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.*)


  1. Linda Hobden says:

    Wait until a seagull grabs a chip and/or ice cream and all hell will cut loose! As an aside though, I recommend the Abbotsbury Swannery in Dorset if you ever get a chance to visit there. My son decided that’s what he’ll like to do when he gets older – live in Abbotsbury & work with swans & their birds of prey ?

  2. MMT says:

    So spot on as always…our eldest particularly has a love hate relationship with toddler birdwatching. Ever since the day that Eagle swooped down and stole her Brioche on the beach 😉
    Thanks for linking up with #coolmumclub

  3. Harriet says:

    We got a bit bird obsessed on our summer holiday. We’d often hear Wood Pigeons cooing around our accommodation but my 2-year-old was convinced they were Weed Poogeons. Adorable.

  4. Emma says:

    Haha, it is a sad day when the toddler realises that seagulls are just thieves! We have something similar (with calling everything the same name) when it comes to meat basically Youngest thinks lamb, fish, and beef is chicken. That is the only way we can get her to eat it! ps Love Robins being known as Christmas ducks! #FridayFrolics

  5. I think you’ve completely captured the cute toddler world of birdwatching! I remember when everything was a duck or a birdy. To this day my two *not* toddlers still adopt the banshee and love the age old pastime of pigeon chasing/harrassing. We also deal with erroneous duck-seagulls almost on a daily basis down yer in Devon! #FridayFrolics

  6. Excellent. My little bird watcher is very similar and puts them all into two categories, either bird or duck – if it’s in the sky or up high on something it’s a bird, if it’s on the ground or in water it’s a duck. She also likes bird seed.
    #FridayFrolics #coolmumclub

  7. Ha! My toddler is primarily interested in pigeons. No fecking idea why, but she has no interest in ducks, swans (of course) or any other bird. She gets super excited whenever she sees one of those rats with wings, though. #fridayfrolics

  8. This is very funny – we live on the coast and ToddlerMonster very quickly got the hand of these pilfering bastard seagull birds!! They’ll never be another donut quite like that one very special pink iced donut with the sprinkles, and the 2 bites out of it… Thieving birds!
    big love, L

  9. I hate those seagulls though! One attacked me in St Ives once and stole my ice cream the not-so-little bugger! I imagine that would be terrifying for a really small person! Thanks for the giggle on #fortheloveofBLOG X

  10. wendy says:

    Haha Christmas duck!! My boy is a bit of a bird watcher too but he also couldn’t care less about seeing a swan, what is that all about?! Seagulls are evil!xx #anythinggoes

  11. Haha I love this and can so relate. My older one knows birds (and animals in general) fairly well but to my 19 month old – it’s either a duck or a plane (if it’s flying). Hilarious!

  12. sue says:

    My two year old grandson just loves chasing birds! Take him to the park for a swing or slide – no thank you – I just want to run around endlessly chasing birds. The upside is – a long nap for him and his Nan!

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