Friday, May 12, 2017

Birds on the Brain

Birds are returning to our hill and staking out nesting sites. This is a great time of year to be watching birds, and here are three books for kids with birds on the brain.

theme for the day: nature, birds.

Duckings (Explore my World series)
by Marfe Ferguson Delano
32 pages; ages 3-7
National Geographic Kids, 2017

It's a wood duck!

High in a tree, a wood duck mother checks her nest.She sits on her eggs to keep them warm. Then one day, peck, peck, peck. Ducklings are ready to hatch.

What I like about this book: it is perfect for preschoolers, with large words or simple phrases that set off sections of a baby bird's life. Crack! They hatch. Jump! They leap out of the nest and down, down, down ... to a pond. Text describes the life of a duckling, and photos invite us right into their day, from learning what to eat (bugs are good) to following mom everywhere. Back matter includes comparing ducks with other animals that hatch out of eggs, "ducky details", and how to be a duckling.

Otis the Owl
by Mary Holland
32 pages, ages 4-9
Arbordale Publishing, 2017

Otis is a barred owl. When he grows up, he will have brown stripes, or bars, on his feathers.

Beautiful, detailed photos take us right into the first few months of a baby owl's life. Otis, and his sister, are the cutest, fluffiest sad-eyed babies you've ever seen.

What I like about this book: It shows all aspects of a baby owl's life, from hatching to eating voles, mice, and the occasional chipmunk. Sometimes Otis and his sister fight over the food their parents bring. Other times, he and sis are best friends, preening each other's feathers and standing watch at the nest hole. Back matter includes information on owl pellets, a guessing game, and details on owl anatomy. 

Birds Make Nests
by Michael Garland
32 pages; ages 4-8
Holiday House, 2017

Birds make nests. 

Two-page spreads show a diversity of birds and the nests they build. Some nest in trees, others nest on the ground. Some use grass to make their nest, or animal hair, spider silk, lichens. Others use sticks and mud. Some nests open at the top; some nests open at the bottom.

What I like about this book: It introduces readers to common and uncommon birds. Kids might recognize some as visitors to their back yard or local park. Others live half-way around the world, giving parents an opportunity to show on a globe or world map where those birds build their nests. It doesn't matter how big or how small a nest is, it serves an important purpose. I also like Garland's images, created using woodcuts and digital tools.

Beyond the books:

Do the "Ducking Dance" (adapted from Ducklings):  Shake out your feathers. Shake, shake, shake! Swim in the water. Paddle, paddle, paddle! Go for a walk - waddle, waddle, waddle! Then spread your wings and flap! flap! flap!

Learn to talk like an owl. You might have to go on a night walk or open your windows and listen for owls. Here and here are pages with information on barred owls and recordings of their calls. And here's a nest cam so you can watch owlets in Indiana.

Look for bird nests. Here are photos showing different kinds of nests you might find. Remember to be respectful of the birds - their nest is their home. Here are important tips for nest watching.

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books.We're also joining the STEM Friday roundup. Drop by STEM Friday blog for more science books and resources. Review copies from publishers.


  1. There's just something irresistible about owls!

  2. Sue, I adore birds! I know what I'll be looking for at the library tomorrow! Thanks. Birds Make Nests looks beautiful.

  3. I just love bird books. Thanks for this list. I will check them out.

  4. I really want to read Otis the Owl. I can't get enough of those birds!