The Great Backyard Bird Count is one of our favorite child-friendly citizen science projects. All you and your family need to do is count the birds you see over 15 minutes and then report your finding via the e-Bird app. 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.
The Great Backyard Bird Count 2019 starts next weekend. It is a family-friendly citizen science event, and a longtime favorite of ours. Birders — novice and experienced alike — identify and count birds, then report their findings using eBird (instructions are on the website). This gives ornithologists a “snapshot” of where birds are around the world.
To get inspired, you might want to pick up one of bird lover and author Sneed B. Collard III’s wonderful books about birds (Follow links to my reviews)
To keep interest high, after the event keep a look out for Sneed B. Collard III’s new book Birds of Every Color with his son, Braden Collard. It is coming out in March, just in time for spring migration birding.
Right up front, this isn’t a concept book about colors. Instead, it delves deeply into the whys and hows of the fascinating array of bird feather hues.
For example, one page explains how birds get certain pigments from the food they eat and another explains about melanins, brown and black pigments that birds and other animals manufacture internally. Ever hear of psittacofulvins? You’ll find out about those, too.
Look closely and you will see bird colors may be different from place to place, season to season, and even between individual birds. Did you know that the extensiveness of the black bib of house sparrows. and the black and white patches on the heads of chickadees reflect their status in the flock?
The backmatter contains a two-page spread with twelve photographs of different bird species and challenges the reader to figure out how many different colors each has. Also included is a glossary of “Colorful Words,” plus “About the Author.” On the next page we learn “About the Photographs,” which were taken by either Sneed or his son, Braden. Cool!
Birds of Every Color will enthrall budding ornithologists and nature lovers in general. Look for a copy next month or pre-order it now.
Share it Science has a free printable bird count sheet perfect for the Great Backyard Bird Count.
Age Range: 5 – 10 years
Publisher: Bucking Horse Books (March 1, 2019)
Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher. 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.
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:
Counting Birds: The Idea That Helped Save Our Feathered Friends (reviewed below)
Tuesday’s post: Hawk Rising by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Brian Floca
Wednesday’s post: Bird Builds a Nest (picture book) and Warblers & Woodpeckers (for young adults and adults)
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
Friday’s post – learn about migration with the picture book All Eyes on Alexandra by Anna Levine
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.
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.