Watch the Birdie

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Total Time 1 to 2 hours Ages all-ages

For some genuinely cheep thrills, try this easy-to-assemble windowsill bird blind. It's just a cardboard box with strategically placed peepholes (for eyes or binoculars) and a pocket to hold field guides, sketching paper and a bird-watching log. We added a small clock to help us keep track of our sightings (learning, among other things, that the early bird may get the worm, but dusk-feeding cardinals get their share of the birdseed).

What you'll need

  • Sturdy cardboard box (slightly narrower than the window)
  • Craft knife
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Notebook
  • Coffee can
  • Birding supplies (field guide, sketching paper, binoculars, pens and pencils)
  • Small clock

How to make it

  1. To accommodate your child's head and shoulders, use a craft knife or scissors to cut the box to a depth of about 6 inches on the top. The sides can remain deeper--about 10 inches or so. For the pocket, cut a rectangle from the scrap cardboard, bend the sides, and secure it with masking tape to the inside walls of the box, as illustrated.

  2. Set the box in the window to determine the best place for your viewing holes (we added two sets, one level with the feeder and the other closer to the nearby bushes, where birds tend to congregate before and after a meal). Place the box bottom side down and trace around your binoculars' lenses, then cut out the traced holes with a craft knife.

  3. Secure the blind to the window with masking tape. For extra support, place it on a table.

  4. The Birding Log
    Using a ruler, draw two vertical lines down several sheets of notebook paper so that you end up with three columns. Label the columns (in order): "Date and Time," "Bird(s)," and "Observations."

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