Nature's Book Nook

Many of these books can be found on PrairieCat; many are available for as little as 1 cent or 99 cents from booksellers on Amazon (with $3.99 for postage and handling).

For Kids:

Hatchling:

Birds
by National Geographic Kids

This book introduces the young baby to colors, such as those of the Northern Cardinal, the Indigo Bunting, the Yellow Warbler, the Green Broadbill, and the Rainbow Lorikeet. It also teaches the basics of feathers and feet and bird behaviors like flying, splashing, chirping, singing, hopping, eating, and feeding young baby birds. There are cute, short phrases that your baby will no doubt repeat when they pretend to be a bird.

Fledgling:

Bear Wants More
Karma Wilson

This book is great for its simple rhymes and narrative of a hungry bear after months of hibernation. It also introduces the child to other animal friends, including a mouse, hare, badger, gopher, mole, raven, and wren. It is an enjoyable book for those who are learning to read or simply enjoying the illustrations.

Juvenile:

I Am Jane Goodall
Brad Meltzer

This is a delightful book about Jane Goodall and how her love of nature began at a young age. This book should inspire children and adolescents about following one’s dreams. This book is written like a comic book with adorable illustrations. It provides a strong message about compassion toward all living creatures, the importance of science in our society, and equal opportunity for girls in the science field.

For Adults:

Red-Tails in Love: A Wildlife Drama in Central Park
Marie Winn

This is a true story about a pair of Red-tailed Hawks that found a home in New York’s Central Park. While humans like to consider this a love story, it could easily be about the interpreted love between Pale Male and his mate in this story, or maybe it is a love story between all of the bird watchers who followed the tale (or red-tail) of Pale Male. This is a story about bird watchers as well as birds.

Kids and Families
February/March 2020
Beginning Birder  |  Get Linked In

American Woodcock Watches

Friday, March 13, 7 p.m.
Thursday, March 19, 7 p.m.
Monday, March 30, 7 p.m.

With an adult, visit Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve to watch and listen for American Woodcocks’ performing their amazing courtship display. The “Sky Dance” itself is part ground-strutting and part zig-zagging flight, barely visible in the early evening sky. More fascinating perhaps are the sounds that go with it, the repetitious vocal “peent!” followed by the twittering and chirping sounds made when air rushes through primary flight feathers during the birds’ descent. On a quiet evening, it is pure audio magic. See the calendar page for these dates for contact information about the event.

American Woodcock Watches

Beginning Birder

Purple Finch
Haemorhous purpureus

Purple Finch The landscapes around us are covered in bright sheets of snow. If something disrupts this white canvas, its splash of appearance will stand out. This bird, with its quick burst of color, sticks out above the bare and ever so still trees. This creature that stands out during anyone’s picturesque walks through bright green coniferous forests is the magnificent Purple Finch.

Their color takes a lot of focus to detail. They are similar to the more denominating finch, the House Finch, but with stronger color. While the House Finch is bright cherry red, the Purple Finch looks as if its head is dipped in deep pink – like he stuffed his head into raspberry jam! His color is a symbol of the spring colors promised to arrive with the growing flowers. The female Purple Finches have no red.

In the winter, they can be found in the lower parts of the forests such as foraging in the weedy fields or escaping their comfort from your backyard conifers to eat the black oil sunflower seeds from their visit to your feeders. It is harder to find them in the green and colorful spring days, where they may be perched up high in the tallest parts of these conifer forests.

Fun Facts*

  • They use their large beaks to mainly eat seeds of coniferous trees, but also eat nectar by eating the base of flowers. They eat the fruit and berries of blackberries, honeysuckle, poison ivy, crabapples, cherries, and other fruits, but without spreading their seeds like other fruit-eating birds.
  • They have a very beautiful warbling song.
  • When they hang out at your bird feeder, they will give you plenty of entertainment showing that all of the seed belongs to only the first one there. They become a very “selfish” bird, showing hostile characteristics when new birds arrive.
  • The Purple Finch is one of the two “red’ finches, with the other being the House Finch. The Purple Finch population has declined in the eastern United States because of the introduction of the House Finch to New York City in the 1950s.

* Thanks to allaboutbirds.org and Tails of Birding.

Get Linked In

Children, Nature and You Resources to help you give the children you influence the awe and wonder that only the natural world can inspire

Freeport Park District Information on all the Freeport parks

Freeport Public Library More than books on a shelf...visit the Freeport Public Library

Freeport/Stephenson County Convention and Visitors Bureau Events located in Stephenson County, IL

Getting Kids Involved (The Cornell Lab of Ornithology) Includes bird information, tips, and more for kids and families

The Great Backyard Bird Count for Kids Sponsored by the Audubon Society and other partners

Jane Addams Recreation Trail Ride or Hike the beautiful Jane Addams Trail

Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots A program of the Jane Goodall Institute offering a variety of programs and resources

National Audubon website Use “Get Outside” and “Family Time” prompts

National Wildlife Federation Many family-friendly articles; Ranger Rick family magazine

Paddle the Pecatonica River Water Trail Enjoy Illinois’ “Friendliest Paddle” on the Pecatonica River

Resource Guide Supplement to Last Child in the Woods Designed for parents, teachers, and community leaders to help them encourage children’s enjoyment of the great outdoors.

Severson Dells Nature Center Located near Rockford, IL.

Sierra Club Outdoors The program's goal is to give every child in America an outdoor experience.

Family Activity

Mid-winter Fun

A fun winter activity you can do with your family and friends when there is plenty of soft snow outside is to build a snowman! Gather a carrot, 10 small rocks, and two sticks, and then head outside. Build three big snowballs stacked on top of each other, and use the carrot, rocks, and branches to form his face and arms!

Finally, choose a name for your new snowy friend!

If it is too cold outside, then make your own paper snowflakes! All you need is a piece of paper (maybe leftover scrap paper) and a pair of scissors.

Start by folding the paper in half many times in different directions.

Next, cut small shapes along the edges of your folded paper.

When you open the paper back up, you will be left with a paper snowflake!

Calendar

News
and Events

Check out our full calendar of activities, events, and educational opportunities. You're sure to find something to interest you. Please join us!

Events include:

  • Monthly educational programs and issues discussions
  • Local bird walks
  • Field trips
  • Preserve work days

For more details, see the current newsletter.

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Monday, Jun. 1, 2020, to Tuesday, Jun. 9, 2020
FREE Film Screening of THE STORY OF PLASTIC... >

Tuesday, Jun. 2, 2020
Stewardship: Elkhorn Creek, Corner Planting... >

Thursday, Jun. 4, 2020
Stewardship: Elkhorn Creek, Old Joe Seep... >

Saturday, Jun. 6, 2020
Stewardship: Freeport Prairie... >

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