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2018 was designated as the Year of the Bird as a way to mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. As their final event event of the year, the organizers are calling on people to share their love of birds. To participate, we're exploring a variety of exciting new children's books about birds this week.

Today we're featuring Hawk Rising by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Brian Floca was nominated for a 2018 Cybils Award.)

"Father Hawk stretches wide his wings"

Written from a second person perspective, a young girl watches a family of red-tailed hawks throughout the course of a single day. Will the father bird be able to catch food to feed the chicks? (Content note:  he does catch a squirrel and it shown realistically.)

Brian Floca's illustrations are amazing, especially some of the hawk close up views. It's no surprise that he's won the Caldecott medal.

The back matter contains additional facts and suggestions for further reading to find the answers to the questions the book is sure to inspire.

Hawk Rising is a lovely introduction to raptors in general and red-tailed hawks in particular. Soar with a copy today.

Activity Suggestions

  1. Check out the red-tailed hawk page at All About Birds (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)
  2. Animal Fact Files has a summary on these common raptors.

 

Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (June 5, 2018)
ISBN-10: 9781626720961
ISBN-13: 978-1626720961

Don't forget our growing list of books for young birdwatchers at Science Books for Kids.

Disclosure: This book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Did you know 2018 has been the Year of the Bird (official website)?

2018 was designated as the Year of the Bird as a way to mark the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. As their final event event of the year, the organizers are calling on people to share their love of birds. To participate, we're going to explore a variety of exciting new children's books about birds this week.

  The amazing books about birds featured this week, many with related activity suggestions:

  1.  Counting Birds: The Idea That Helped Save Our Feathered Friends (reviewed below)
  2. Tuesday's post: Hawk Rising by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Brian Floca
  3. Wednesday's post: Bird Builds a Nest (picture book) and Warblers & Woodpeckers (for young adults and adults)
  4. Thursday's post - Fly With Me: A Celebration of Birds through Pictures, Poems, and Stories by Jane Yolen, Heidi E. Y. Stemple, Adam Stemple, and Jason Stemple
  5. Friday's post - learn about migration with the picture book All Eyes on Alexandra by Anna Levine

Hope you and your family enjoy them.

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If you are a regular follower of the blog, you'll know we've mentioned the Great Backyard Bird Count many times, but have missed the Christmas Bird Count (December 14, 2018 - January 5, 2019). Let's rectify that oversight.

The new picture book, Counting Birds: The Idea That Helped Save Our Feathered Friends (Young Naturalist) by Heidi E.Y. Stemple and illustrated by Clover Robin, explains how Frank Chapman started the count on Christmas Day 1900. (Counting Birds was nominated for a 2018 Cybils Award.)

We should say right up front that this is not a counting book, although there are plenty of birds in the illustrations to see and identify if the reader should want.

Instead, it is a combination of biography and explanation of the event. After giving a brief overview of ornithologist Frank Chapman's life and how he came up with Christmas Count idea, author Stemple describes how the it works.

She explains that all birds are counted:

Creepers, thrashers, bufflehead, brant, and bobwhites.
All birds are welcome.

And anyone can count, even those who are housebound:

Not all birdwatchers are in the field. Some count the birds that visit their backyard feeders.

All birders are welcome.

She also reveals the importance of the data that is collected in helping researchers understand and protect all kinds of birds around the world.

Counting Birds is a wonderful way to introduce young readers to bird watching and annual bird counts. Take part in the Year of the Bird and share a copy today.

Activity Suggestions

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is now free and open to anyone. Learn how to join here. But hurry, it starts Friday, December 14, 2018.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is coming up February 15-18, 2019.

In the mean time, brush up on your bird identification skills at the sites in this list.  I always have trouble with the woodpeckers, sapsuckers, and flickers. What about you?

Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Publisher: Seagrass Press (October 2, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1633226042
ISBN-13: 978-1633226043

Don't forget our growing list of books for young birdwatchers at Science Books for Kids.

Disclosure: This book was provided electronically for the Cybils contest review. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

For STEM Friday this week we have a middle grade science book, The Secret of the Bird's Smart Brain. and More! (Animal Secrets Revealed!) by Ana Maria Rodriguez.

Using a fun format where each chapter reveals a surprise about a different group of animals, the author has found five science stories which often turn conventional wisdom upside down. In the first chapter, the term "bird brain" has a whole new meaning when scientists find that small size has nothing to do with power. In the following chapters readers discover whether birds have a sense of smell, how and why mama bears act during different seasons, and how pig grunts and alligator bellows may have more to say more than we originally thought. The last chapter ends with a hands-on activity for kids to try.

Although it is the animals that draw young readers in (the kunekune pigs are adorable!), the true stars of each chapter are the scientists who are discovering their secrets. The book shows details of how each group of scientists studies the problems, from counting brain cells to recording pig grunts.

The Secret of the Bird's Smart Brain...And More! is the next best thing to taking a field trip with a biologist. Check out a copy today.

Related Activity Suggestions:

Investigate Kunekune Pigs (Chapter 4)

Kunekune pigs are a rare breed from New Zealand. They are prized because of their small size and ability to use grass (to graze) as their main source of food.

Here are two kunekune piglets from the Dallas Zoo:


What do you think the little "tassels" of hair under the chin is all about?

The scientists in the book studied the grunts. You can hear the sounds the pigs make in this video.

Can you hear other sounds in the area besides the pig, like the kids and the chickens? How do you think scientists tune in to just the pig sounds when they want to study them? (See answer below.)

Don't these pigs have interesting colors?  The New Zealand Kunekune Association's page on coat color genetics has a detailed explanation of how genes interact to produce coat colors.

Investigate Bird Brains and Bird Behavior

Age Range: 8 - 11 years
Publisher: Enslow Pub Inc (August 15, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0766088529
ISBN-13: 978-0766088528

Answer:  Scientists trained the pigs they wanted to study to go one at a time into special sound-insulated huts so they could record individual pigs without a lot of extra background noise. Read chapter 4 to find out more.

Disclosure: This book was provided by the author for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.