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:

For preschool-grade 3 :

The Far-Flung Adventures of Homer the Hummer
Cynthia Furlong Reynolds

Follows Homer's adventures in migration, which include being locked in a box car. But Homer prevails and finds his mate Ruby.

A Hummingbird in My House: The Story of Squeak
Arnette Heidcamp

The author rescues Squeak from a killer frost; Squeak lives in the sunroom until spring, a “bright jewel among the flowers.”

For ages 5-10:

A Nest Is Noisy and
A Butterfly Is Patient
Dianna Hutts Aston

Poetic in voice, beautifully designed, an interweaving of science and wonder.

The Secret Life of Hummingbirds
David Wentworth Lazaroff from the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum

Explores the mystery of hummingbirds: why are they so small? How can they hover? Why so colorful? Do they ever rest?

For ages 6-10:

Seymour Simon

Seymour Simon has been called “the dean of the children's science book field.” Butterflies, he reveals, can taste with their feet and have eyes that can look in all directions.

For all ages:

Favorite Wildflowers
Dover Nature Coloring Book

Kids and Families
June/July 2016
Beginning Birder  |  Get Linked In

It’s BACK! The Elkhorn Creek Butterfly Festival!

Saturday, July 30th, 1-5:00 p.m.

Join us for a fun, informative, family-friendly afternoon as we explore the Elkhorn Creek Biodiversity Preserve for the many butterflies that are found there. From 1-5 p.m., participants may join guided butterfly tours or look on their own for those winged beauties. Tours will begin at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. “Illinois Butterflies and Moths” pocket guides will be given out at no charge while supplies last.

We’ll have a shady rest area with chairs, as well as a restroom, cold beverages and snacks. If it looks like rain, call Mary Blackmore at 815-938-3204 before 10 a.m. on July 30th.

Explorers at previous Butterfly Festivals have found 29 species of butterflies and skippers, among them Tiger Swallowtail, Meadow Fritillary, Buckeye, Comma, Peck’s Skipper, Silver Spotted Skipper and Milbert’s Tortoiseshell.

The preserve is located about 3 miles southwest of Forreston in the southeast corner of West Grove and Freeport Roads. The parking lot is off of West Grove Rd. We hope to see you there!


Wildlife Wednesdays, 10:30—11:00 a.m.

Appropriate audience is two– to seven-year olds

An Audubon member hosts a monthly series called Wildlife Wednesdays at the Freeport Public Library. During the program, there is a special story time followed by an activity related to the theme.

Most Extreme Animals The 'Hottest' Animals Nature’s Slowpokes

Audubon Thursday

Appropriate audience is six– to 12-year olds

1:00—2:00 p.m.

This is a special addition to the regular “Wildlife Wednesday” program, but for older kids. The summer library theme is “Read for the Win,” so an Audubon member will have a special program about winning and successful animal adaptations.

  • June 30: “Best of the Beasts” (about most extreme animals)
  • July 21: “Beat the Heat” (about heat adaptations)
Beginning Birder

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Archilochus colubris

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Look for a flash of green and might be the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, eastern North America’s only breeding hummingbird! If you have feeders and flower gardens, you will most likely attract these jeweled wonders. They leave our area early in the fall when they head for Central America.

Cool Facts*

  • The Ruby-throated Hummingbird beats its wings about 53 times a second.
  • The legs are so short on this bird that they prevent it from walking or hopping.
  • They prefer to feed on red and orange you have any of those in your yard?
  • Hummingbirds also catch insects in midair or pull them out of spider webs.
  • The nest is the size of a large thimble, built directly on top of a branch instead of in a fork.
  • The nest is made of thistle or dandelion down held together with strands of spider silk and sometimes pine resin.
  • The nest measures about 2 inches across and 1 inch deep.
  • You can attract a hummingbird by putting up a hummingbird feeder in your yard. Make sugar water mixtures with about one-quarter cup of sugar per cup of water. Food coloring is not necessary. Change the water before it grows cloudy.

* Information taken from Cornell Lab of Ornithology site All About Birds.

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 Outdoor Experience Events located in Freeport and Stephenson County

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

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

NASA Climate Kids to tell the story of our changing planet through the eyes of NASA missions studying Earth and provides games, activities, and articles that make climate science accessible and engaging for children

National Audubon for Kids provides resources for classroom curriculum, DIY activities, and bird activities for children at home

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

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.

World Migratory Bird Day Learn about the importance of migratory birds and how to celebrate birds any day of the year!

Family Activity

Attract Hummingbirds

Hang a hummingbird feeder in a spot where you can easily see it. Since hummingbirds are territorial, you might want to hang two, one in front and one in back.

Food: 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Boil the water to kill bacteria or mold. Add the ¼ cup sugar to 1 cup water. Cool. Excess mixture can be saved for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Do not add food coloring, honey (it ferments), or sweetener.

Clean at least once a week, more often if water gets cloudy. To clean, use 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts water: rinse 3 times to make sure all vinegar is gone. If mold develops, clean with a 10% bleach solution and rinse several times.

Water will keep out ants; many feeders have water containers on top.

Flowers with bright, rich colors are most likely to attract hummingbirds; long or tapered shapes help to accommodate the long bills. Native species are preferred. Some flowers that are likely to attract hummingbirds are bee balm, cardinal flower, zinnia, salvia, bleeding heart, lupine, columbine.

You can make your own feeders with tall, narrow bottles and feeding tubes, which come 12 to a pack.


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.


Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023
Program: Hidden Prairie: Photographing Life in One Square Meter... >

Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023
Christmas Bird Count... >

Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023
Beginning Birder Club- Bird Movement - REGISTRATION CLOSED - Contact for waitlist... >

Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024
Program: Birds and Beauty in Arizona... >