The best picture books for budding young birders

The Books I Picked & Why

Feathers: Not Just for Flying

By Melissa Stewart, Sarah S. Brannen

Feathers: Not Just for Flying

Why this book?

Birds are the only animals in the world with feathers - and that alone makes them pretty special.  

As a major bird-nerd myself (truly!), I love this book because it encouraged me to look closely at birds with new eyes: the bristle feathers around a bird’s beak, the tiny eyelashes around a bird’s eye…

Feathers, Not Just for Flying, delves into the fascinating physiology and function of each type of feather found on a bird  - each bird sports thousands of feathers, by the way -  and how their feathers are used in the most surprising ways, as the title suggests.

As someone who knows children’s books inside and out, I can say book also offers beautiful illustrations and clever design and text elements.



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Beaks!

By Sneed B. Collard, Robin Brickman

Beaks!

Why this book?

Not only is this book stunning – sculpted paper illustrations that appear 3D – it offers a flock-full of information about birds and the many types of beaks one may find on them. A beak isn’t just a beak, after all. With over 10,000 bird species in the world, it’s not surprising to learn that bird beaks come in many shapes and sizes, each with a specific purpose to a bird’s habitat necessary for survival in this big, wide world. Although geared for young readers, this book will inspire readers of all ages to take notice of bird beaks. Anytime we can encourage young readers to engage with nature and the world around them, that’s a good thing, don’t you think?


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Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard

By Annette LeBlanc Cate

Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard

Why this book?

What can I say? I am an adult who’s an avid birder (I take joy in observing them daily), I work with wild bird rehabilitation (sounds like a sweet job, but it’s actually quite taxing), I photograph birds (I try!), I count the bird species in my backyard (over 100 species and know many of them personally), and I write professionally about birds - - and I learned so much about birds from this clever children’s book!  It’s a must-have for any budding birder and birding family. I love the quirky design (speech bubbles!) -and most importantly, the cleverly presented facts about birding and the bird world. Check it out.



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Counting Birds: The Idea That Helped Save Our Feathered Friends

By Heidi E. Y. Stemple, Clover Robin

Counting Birds: The Idea That Helped Save Our Feathered Friends

Why this book?

Once, each Christmas, there was a contest to see who could shoot and kill the most birds. Cheers to Frank Chapman, an ornithologist, who had the beautiful idea to start a Christmas tradition where a contest could be started, instead, to count birds– and the first, annual Audubon bird count was born. I, myself, love counting birds. Have I mentioned I’ve counted over 100 species in my own backyard? (It’s always fun to document a never-before-seen-species, almost like seeing a unicorn!) I love this book, which introduces readers to the importance of bird counting and offers a glimpse into ecology and history, while inspiring the practice of citizen science.


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An Egg Is Quiet

By Dianna Hutts Aston, Sylvia Long

An Egg Is Quiet

Why this book?

It’s amazing to think about a bird’s egg, so fragile, often defying gravity from great heights in a nest, as the life force necessary for a bird’s survival. Stopping to note the little and magnificent things in the natural world truly inspires a sense of curiosity and wonder, and that is what the picture book, An Egg is Quiet, brings to readers.  There’s no better way to get to know a bird’s egg  - really know the genius of nature – as shared by Dianna Aston’s poetic words and Sylvia Long’s detailed and stunning illustrations.


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