Tagged ducks

Toddler Hobbies: Birdwatching

seagull-1607224_1920Taking a look at popular toddler leisure activities, starting with birdwatching.

Toddlers are avid birdwatchers, and pursue the hobby in a manner almost entirely unlike traditional birdwatching.

1. Species

Like any good birdwatcher, toddler amateur ornithologists take great pleasure in identifying different species of birds. Below are a few of the most popular species for toddler birdwatchers.

Pigeons: ‘Duck!’

Sparrows: ‘Duck is flying!’

Swans: Actually, no toddler birdwatcher has ever seen a swan. Toddler birdwatchers have a strange selective blindness when it comes to seeing swans directly in front of them, finding themselves completely unable to look in the direction being pointed out as containing the majestic and beautiful birds. Still, it does not really matter. Where there are swans, there are probably the far more interesting…

Ducks: ‘Quack!’

Seagulls: ‘Don’t like duck! Shoo!’

Penguins: ‘Penguin! Honk!’

Peacocks: ‘Big duck!’

Robins: ‘Christmas duck!’

2. Methodology

Eschewing the classic quiet, still and watchful approach, toddler birdwatchers like to employ a method known as The Banshee. This involves running at the birds shrieking and wailing, an act that the birds superstitiously believe heralds their impending death.

3. Equipment

Usual birdwatching equipment includes binoculars, a bird guide and a camera. Toddler birdwatchers prefer a straw, a balloon and one sock.

4. Feeding Birds

Traditional methods of feeding birds of course involve bird feeders and bird seed. Or giving bread to the ducks (yes, I know this is bad for them). Not ones for tradition, toddler birdwatchers like to stand in the vicinity of birds and eat the bread (or, let’s face it, the bird seed) themselves.

5. A Special Note About Seagulls

In the great losses of childhood innocence, finding out the truth about seagulls is up there with finding out the truth about Father Christmas. The naive, innocent toddler, the one who exists before the first seagull encounter, reacts with great excitement as the ‘duck’ approaches. The ‘duck’ wants to be friends. The toddler wants to be friends. The toddler knows this is how Sarah and Duck started. The seagull comes closer. The toddler begins to feel the first misgivings. Why is the ‘duck’ staring like that? This doesn’t happen to Sarah. Slowly, the horrifying realisation will dawn on the toddler: that beady eyed bastard wants to steal the food. There will be no friendship here, this is war: ‘Mummy, duck wants my food! Make duck go away! Mummy, I no like duck! Shoo!’

(*Please Note: No birds have been harmed in the pursuit of this toddler hobby. A number of pigeons have been chased for a kiss. A few penguins have been engaged in an in depth conversation. One seagull has been sent to the naughty step. But no actual harm has been caused.*)