Nature Canada
A Baltimore Oriole

Nature Canada’s Guide to Indoor Birding

Canadians across the country are practising responsible physical distancing to limit the spread of COVID-19—but also…it’s the first day of spring! The return of migratory birds means this is the perfect time to let your indoor naturalist bloom.

Nature can reduce stress and anxiety and ground you during these trying times. This is true even when you experience the “outdoors” from the comfort of your home. 

New to birding? Check out Nature Canada’s two e-Books on backyard birds to familiarize yourself with the birds in your area, and follow the steps below to get started!

3 Steps to Indoor Birding

  1. The most crucial aspect of indoor birding is the most simple one: find a place that provides an adequate view of the outdoors. In an ideal situation, this view would include trees, tall grasses, shrubs and wildflowers, and other natural elements that attract birds.
  2. Once you have found a suitable location, make yourself comfortable. Grab some pillows and blankets, get some snacks, a notebook, pencils, and—of course—binoculars!
  3. Finally, patience is key to bird watching. If you have ever been birding, you will know there is sometimes nothing much to do but watch and wait. This can be challenging if you are eager to see birds, but the reality is it’s often worth the wait. But let’s face it, we have a lot of time on our hands these days!

Indoor birding is a family-friendly activity, and can include children and older folks. You can also engage kids by asking them to draw the birds they see. Want to contribute to citizen science? Add your observations on the eBird platform.

How to Build a Nest Box

Your family can take advantage of the additional time indoors by building a nest box. A nest box is a human-constructed box in which a bird can build its nest. Many nature enthusiasts install nest boxes to increase available nesting habitat for birds in areas which may not provide enough natural habitat space. This activity can include all members of the family, old and young, and help build a connection to nature.

Most nest boxes can be built with relative ease and efficiency if you have help and design plans. With spring’s arrival, nest boxes can also increase the breeding chance for birds in your area. 

It’s important to know which bird you are trying to attract when building your nest box. That way you can follow the best practices that are available to ensure nesting success and to protect the birds from predation. The species will differ depending on your area. However, with a little bit of homework you can ensure the work you are doing has a positive impact on local bird populations.

To learn about the birds you can support in your area, and see their nest box plans and requirements, visit: https://nestwatch.org/learn/all-about-birdhouses/right-bird-right-house/

And for more information on how to make your birdhouse safe and successful, visit: https://nestwatch.org/learn/all-about-birdhouses/features-of-a-good-birdhouse/

Happy backyard birding!

Editor’s note: This blog post was updated on Monday, March 30 to reflect the shift in language from “social distancing” to “physical distancing.”


Nature Canada thanks the frontline medical workers for their efforts during this time. We follow the advice of the World Health Organization and Health Canada. Please visit these two websites for the latest information on how to protect you and your family from COVID-19.

Nature is also important to our health and well-being and we hope you’ll consider supporting our efforts to save nature. Thank you for caring!

Yours in nature, the Nature Canada team. 

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