Playtime: Great Backyard Bird Count and time to register for spring break camps

Bald eagle sightings aren’t exactly what you would expect while shopping, but this week I have seen two eagles at two different locations, though both perched on cell towers. The west Lynnwood QFC was my first sighting. This eagle was so close I could see its feathers rustling in the wind, but I didn’t stand by the car for too long because I believed myself to also be in the “splash zone” if you will. The second eagle was at Target on the cell tower behind the store.

While I can always find a reason to mention a bird sighting, this time it is to share The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), which runs from Feb. 17-20. This is a quick, easy option to do with the kids and can be performed from any location in as little as 15 minutes. I do actually mean any location too — the Target parking lot has a bunch of different birds including the Brewer’s Blackbird, which loves a good parking lot. According to the GBBC, there are just a few steps to participating, including deciding where to watch the birds, watching them for at least 15 minutes once between now and the 20th and then identifying those birds using one of two options. Beginning birders might try the Merlin Bird ID app first, though I have been birding for a year or so and use it for sound ID every single day. If you have a little more know-how or have done this before, you might try the eBird Mobile app or enter your bird list on the eBird website.

The Pilchuck Audubon has shared all of the resources you will need to participate in this event, which — according to — helps “scientists better understand global bird populations before one of their annual migrations.” They offer a “how to” video, clear images of birds you might expect near us and links to additional resources, all of which you can find at I figure this is a nice way to break up some time over the long weekend or even an excuse to drive to a spot to look for the birds there. Plus, a recent Time magazine article just said, “A study published in October in Scientific Reports found that seeing or hearing birds improved people’s mental well-being for up to eight hours.” I mean who doesn’t want that?!?

The main theme for today is kid entertainment and, in this case, care too for when they are off from school. The cities of Lynnwood, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace are all offering spring break camps through their respective parks departments. As always with camp registration, the sooner the better as spring break is Monday, April 3 through Friday, April 7 in the Edmonds School District.

Photo courtesy City of Mountlake Terrace

In checking out and the associated Craze listings, Mountlake Terrace offers camp for spring and winter breaks, as well as for non-student days and early release days. They want their elementary school-aged campers to join them for a “slice of summer camp fun during the school year.” There are a lot of options for fun in and around the Recreation Pavilion including the pool, basketball courts and an outside play area. Those whot are already enrolled in Kids Krew can register by using their DaySmart app. New users can get more information and registration on

Photo courtesy City of Lynnwood

Lynnwood Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts offers a spring break camp as well. I see via that it is headed by the same person who heads their summer camps and my kids have enjoyed them as campers and as a junior counselor. This camp will be held at Cedar Valley Community School and kids from kindergarten through 7th grade will enjoy a tropical theme for crafts, games, swimming and field trips. There will be three field trips that week, including two trips to the pool and a trip to the Children’s Museum. I appreciate the way Lynnwood does their check-in/check-out system during the summer (it soothes my nerves) and the way they plan the day while also allowing for free time and less structured time as well. For more information and registration, you can visit

Edmonds is offering two different spring break options this year, one Discovery Program camp and a new Edmonds Day Camp option. Campers ages 7 to 12 can join Amazing Animals Spring Break Nature Camp from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during apring break. They will explore native Washington animals all week with an Edmonds Ranger Naturalist, and will learn about the “world of salamanders, coyotes, salmon, rubber boas, owls, and octopuses through games, crafts, and activities.” It has been awhile since I had a camper in this camp, but we found it to be an old shoes and older clothes kind of adventure. My oldest loved these camps so much and I loved hearing all about what they learned in little tidbits as we drove through town or went on a hike. It is why I know the sound a chickadee makes! As of Friday, there was still space in this camp.

Photo courtesy City of Edmonds

Edmonds Day Camp is offering Spring Break Camp: Shark Week! This week is for campers ages 7 to 12 and runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. the week of spring break. They describe this camp as a “fun-filled week spent celebrating one of our coolest creatures through shark-themed games and activities.” It is exciting that day camp is back in Edmonds! We loved our time in its earlier iteration and there is always something so fun about a Frances Anderson Center pick-up. And as the food options grow, it can soon include a slice of pizza on top of the current choice of a cookie or froyo down the street. For information and registration for both camps you can visit

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.

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