book and the others in the series.

    Happy birdwatching, my friend! hugs xx❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Annika. As someone who’s already read and reviewed , in much greater detail than mine I might add, Denzil’s wonderful book, your lovely comment means a lot. I am indeed very blessed to have such amazing words visit my garden. I hope many people will read his book and appreciate all the varied birdlife we have. Thanks again and I hope you have a great week ahead. Hugs xx ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  11. The birds there seem to have so much character!! Amazing photos Miriam. That does sound like a lovely little book for children. I love to look outside for the bright red of the cardinals that stick around through the winter. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re very welcome Denzil. We were hit with another scorching 46.8C day yesterday but fortunately we’re away camping and the weather’s cooled today. I wish you all the very best with your book.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I love how the birds flock to your deck! They are so colorful and beautiful. 🙂 Birds really help us to keep looking up, don’t they? I’m sure there’s a life lesson there, lol. 😀

    Love you beautiful lady! xoxox ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi beautiful lady, yes, even just this morning they flocked all around. I consider myself blessed to live amongst so much birdlife. I hope you’re well dear friend. Big hugs to you xx ❤️

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