Yesterday morning, I watched two robins take turns finding worms in a spot of dirt and heard a few geese overhead. Those are sure signs- the birds are returning!
During March, this blog will focus on spring, and of all animals, birds are probably the ones we most associate with spring. Birds are also a great way to study how animals behave in spring.
Investigate what makes a bird a bird in A Bird is A Bird by Lizzy Rockwell. Sparse, but informative, text and clear images make it perfect for introducing this concept to all ages of children. Find feathers and look at them through a magnifying glass.
I am always excited to find science books that are appropriate for all ages, and About Birds by Cathryn Sill and John Sill fits the bill (pun intended) perfectly. With simple, spare text, children learn about how birds are the same and how they are different. Make wings out of paper or scarfs, and have your child pretend they are flying.
Birds by Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek takes a slightly silly look at birds that encourages children to not only think about concepts, such as size and color, but also what it would look like if birds made marks in the sky when they fly. A wonderful marriage of fact and imagination! After reading this book, paint with feathers to create your own bird trail art.
The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies and Melissa Sweet tells about the life of John James Audubon and explores his techniques for creating life-size drawings of birds. After reading this, observe birds in your yard or neighborhood. What part of the day are they looking for food? Are they collecting materials for a nest? Are there any fights over food, water, or nesting places?
Learn more about eggs and egg laying in Chickens Aren't the Only Ones by Ruth Heller. Lots of information and great vocabulary are packed into this book! After reading this one, crack an egg and look at the different parts. Talk about how many animals give birth to their babies in spring to give them time to grow up and get strong before winter, and because there is so much food around.
In The Eagles are Back by Jean Craighead George and Wendell Minor, a young boy helps a ranger keep an eye on a bald eagle egg sent from Alaska to see if it will be adopted by the last eagle pair in the area. The book explains in age-appropriate terms why the eagles were endangered and how that lead to humans needing to help them. At the end, that boy now a father shows his son the eagles in the area. A great read that helps children understand the impact of humans on other animals, and how one person can make a difference.
How Do Birds Find Their Way? (Let's-Read-and-Finds-Out Science 2) by Roma Gans and Paul Mirocha explores migration and scientistic hypothesis' on how birds find their way. Track the migration of the birds in this book on a map, globe, or Google Earth. Additionally, talk about other animals that migrate.
Uh, oh, the cat got out! Feathers for Lunch by Lois Ehlert follows the escaped cat as it hunts for a treat of a bird. Luckily, the cat is wearing a bell so it is only able to capture a few feathers. Phew- that was a close one! As you read this book, introduce the concepts of predator and prey. Cats are predators, but so are some birds, such as robins, owls, and eagles. Add carnivore, herbivore, and omnivore to the list of vocabulary words as well. You can, also, talk about how humans are omnivores and predators because we eat plant and animals. Although most of us don't hunt for our food anymore, and instead, our meat is raised by ranchers.
Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward and Steve Jenkins explores the different types of nests that birds make, as well the different places birds make their nests. After reading this book, go outside and try to find nests in different places. Look in trees, under the eaves of buildings, or rock walls or cliffs. Depending on where you live you may be able to spot several different types. Use binoculars to help observe them from a distance. Once you are back inside, offer your child different materials, such as sticks, yarn, playdough or blankets, to make their own nests.
As always, I hope you enjoy these recommendations. Feel free to share with credit to Words Reflected and Kim Bogren Owen on Facebook, your website, or in your newsletter. Please add your recommendations for additional books about birds in the comments.
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