Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Let's Discover Birds

Divided into sections by characteristics (nesters, songbirds, water dwellers, etc.) the text in Let's Discover Birds explores the sounds and physical identification of a variety of birds. Each double page spread focuses on a couple of birds. Along with brief facts ("House sparrows nest in empty buildings and birdhouses."), there is an activity, a sticker, and fun facts ("A group of larks can be called an exaltation.") or jokes. Final pages encourage kids to fill in the shapes with stickers that are included.

Most of the birds, like geese, robins, and pigeons, will be fairly easy for kids to spot around their homes or in parks. Some, like puffins and kittiwakes will require a trip to an aquarium or specific areas of North America.  The illustrations of the birds are realistic and clear with general identifications markings.

This book is part of a spin-off series from an animated film, the illustrated characters are those from Helen Oxenbury's book, Let's Go on a Bear Hunt, but the family sets out to discover birds instead of bears. Other than the human characters, I'm not sure why this is a "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" book as the text doesn't follow the pattern of that fun action activity, but Let's Discover Birds will get the kids out of the house and looking for birds.  Because this is an activity book with stickers and is designed for kids to write and color in, it won't be found in many libraries. Consider it as a gift for a budding birder.

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

Monday, January 27, 2020

Audubon Makes Prints Free to Download

Cedar Bird
(Audubon Society)
American Avocet
(Audubon Society)
I'm a little late sharing this but it is still important news. In November, 2019, The Audubon Society announced that it has made 435 prints from the legendary Birds of America available for free download in high resolution images.  The collection of  life-size prints were based off of Audubon's own illustrations. They were painted en plein air, and have long been coveted "for their exactness as well as their outstanding beauty." They are displayed on the Audubon website in alphabetical order with the original accompanying text, making them a great resource for learning about birds. A second sort allows you to find state birds included in the collection (not all state birds are available, however). It's hard to decide on just a few favorites but you will find that you spend hours looking at the plates and learning about the birds, where and how John James Audubon found them, and reading his field notes. Each image page also includes links to the Audubon Guide to North American Birds for additional information. The Cedar Waxwing, for example, was labeled as Cedar Bird by Audubon. Check it out!