Although birding is considered a pastime for boomers, it’s an ideal excursion for kids, too, says Sarah Doxon, education programs manager for Bird Conservancy of the Rockies: “Not only does it get them outside…it gets them noticing the world around them.” There’s no better time to introduce your little ones to the hobby than December, when northern birds move to Colorado for the season, and the conservancy is hosting two events for kids at Barr Lake State Park in Brighton: the Christmas bird count (December 3) and a winter birding camp (December 28 to 30). If you go on your own, though, you don’t have to wing it. Use our guide to spy five of Barr Lake’s most frequent visitors.

Russell Burden/Getty Images (common goldeneye); Getty Images (dark-eyed junco, child birders); David C. Stephens/Getty Images (bald eagle); Richard Goluch/500px/Getty Images (northern shoveler); Chris McNeill/Getty Images (white-crowned sparrow)

1. Common Goldeneye

These medium-size ducks from the boreal forests of Canada dive underwater to find their food. Wait about a minute, and they’ll pop back up.

What to look for:

This bird’s bright yellow eyes stand out against the snow. They also have a distinctive, bulbous head and a small beak. Males feature black-and-white bodies with iridescent green heads. Females have gray-brown bodies and brown heads.

2. Dark-eyed Junco

You’ll have the best luck finding these smaller songbirds by wandering through the cottonwood groves along the nature trail south of the Barr Lake Nature Center. Be sure to keep your eyes down, though. The charismatic junco is most likely hopping around near the low-lying shrubs and tree trunks.

What to look for:

Although there are several variations of this medium-size sparrow, the most distinctive is the Oregon form, denoted by its dark black head, pink bill, and white outer tail feathers.

3. Bald Eagle

“The number one draw for Barr Lake in the winter is bald eagles,” Doxon says. America’s mascots move to Colorado when the weather turns cold because their home lakes freeze over, making fishing difficult, while our lakes often do not.

What to look for:

Juvenile bald eagles can easily be misidentified as golden eagles because they don’t start to look like the distinguished figures we know until they are three to five years old. Some telltale differences: Goldens have feathered legs; balds do not. Goldens have a uniform dark breast and belly, while balds are mottled brown and white.

4. Northern Shoveler

Look for these waterfowl (among the most readily identifiable and abundant winter guests at Barr Lake) feeding just off the shore, bobbing their heads in the water to fish out invertebrates, seeds, and plants.

What to look for:

The bird’s large bill (about 2.5 inches long) is shaped like a shovel. Males have bright white chests, rust-colored flanks, and green heads. Females and adolescent males are mottled brown and white.

5. White-crowned Sparrow

File this objectively adorable bird under “intermediate to advanced identification,” as it camouflages itself against brown trees. But don’t fret if you miss it this month. The variety that visits Barr Lake spends summers in Colorado’s mountains, so they’re available year-round.

What to look for:

Bold black and white striping marks the top of this small bird’s head; it also has a longer tail and a pale bill.