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Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard
by Annette LeBlanc Cate
Publisher: Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA. 2013
Curriculum Connections: Birds, backyard science, drawing, art, humorous writing, life science, classification, habitats, animal behavior, adaptation, migration.
Features: Table of contents, foot notes, diagrams, drawings, speech bubbles, maps, bibliography, index
An exuberant introduction to bird-watching, this illustrated guide reads like advice from an old (and very funny) friend. Look Up! accurately covers bird basics (habitats, communication, behaviors, adaptations, migrations), while also covering more general themes like scientific classification and the joy of field sketching. The author’s informal approach is intuitive and accessible - and kids will get a kick out of the silly talking birds.
Following are suggested resources for text-sets targeting the possible curriculum connections above.
Books:
Author
Title/Publisher
Grade Levels
Comments
ISBN/Publication Date
Alderfer, Jonathan
Bird Guide of North America
National Geographic Children’s Books
2-6
Organized by 10 generalized habitats (Western Backyard Birds,” “Deserts,” etc.), this first field guide introduces kids to about 100 common birds. Solid information and nice photographs.
978-1426310942
c2013
Montgomery, Sy
Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot
HMH Books for Young Readers
3-6
Another excellent “Scientist in the Field” title. The text follows a team of scientists’ emotional attempt to save the once ubiquitous kakapo.
978-0618494170
c2010
Stewart, Melissa
Feathers: Not Just for Flying
Charlesbridge
1-4
Introduces the many adaptive functions of feathers. An excellent read-aloud that features life-like illustrations and informative sidebars.
978-1580894302
c2014
Burns, Loree Griffin
Citizen Scientists
Square Fish
3-6
An attractive introduction to four citizen science projects, including the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count. Quality photos, table of contents, bibliography, index and resources page.
978-0805095173
c2012
Judge, Lita
Bird Talk
Flash Point
1-4
A lushly illustrated introduction to the communication strategies of 28 bird species. The artistic approach is a great contrast to Look Up!
978-1596436466
c2012
Websites and Online Magazines:
Name of Site
Address
Grade Levels
Comments
Publisher/Creator
Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Education
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/education/kids
K-6
Excellent all around site for bird facts and activities. Resources include book lists with matching activities, links to citizen science projects, nesting information, birding tips and much more.
Cornell University
Smithosonian.com
Smithsonian Magazine
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/most-extensive-report-ever-published-american-birds-says-theres-cause-concern-180952644/
4-6
An article about the 2014 U.S. “State of the Birds,” which details reasons to be concerned about birds in the United States. A good springboard to talking about wildlife conservation.
Max Kutner
September 9, 2014
Audubon.org
Online Guide to North American Birds
http://birds.audubon.org/birdid
4-6
A simple guide to birds that allows for browsing and searching by bird family or common name. Includes identification instruction and a glossary. Vocabulary is high level, but pictures are good and organization is clear.
National Audubon Society
Wild Music: Thrush Song
http://www.wildmusic.org/en/animals/thrush
K-6
Learn how to differentiate between the songs of four species of thrush. Includes a “Bird Song Challenge.”
Science Museum of Minnesota
DragonflyTV: Cave Swallows
http://www-tc.pbskids.org/dragonflytv/web_assets/pdf/dftv_gpsedguide_caveswallows.pdf#page=3
K-6
An activity guide for a bird behavior scavenger hunt.
PBS Kids Go!
Bird Web
http://www.birdweb.org/birdweb/
4-6
Connected to the Audubon’s large guide to N. American birds, but focuses only on WA state.
Seattle Audubon Society