Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Online Book Club: - Wrapping Up April: Migration

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Online Book Club - Wrapping Up April: Migration

I've joined in with some blogging friends for an online book club, and we are wrapping up this week. By the way, all our readers are invited to join in as well. Each month we'll have a theme to build our book picks around, and our April theme was Migration. 

I've been trying to pay more attention to the kinds of birds that frequent our yard, and since birds are now migrating back north, that was direction I headed with my book choice. I found this large field guide at my library and I'm actually rather tempted to purchase a copy to keep! Feed the Birds: Attract and Identify 196 Common North American Birds by Chris Earley is divided into two main parts - Attracting and Feeding Birds, and Identifying Birds.

Earley introduces his book with some anecdotes, info about why to feed birds, suggestions for getting kids of different ages involved, and some organizations, resources, and projects to check out (such as the Great Backyard Bird Count). Even photography tips! And the photographs throughout the book are amazing.
I hope that the following pages inspire you to not only set up your own feeders but also really watch the birds in your yard to see just how amazingly adapted they are to their environment.
There's a lot of excellent and detailed information on what to put in feeders, which foods and feeder types are suited to different types of birds, and more. We've had hummingbird feeders for a few years, but other than that we've mostly used tube feeders and the occasional seed bell. After getting ideas from this book, I'm hoping to add a couple different types of feeders around our yard over this season, and see if we can attract a few more bird species. 

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Another section is dedicated to making backyards wildlife friendly. Many practical ideas for what kind of habitats to provide, how to make sure there's adequate shelter to attract birds, and what kind of nesting boxes and materials birds will use. The only part of this I thought impractical was the focus on keeping cats indoors or in cat patios and that sort of thing. My cats are indoor cats. But I don't have any control over the feral cats in our area. Other than making it difficult for these cats to sneak up on my bird feeders, there's not a lot I can do. Squirrels are a plague for many people's bird feeders, and there are some suggestions for dealing with them as well. Bonus: some plans to build your own feeder boxes and platforms!

I really enjoyed the details on bird behaviors. The text itself was fairly brief, but there were excellent photos showing the different behaviors. This section led nicely into the second half of the book, Bird Identification.
The birds in this book were chosen by exploring information on the Project Feederwatch website and seeing what species have been recorded during backyard feeder surveys. So, most of these birds can be attracted to a feeder.

Earley starts off this section with general information and definitions, and then provides a photo-rich identification guide by bird type. Sparrows, Blackbirds, Woodpeckers, Jays, Pigeons and Doves, Finches, and the list goes on. Lots of photos, a summary of information about each species, and some interesting little stories and tidbits sprinkled throughout.


White-throated Sparrow

This is a very practical and attractive book. It's larger than the pocket field guides, so it's probably not the bird identification guide you want to take on a hike, but it's perfect for a reference as you watch birds through your kitchen window. I would strongly recommend it for homeschoolers wanting to add some well-informed birdwatching to their educational pursuits!

Cardinal and Dark-eyed Junco

Visit Hopkins Homeschool to find out more about the online book club, and visit all the participating bloggers to see what they've read as part of this theme!

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Lori - At Home: where life happens said...

I do enjoy bird books. We have quite the collection, as they all seem to offer something different. I'll have to look this one up and see if I can afford to add it to my ever-growing collection.

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