Birding Activities for Local Kids at the Tree House

We are enthusiastic urban bird watchers who have developed the tree house as a bird watching platform for small groups of local kids.  The fort, which sits in a large American elm, is an excellent venue for small-scale urban birding.  The tree house platform is set up to welcome  birders, ages 5-10, for birding sessions again once DC reaches Phase III in the Covid crisis.  A variety of educational materials have been donated by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at the DC Zoo.

Spring and fall are our busiest birding seasons.  The century-old host elm, a native tree species favored by a variety of migratory birds, has some lovely nests each spring.  The tree house features pulley-drawn bird feeders and a bird bath, 20-40 feet up in the elm which can be viewed from the platform in the spring.  Young birders can lower the feeders to fill them with the sunflower seed in black oil we''ve been using to attract species.  The tree house and the branches that shade it are also equipped with Amish bird boxes, viewing stools, a telescope and Mid-Atlantic bird identification cards with song recordings.  Young birders are encouraged to learn and practice seasonal bird identification techniques from the platform and climbing rocks.  Pairs of nesting blue jays, cardinals and wood peckers are normally spotted in the elm each spring.  Join us for some enjoyable birding with a gaggle of curious Ward 6 kids in your youth group once things are back to normal.  

Unfortunately, birding sessions are on hiatus for the time being due to the crisis.  The sessions began with a presentation on seasonal bird life and proceed to identification, watching and sketching activities in the elm.  The events ended with a  pine cone bird feeder making activity.  Scouts, come work on bird watching merit badges.  

If you're the leader of a local youth group who would like to inquire about making an appointment to visit the tree house for birding purposes once things return to normal, please email rescuetreehouse@gmail.com.  In your inquiry, please include your group's name, normal meeting location, contact information for adult leaders, the approximate number of child birders you'd like to bring to the tree house, session dates that might work for your group, and other information you consider relevant.  Group leaders should plan to make a brief visit to the alley without their group before their birders visit.  The visit will help familiarize leaders with the fort's safety features and proper supervision of birders.  Leaders of youth groups of economically disadvantaged children, who may never have visited a tree house before, are encouraged to contact the family to arrange a visit.  

The bird watching sessions are free to qualified youth groups properly supervised by one or more adult leaders.  Happy urban birding for Ward 6 kids.