birds

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An entertaining and profound look at the lives of birds, illuminating their surprising world--and deep connection with humanity. Birds are highly intelligent animals, yet their intelligence is dramatically different from our own and has been little understood. As scientists come to understand more about the secrets of bird life, they are unlocking fascinating insights into memory, game theory, and the nature of intelligence itself. The Thing with Feathers explores the astonishing homing abilities of pigeons, the good deeds of fairy-wrens, the influential flocking abilities of starlings, the deft artistry of bowerbirds, the extraordinary memories of nutcrackers, the lifelong loves of albatross, and other mysteries--revealing why birds do what they do, and offering a glimpse into our own nature. 

A frustrated housewife sets out to see more bird species than anyone in history--and ends up risking her life again and again in the wildest places on earth. Phoebe Snetsinger had planned to be a scientist, but, like most women who got married in the 1950s, she ended up keeping house, with four kids and a home in the suburbs by her mid-thirties. Numb and isolated, she turned to bird-watching, but she soon tired of the birds near home and yearned to travel the world. Then her life took a crushing turn: At forty-nine, she was diagnosed with cancer and told that she had less than a year to live. Devastated, she began crisscrossing the globe, finding rare and spectacular birds that brought her to the heights of spiritual ecstasy. Life List is a powerful portrait of a woman who found refuge from society's expectations in a dangerous and soul-stirring obsession.

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The Big Year is Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Obmascik's account of what was to become the greatest birding year of all time. It was freak weather conditions that ensured all previous records were broken, but what becomes clear within the pages of this classic portrait of obsession is that while our feathered friends may be the objective of the Big Year competition, it's the curious activities and behavioral patterns of the pursuing "homo sapiens" that are the real cause for concern. It is a contest that reveals much of the human character in extremes. Such are the author's powers of observation that he brilliantly brings to life and gets under the skin of these extraordinary, eccentric and obsessive birders while empathizing with and eventually succumbing to the all-consuming nature of their obsession. The result is a wonderfully funny, acutely observed classic to rank alongside the best of Bill Bryson. 

Most people would love to be able to fly like a bird, but few of us are aware of the other sensations that make being a bird a gloriously unique experience. What is going on inside the head of a nightingale as it sings, and how does its brain improvise? How do desert birds detect rain hundreds of kilometers away? How do birds navigate by using an innate magnetic compass? Tracing the history of how our knowledge about birds has grown, particularly through advances in technology over the past fifty years, Bird Sense tells captivating stories about how birds interact with one another and their environment. 

 

Did you miss our Monday Bird Storytime this week? Don't worry, here's what you missed, plus a few more suggestions for a bird storytime you can do at home.

From Storytime

Sweep up the sun by Helen Frost

Simple poetic language and close-up photographs invite readers to take flight with the birds outside their windows.

 

You'll find many variations of this rhyme. Here is the one adapted for this week's bird storytime:

     Six feathered birds, so glad to be alive;

     One flew away and then there were five.

     Five feathered birds flying over my door;
     One flew away and then there were four.
     Four feathered birds singing in my tree,
     One flew away and then there were three.
     Three feathered birds looking at you,
     One flew away and then there were two.
     Two feathered birds sleeping in the sun,
     One flew away and then there was one.
     One feathered bird looking like a hero,
     He flew away and now there are zero!

 

Books on Michigan Birds for Kids

Backyard Birdsong

I now can identify certain birds by song thanks to this book. The Backyard Birdsong Guide: A Guide to Listening by Donald Kroodsma is a real treat — especially as Spring approaches. Look up a variety of birds located in Eastern and Central North America and you will find a photo of the bird, a brief description, information about their habitat, as well as information about their singing. But what is really nifty is that you can then punch in the number located next to the bird in the sound device located in the book and listen to the bird singing!

Bird Books for the Young at Heart

Parrots over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore ; collages by Susan L. Roth

Do you really want a bird? by Bridget Heos ; illustrated by Katya Longhi

Have you heard the nesting bird? by words by Rita Gray ; pictures by Kenard Pak

Mama built a little nest by Jennifer Ward ; illustrated by Steve Jenkins

For the birds: the life of Roger Tory Peterson by Peggy Thomas ; illustrated by Laura Jacques

For the Birds

Birds of a feather by Jane Yolen — Striking photographs are what caught my eye right away on Jane Yolen's new book. This book has 14 spirited poems about familiar, as well as less common birds in the Eastern U.S. Each poem is matched with a photograph of the bird with realistic colors and sharp details. Yolen has written over 300 books for children and won many medals for her work.

Little Black Crow

Little Black Crow follows a young boy as he watches a bird fly through skies that alternate from stormy to sunny, cold to warm. He wonders, "Little black crow, where do you go?" This question is followed by other questions about family, friends, love, and fear. Will Boy and Crow be friends? Check it out to find out. You can always check out some other bird adventures too!

Zoobooks

Beautiful, colorful photographs of animals make Zoobooks magazine an instant winner with kids. Each issue focuses on a particular animal, bird, reptile or insect giving lots of information and colorful illustrations. Kids can work on puzzles, games and crafts, while many young readers submit their own drawings and stories. Zootles is geared for ages 2-6 and Zoobies for babies through age 2. Fun resources in the world of wildlife for you to check out!

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