For the Birds
Columnist: Jennifer Knight, Youth Services Librarian
You’re never too young (or too old) for birdwatching. Celebrate spring migration by taking a bird walk with the children in your life. It’s a great way to introduce new vocabulary and experience nature in a live-action “Where’s Waldo?” situation that appeals to the puzzle solver in all of us. Birdwatching also requires slowing down, observing, and interpreting what you’re seeing—all of which are important skills that can help children prepare for academic success. A few great places to explore locally are the Dungeness River Center/Railroad Bridge Park, Carrie Blake Park, and Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.
Share your enthusiasm for the birds and follow up your walks with some bird books from the North Olympic Library System. There are some fabulous new books to ignite curiosity and discussion with children in your life. Check them out today!
Wings by Cheryl B. Klein, Illustrated by Tomi dePaola A bird takes flight for the first time in this delightful, simple rhyming story perfect for toddlers with short attention spans, or new readers gaining skill and confidence. Lovely!
Bird Watch by Christie Matheson
Readers who enjoy find-and-seek books will love the lush watercolor and collage illustrations in this interactive picture book that encourages readers to find, identify, and count backyard birds. Each spread invites the reader to look for birds hidden on the pages. The book is a celebration of nature and a wonderful invitation to birdwatching for the very young. Birds are difficult to find (as they often are in the wild) and will also appeal to older children (and adults!).
My Happy Year by E. Bluebird (Paul Meisel)
A bluebird chronicles his year in a diary-style tale incorporating fact with fiction. This is a great book to share with preschoolers and older kids to demonstrate journaling and to give insight into a typical bird’s life.
Woodpecker Wham! by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Woodpeckers move with action perfect for a rhyming read-aloud for preschoolers and toddlers. Jenkins’ trademark collage illustrations depict a variety of woodpeckers including flickers and downy woodpeckers, both of which can be found locally. Information in the back of the book gives readers options for further research.
Fly With Me: A Celebration of Birds Through Pictures, Poems and Stories by Jane Yolen, Heidi E. Y.
Stemple, Adam Stemple and Jason Stemple
Written by Jane Yolen and her three children as a tribute to her late husband, Fly With Me is chock full of bird information, poems, and photographs. Pages are laid out with a smorgasbord of facts to draw the eye, making it appealing to both the casual browser and fact seeker.
NOLS also has birding backpacks available to check out (search “birding kit” in the catalog) and take on your next adventure, or use to explore right in your own backyard! Each kit includes guidebooks, binoculars, and sound discs of bird songs.
For more birding fun with the little ones in your life, save the date to Build a Birdhouse with NOLS this summer! Saturday, June 15 at 2pm at the Forks Branch Library, and Friday, June 28 at 2pm at the Port Angeles Main Library, and Tuesday, July 16 at 2pm at the Sequim Branch
Library. Library staff and volunteers will guide young builders in creating their own birdhouses. An adult must accompany children under the age of 8. Supplies will be generously provided by Angeles Millwork & Hartnagel Building Supply. The Country Woodwright, a traditional woodworking school and custom furniture business, prepared over 300 kits for the program.
For more information about birdwatching resources visit nols.org, call 360.683.1161, or email Discover@nols.org. The Sequim Branch Library is located at 630 North Sequim Avenue.