Birding 101

Fortunately, after a series of visits to Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, near Columbia, Missouri, and South Platte Park, in Littleton, Colorado, my ten year old grandson has maintained an interest in birding.  Harboring a life list of at least 60 species, his enthusiasm persists; of course, the birding excursions also include snacks, wide-ranging discussions and exposure to other wildlife.  Among today's topics was the probability that other intelligent civilizations inhabit our Universe (a point on which we heartily agreed).

This morning, we took a drive through Chatfield State Park, in southwest Metro Denver.  Stopping at several locations along the reservoir and walking past a few small lakes in the South Platte Valley, we saw a fair variety of birds, including an immature bald eagle and a red-tailed hawk.  The highlight proved to be a large flock of redheads on one of the smaller lakes, a new species for his list.

Of course, I saw a few species that I did not mention to my birding companion, not wanting to frustrate him with the subtle differences between grassland sparrows.  When he is present, I concentrate on pointing out birds that are relatively easy to identify.  Hopefully, his enthusiasm will continue to grow and he'll soon graduate to a more complete field guide.