I believe it was my son Jonathan who asked first, and my daughter Morgan followed his lead like younger siblings often do. My only concern, as with most kids, was getting them up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday and out of the house by 7. Once that was accomplished, the rest of the morning seemed like a piece of cake.
It just so happened that the Great Dismal Swamp NWR was having one of their so called “Lousy Bird Walks” on Saturday. It’s not really “lousy,” but on a winter walk sightings can be a bit unpredictable. The turnout was small, consisting of me, my two kids and two refuge guides. It seemed as if we had the whole woods to ourselves.
The morning started off great, especially after spotting one of my favorite birds – the red-headed woodpecker. Don, the refuge’s wildlife biologist, said that the red-headed woodpeckers have really made a comeback in the swamp over the last couple years and being seen in areas of the swamp that they weren’t typically established before.
One woodpecker that’s not in decline is the red-bellied woodpecker. We saw several of these during our morning walk. Morgan was excited when she spotted one all by herself.
Unfortunately, most young children today do not have as many direct experiences with nature. If you get an opportunity, experience and explore the great outdoors with your child — you’ll be glad you did!