Bird-watching is more than a hobby. It’s an activity you can enjoy no matter where you travel on the planet. It’s a scavenger hunt and the objects fly. Sharon “Birdchick” Stiteler shares 1001 secrets every birder should know. Tucked into this volume are random facts like “A woodpecker’s tongue can extend three times the length of the beak” and “one in ten mute swan pairs end in divorce”. To avoid soiling their nests, “eagles can shoot their poop out over six feet.”
If you want more than trivia, try the chapter on bird-watching month by month. The birds you want to see and where to find them are combined with lists of festivals that offer workshops, tours and the best in optics. Whether it’s whooping cranes in Texas, prairie chickens in Wisconsin or one of the bird festivals in Oregon, there are choices for everyone. The birder’s bucket list has 10 locations throughout the world that might change your vacation plans for years to come. Israel, Kazakhstan and the Galapagos Islands share the list with Alaska, Texas and Florida.
For the younger set, the recently published National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America is arranged in chapters by region or a type of environment. The chapter on western backyards has two pages of pictures, habitat, foods, voice and nesting behavior for the acorn woodpecker. In addition to two page spreads for each bird, readers will find instructions to build a bird feeder or a bird bath at the back of the book.
The Peterson Field Guides series The young birder’s guide to birds of North America was published in 2012 and in part created with help from a fifth grade class. Nearly 300 birds are identified, each with a photo, drawings, mapped habitat and bird facts. Each also has an eye catching “Wow” circle with an interesting note. Wow! “Steller’s Jay could be called Stealing Jay since it often raids the nut caches of Acorn Woodpeckers.” Both titles would be great additions to your favorite young person’s book shelf. — Nancy