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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bird Watcher, by David Burnie. DK Canada. 2015. $10.99 ages 8 and up

"Many birds fly thousands of miles, and some stay airborne around the clock until they are old enough to breed. Even if a bird is far away, you can often tell what kind it is by its silhouette, or by the way it flaps its wings. Birds of prey soar high into the sky, with their wings held out straight. Other birds speed past in straight lines or graceful curves. Some flap their wings in bursts ... "

I haven't posted any books from DK in a while now. I remain in awe of the work they do to get information books into the hands of young and keen nature enthusiasts. They design their books for assured ease of use, and fill the pages with incredibly detailed photographs that help young learners with context for that learning. Each page has short paragraphs of pertinent information that relates to, and improves on what is being shared.

A table of contents is helpful, and ensures that readers will quickly find what most interests them. Double page spreads help interested ornithologists understand what a bird's world is like, the equipment that is essential to make the study of birds accessible. A blind is described for watching from cover so as not to scare them away. A bird buffet is set up to attract hungry birds and includes such foods as mealworms, seeds, bread crumbs, fruit, and even bacon fat. Advice is given on making feeders that will attract birds to your own yard, what to plant in order to attract avian visitors, and
how to tell if birds are visiting your yard from the clues they leave.

There are 30 activities described to help readers learn how best to attract, feed, study, and name the birds they see. The science is explained, and the learning is most enjoyable and reliable. By putting out nesting materials in your yard, you can watch as birds construct their own individual homes. You will see which bird gathers, and which one builds. If you are lucky, they might build it close enough for you to watch them hatch and care for their new babies.

"If you have a nestbox in your yard, you will be able to see just how quickly birds grow up. Most people get by on just three meals a day, but baby songbirds need many more. Their parents have to work to keep them fully fed. By watching them for just 15 minutes, you can estimate how many times they bring food to the nest in a day."

And there's more! It's a great book to give a budding birdwatcher, along with a pair of binoculars and a field guide. They will be off and away.

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