Find a Camp, Register Kids for Birding Activities

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Photo courtesy of Diego Cervo/

My favorite time to contemplate birds, sunshine and the pleasure of life outdoors (toes in the warm sand) is when it’s frigid outside. I figure, if you can’t escape physically, why not put your mind in a happier place, say by planning fun for your family? Summer and track-out will be here before you know it. If you’re hunting camps for kids, check our online directories for day camps and track-out and residential programs. Camps are a great way for kids to cultivate new interests or enjoy their hobbies.

Photo courtesy of Gizele/

For a different escape, consider joining The Great Backyard Bird Count Feb. 12-15, when people worldwide will be out observing birds and reporting the information they've gathered at Their efforts help scientists track changes in bird distribution. During February, Triangle parks are joining in the effort with special birding events, many of which are free. Here's a look at some of what's to be offered:


Bird Walk Along the American Tobacco Trail
Friday, Feb. 12, 9-11 a.m. Free
American Tobacco Trail, 1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd., Apex
Observe and count the variety of birds that live in this area on a walk toward the Beaver Creek Bridge. For all ages. Meet at the picnic table at the New Hill Parking Area. Registration required.



Birding with Vernon
Saturday, Feb. 6, 8:30-10 a.m. Free
Meet at the Waterwise Garden. Join bird enthusiast, Vernon, for an easy walk while looking and listening for our feathered friends. Discover different types of birds and their habitats. No preregistration required.

19th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count-Birdie Benefits
Saturday, Feb. 13; 12-3 p.m. Free
Meet at the manager’s office. Enjoy a variety of bird-related games, activities and crafts. Learn how you can help the birds in your neighborhood and beyond. Topics for discussion include ways to attract birds to your outdoor space and how to help birds in decline. This program has something for everyone, adults and kids alike. No preregistration required.

19th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count-Bird Walks
Feb. 12, 13, 14, 15, 8:30-10 a.m. Free
Meet at the Waterwise Garden. Join park staff in collecting data for the 19th annual Great Backyard Bird Count. Look and listen for birds in a variety of habitats and keep track of how many individuals of each species we find. New and experienced birders of all ages are welcome. Learn field ID techniques for our winter residents and visitors. Enjoy hot beverages and a review of what has been sighted at the park office at the program’s conclusion. Preregistration is required.

19th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count-Become a Birdwatcher
Monday, Feb. 15; 1-4 p.m., $10/child 
Meet at the Beech Shelter. Learn what makes birds unique and interesting, and gain bird watching skills. Earn a bird watching patch, explore the park habitats, and create bird-friendly items for your home and yard. This program is geared for children ages 6-13, and parents/guardians are welcome to stay and participate or drop-off. Preregistration is required. 



Breakfast with the Birds Hike
Saturday, Feb. 13, 9–10:30 a.m. Free
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd., Raleigh
Enjoy doughnuts with a cup of shade-grown, bird-friendly coffee or hot chocolate for the kids, before leisurely walking the trails with a park naturalist to identify and count the birds. Please bring a reusable mug for each member of your family. For all ages.

Love Birds
Sunday, Feb. 14, 2–3:30 p.m. Free
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd., Raleigh
Experience the abundance of bird life in the park by watching a colorful slideshow before heading outdoors to see who's flapping about. Borrow binoculars to get the best "bird's eye view." Explore how birds begin courtship displays to attract mates and warn off rivals, and also what they do to set up house. Then see if you can attract a feathered friend by learning a bird mating dance. For all ages. Preregistration is required.

Little Historians: Our Founding Fathers' Feathered Friends
Monday, Feb. 15, 11 a.m.–noon. $4/child 
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd., Raleigh
Did you know that Turkey and Eagle once faced off to see who would be our national bird? Celebrate Presidents Day and the Great Backyard Bird Count in one fell swoop! Discover the natural characteristics that made each such a contender, learn about the use of birds in national symbols, and make your own bird-themed Great Seal to take home. For ages 5–7. Preregistration is required.



Crowder by Night: Night Birds
Friday, Feb. 12, 4:30–5:30 p.m., $5/family or $3/person
Crowder District Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road, Apex
Celebrate this year's Great Backyard Bird Count with a night hike at Crowder. Learn about owls and other birds that are active at night. Bundle up; it's cold outside! For all ages (most appropriate for ages 6 and older). For all ages. Preregistration is required.   

Kids Get Crafty: Bird Bonanza
Saturday, Feb. 13, 11 am- 12 p.m., $4/child
Crowder District Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road, Apex
Birds come in different shapes, sizes and patterns! Join us for a morning of bird crafts. Use natural objects to create birds found in the woods and build your own make-believe bird! Then paint pictures using feathers and learn the importance of color in our feathered friends. For all ages. Preregistration is required.

Afternoon Backyard Bird Count
Saturday, Feb. 13, 1- 2 p.m., Free
Crowder District Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road, Apex
Support the Great Backyard Bird Count by joining a park naturalist on a 1-mile hike around Crowder Pond and help to identify and count the birds seen along the way. Learn how to identify backyard birds by sight, sound and other signs. For all ages. Preregistration is not required.

Family Feature: Happy Valentines Day Mother Nature!
Sunday, Feb. 14, 2:30-3:30 p.m., $5/family
Crowder District Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road, Apex
Give a valentine to Mother Nature this year! Celebrate a day of love and kindness at the park! Make a few homemade valentine presents for feathered friends including a nesting ball and a bird feeder. Then create a card from natural objects to give to a special someone while eating a Valentine’s day snack.
For all ages. Preregistration is required.

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