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Monday, March 26, 2018

Birds: Discovering North American Species, written by Dr. Shirley Raines with photography by Curt Hart. Flowerpot Press, Thomas Allen & Son. 2017.$16.99 ages 6 and up

"Blue jays use their crest to communicate their feelings. Crest up means upset or afraid, and crest down means relaxed.

Blue jays are said to be able to recognize each other by the black bridle across their throat."

I was talking with my family in British Columbia yesterday, and they are eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring birds. Their bird feeders are full, the hummingbird feeder is placed where the tiny visitors can be discreetly watched, and they are wanting to find pictures of the most common bird species for identification. This book would be a big help.

Written as a resource for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) education and meant to be used in an early years classroom, it has what my granddaughters need to help them begin to learn about many of the birds that will soon be visiting their backyard and on nature walks in the nearby woods.

There are 13 double page informative spreads. All are designed in the same way to provide a poem, and a short paragraph about the featured bird on one side, supported by a clear, colorful photograph, the name of the bird, and captions that relate engaging facts on the facing side.

"American robins are one of the few bird species
that can both hop and walk.

Baby robins don't initially have their well-known
red feathers.

Robins are the first songbird you are likely to hear
in spring."
Birds included are the American robin, blue jay, Carolina chickadee, ruby-throated hummingbird, downy woodpecker, Northern mockingbird, red-winged blackbird, Eastern bluebird, brown pelican, great horned owl, American crow, Canada goose, and Northern cardinal.

The geese are back in Manitoba - a sure sign that spring will eventually arrive. So, get out your field guides, binoculars, and notebook to herald the arrival of each new bird you see in your yard and neighborhood.

Three final pages offer 'Story Stretchers' meant to encourage further exploration in art, science, math and music.

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