Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Birds of Every Color

This is a simple and clever introduction to birds that will appeal to many ages. One of the main attractions of birding--the thing we ooh and ahh over--are the amazing colors of birds. From red to green and blue, from shimmering to surreal, Sneed B. Collard III has photographed and described the brilliance of feathers, feet, and other bird features. He explains the source of the colors--the food the birds eat that produce Carotenoids, melanins that the bird produces itself, keratin (like our fingernails) that produces structural coloration, and even refracted light going through feathers (which is also a type of structural coloration). While we love the beautiful and seemingly endless colors, colors serve a variety of purposes for the bird, ranging from recognizing individual birds of their own kind, to attracting mates, and hiding from prey. The colors serve an important purpose in bird survival.

Oversized photos are glorious and illustrate the birds in their natural habitats. Written for two reading levels, each page has short sentences ("Brown colors help birds hide.") for younger readers but also more detailed information about the bird, its colors, and habitat in longer paragraphs that will appeal to older readers. A final double-page spread invites readers to identify the colors seen in an array of multicolored birds. The book ends with a glossary of "Colorful Words."

(Photo by J. Larson)
Collard birds with his son, Braden, who took many of the photos. He is also the author, and photographer, of many other bird books, including Fire Birds and Warblers & Woodpeckers: A Father-Son Big Year of Birding. 

It would be easy to quibble about birds that were not included. Some of my favorite, like the Painted Bunting, appear to have every color. However, what is clear is that Collard has covered a wide range of birds in all their dazzling glory very well. And readers will be on the lookout for even more!

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy from the publisher. I receive no compensation for reviewing the book.