Did you know Beaumont is kind of a big deal in the birding community? Located on not one, but two migratory flyways, people travel from miles around for the chance to see one of the 250 species that call our area home (over 400 during peak migration!) I never considered myself a birder, but as usual, my kids had other plans.
I don’t know about you, but prior to this whole new adventure in birding, I kind of thought birdwatching was stuffy and boring and something that seniors did because they needed a hobby. (I’m a jerk, and I apologize.) In honor of World Migratory Bird Day this past Saturday, May 8, I wanted to introduce you to a way that you can get the whole family more interested in recognizing the birds in your area and also gets you out exploring other area attractions at the same time!
One morning during our freak winter storm this past February, I was the first one up and enjoying the quiet house with a cup of cold brew when I glanced outside and saw a bright streak of red against the white ice and snow. It was a male Northern Cardinal, all puffed up like a balloon (I later learned that they do this as a way to keep themselves warm in the cold, by holding air between their feathers). He was pecking around my yard, trying to find anything he could, but not having much luck I’m assuming since everything was covered in ice and snow. We had recently made birdseed ornaments with our homeschool co-op, so I had a whole sack of birdseed leftover, and since that little red dude tugged on my animal lover heartstrings, I grabbed a plate from the kitchen and set out a tray of birdseed for him. By that afternoon, after another snowfall, and a full afternoon without electricity in the coldest temperatures in years, that little plate I set out was FULL of little chirping friends grateful for the sustenance, and we were watching that little plate of birdseed like it was the Super Bowl.
Around the same time, we discovered the Beaumont Birdies, and it was the combination of two things together that had my kids teaming up to decide that we are, in fact, birders.
Beaumont Birdies is a FREE passport program by the Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau. Designed to promote all the wonderful natural attractions in the area, their hope was that the Beaumont Birdies would “capture the interests of a broader audience” (check) as well as “increasing awareness of local birding hotspots.”
Think of them as town ambassadors or tour guides, leading you on a scavenger hunt around the area’s star attractions while introducing you to the local wildlife.Beaumont CVB
The Birdies aren’t for sale, but you can easily collect them by downloading your Beaumont Birdie Passport and visiting at least 10 of the 16 locals museums and hotspots that the birdies call home. With attractions such as the Beaumont Children’s Museum and Gator Country, as well as free visits like the Babe Zaharias Museum, the Edison Museum, and more, you’ll be filling up your passports in no time! (Visitors can also receive a Birdie by booking a hotel with the Beaumont Birders Package.)
Each Birdie plays that bird’s actual call and includes it’s own website and poem. (They honestly remind me of Ty Beanie Babies, and I’m here for it.) When we’re outside, my boys love listening to the sounds of the birds and trying to identify it based on its call thanks to their Birdie collection!
We literally cannot leave home without them. Literally. Every time we leave the house, F grabs two and they have to ride in his cupholers on his car seat. And when we see hummingbirds, cardinals, or some of the other birds we have in our Beaumont Birdies collection, he’s always the first to notice and races to the window to watch them at the feeders we’ve put out.
If you’re wanting to get your family more interested in birds and nature, or just need a simple excuse for a good area scavenger hunt, the Beaumont Birdies have you covered! And while you’re at it, check out some of the area’s 28 local birding trails and see how many Beaumont Birdies you can spot!