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For STEM Friday let's take a look at a beautiful new picture book, On Gull Beach by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Bob Marstall.

In this book, youngsters learn about seagulls and other inhabitants of a Massachusetts beach.

The story follows a young boy as he explores the seashore. Along the way, he spots a sea star. Before he can reach it, however, a seagull picks it up and flies away. Find out what he discovers as he chases the gull along the beach.

Jane Yolen's simple, but expertly-crafted rhyming text and Bob Marstall's exceptional illustrations make a delightful combination. Plus, you can't go wrong with the people of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology backing it.

The back matter includes more detailed information about gulls, other shorebirds, sea stars, and different types of crabs. Included are small color photographs of the different animals, plus QR Codes that will take you to sound files. There is also a sidebar about "How You Can Help Our Beaches and Wildlife."

Young birdwatchers will love On Gull Beach. It would also be a great choice for a trip to the beach, either in real life or in the reader's imagination. Enjoy a copy today!

Age Range: 4 - 11 years
Publisher: Cornell Lab Publishing Group (March 27, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1943645183
ISBN-13: 978-1943645183

Related Seagull Science Activities

1. Identifying Birds

Encourage children to learn how to identify birds. When children can tell different birds apart, they pay more attention to the birds they see.

Identifying birds requires learning to recognize body shapes, learning the names of body parts, plus honing observation skills. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has some tips and resources to get started.

 

The type of seagulls featured in the book are herring gulls. As you can see from the illustrations, herring gulls have robust white bodies, light gray on their wings, pink legs and feet, yellow eyes, and they have a red spot towards the tip of their yellow lower beak.  The All About Birds website has more details and photographs of herring gulls.

 

Is this a herring gull? Check the characteristics listed above. Does it match?

Nope. There are more than 20 species of gulls in North America.  This is an immature Heermann's gull (Larus heermanni).

2. Questions and Answers: Seagulls

Q: How are the feet of seagulls different from those of the song birds in your community?

A: The seagulls have webbed feet for swimming.

Q: What sounds do seagulls make?

Seagulls make a number of different sounds depending on circumstances. They have alarm calls, courtship calls, sounds to defend territories, and sounds when they feed their chicks. All About Birds has some seagull sound recordings.

Q: Why do seagulls have dots on their beaks?

A: Seagull chicks peck the dot on the beak as a signal they want to be fed.

Q:  Are seagulls only found at the beach?

A:  No. Seagulls are also found inland, around rivers and lakes, and even in agricultural fields. They are common around landfills.

Q:  Do seagulls really eat sea stars like in the book?

A:  Seagulls eat many different creatures at the beach, including sea stars, crabs, and fish. Those found at the landfill are feeding on trash.

Here are some clever gulls eating snails.

No matter how you crack it, seagulls are interesting animals.

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Earlier titles in the On Bird Hill and Beyond series:
On Bird Hill (2016) by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Bob Marstall

On Duck Pond (2017) by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Bob Marstall

See our growing list of children's books for young birdwatchers at Science Books for Kids.

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher's representatives 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.

One of our favorite bird-related activities, the Great Backyard Bird Count, is coming up this weekend,  February 16-19, 2018.

Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a prime example of a child-friendly citizen science project. All you and your family need to do is count the birds you see over 15 minutes and then report your finding. Although it is called "backyard," you may count birds anywhere they are found, including parks, preserves, or fields. There is plenty of information and instructions about getting started at the website.

Are you a bird photographer? There is also a photo contest.

Related Activities:

Looking for children's books about birds?

1. Check out Taking Flight: a List of Children’s Books About Bird Migration at Science Books for Kids

Taking-Flight-childrens-books-about-bird-migration-300x270

2. The list of children's books for young birdwatchers at Science Books for Kids

childrens-books-for-young-birdwatchers

You may also want to try:

Are you planning to participate in The Great Backyard Bird Count? What kinds of birds do you see in your backyard? We'd love to hear.

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Just in time for Great Backyard Bird Count  February 17-20, 2017, we have a terrific bird-themed giveaway opportunity offered by Downtown Bookworks. Let's see all the great stuff they have to offer, and then discuss what you have to do to enter below.

Number 1 on the list is Bird-acious (Science with Stuff) by award-winning children's science writer Melissa Stewart.

This book is a fun and educational introduction to birds for young readers. It contains big color photographs and interesting facts. It covers everything from feathers and flying to beaks and eating. There’s even a two-page spread that features photographs of cool bird tongues and describes what the various structures are used for.

But Bird-acious offers even more. In the cover image above, do you see the brown mass in the yellow oval to the right, just under the title? That is an actual owl pellet for kids to dissect, as well as detailed instructions how to do it in the back of the book. A bird book with its own hands-on activity included, what more could you ask for?

See more about Bird-acious in last week's STEM Friday review.

Age Range: 6 and up
Publisher: Downtown Bookworks; Nov edition (December 10, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1935703900
ISBN-13: 978-1935703907

Number 2 is A Walk in the Woods: Into the Field Guide by Emily Laber-Warren.

This Into the Field Guide is perfect to carry along on a hike in the woods. Color photographs and clear, simple descriptions will help youngsters learn to identify common animals, plants, and even some rocks. Also includes basic scientific concepts and facts, such as how stick insects hide from predators using camouflage.

Although not solely about birds, both these guides have a section on common birds found in the habitat they feature. A Walk in the Woods has descriptions of American robins, Northern mockingbirds, chickadees, goldfinches, etc., all the birds you might see for The Great Backyard Bird Count.

Age Range: 5 and up
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Downtown Bookworks (June 18, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1935703269
ISBN-13: 978-1935703266

Number 3 is A Walk on the Beach: Into the Field Guide by Laurie Goldman.

A Walk on the Beach helps young readers learn about common animals, plants, rocks, shells, and even debris found on the beach.

The bird section includes information about water birds ranging from great blue herons and seagulls, to eagles and ducks. If you live near a body of water, this book will also help your children identify birds for the GBBC.

Age Range: 5 and up
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Downtown Bookworks; Original edition (June 18, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1935703277
ISBN-13: 978-1935703273

Number 4 is Look and Learn Birds (PBS Kids) by Sarah Parvis and PBS KIDS (Editor)

Perfect to accompany a citizen science project like The Great Backyard Bird Watch, this kit comes with a 64-page Look and Learn Birds book, simple-to-use binoculars, a laminated identification sheet with pictures of common birds, and an activity poster. What a fabulous way to encourage the next generation of bird watchers!

Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Publisher: Downtown Bookworks; Box Pck Pa edition (August 30, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1941367291
ISBN-13: 978-1941367292

Giveaway

Would you like a chance to receive the prize pack of all four of these items? Simply login the Rafflecopter below -- making sure you leave a valid e-mail address -- by 12:00 a.m. EST February 7, 2017. Rafflecopter will randomly pick the winner and I will notify Downtown Bookworks (they have kindly agreed to ship the prize.) Their only request is that the giveaway is only open to US residents.

The Giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please let me know in the comments or contact me at the e-mail address listed on the about page if you have any problems with Rafflecopter.

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Related Activities:

Check out the bird-related activities in this free downloadable .pdf:

Activities from PBS KIDS Look and Learn Birds

 

And don't forget the Great Backyard Bird Count.

 

Disclosure: These books and kit were provided by the publisher/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.