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 ages 3-7:

Spit and Sticks: A Chimney Full of Swifts
Marilyn Grohoske Evans
and Nicold Bseil

Follow chimney swifts as they arrive on a Texas farm, lay eggs, raise the babies and, when they fledge, take flight to South America. With it, in pictures only, is the little girl and her parents on the farm, watching the swifts, making a crib for their expected baby and enjoying the baby's first months and celebrating the fledglings' first flight.

National Geographic Kids' Bird Guide of North America
Jonathan Alderfer
and Paul Hess

Chimney Swifts: America's Mysterious Birds Above the Fireplace
Louise Merick Natural Environment Series
Paul and Georgean Kyle

Definitive volume on the species with close-up photographs and excellent drawings.

Kids and Families
August/September 2016
Beginning Birder  |  Get Linked In


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. The program begins with a special story time followed by an activity related to the theme.

Nature’s Slowpokes Butterflies and Moths

Kids Nature Hike at Oakdale Nature Preserve — Aquatic Creatures

Saturday, September 17, 10 a.m. to approx. noon

Meet at the Mogle Center at Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S. Cranes Grove Road.

We will take a short walk to collect aquatic organisms and bring them back to the Mogle Center to look at them with microscopes and magnifying glasses. Along the way, we will try to catch flying insects to observe as well.

Open to kids of all ages. Parents must be present with the children during the event. Kids should dress appropriately for the weather and should wear shoes or boots that can get wet. Sign-ups are required. Contact leader Juliet D’Souza at 201-233-0946 to register and/or if weather is questionable.

Beginning Birder

Chimney Swift
Chaetura pelagica

Chimney Swift The smudge-gray Chimney Swift nimbly flies over rooftops, fields, and rivers to catch insects. This little bird spends almost its entire life in the air. When it lands, it cannot perch like most other birds so it clings to vertical walls inside chimneys or in hollow trees or caves. We don’t have a lot of chimneys in use any more so this little bird is not as common as it used to be in the United States.

Fun Facts*

  • Chimney Swifts fly through the air almost constantly except when they roost overnight or nest. When they do rest, they never sit on perches like most birds. They have long claws that help them cling to walls of chimneys and other vertical surfaces.
  • Swifts even bathe in flight; they glide down to water and smack the surface with their bodies, and then bounce up and shake the water from their feathers as they fly away.
  • They often roost together in a single chimney during the nonbreeding season and it helps to keep them warm during cold nights.
  • The Chimney Swift has a gland under its tongue that has glue-like saliva to help it cement its nest to a wall or rock face.
  • In rural areas around farms, they might nest in trees or caves.
  • They feed while flying and capture flies, bugs, bees, wasps, ants, mayflies, beetles, fleas, and other insects. Some people have seen them taking berries from elderberry bushes.
  • Chimney Swifts migrate to South America each winter flying across the Gulf of Mexico or along the coast of Texas.
  • Because of its shape, the Chimney Swift is often called a ‘flying cigar!’

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

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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

Birding Downtown

Go on a family outing to Union Dairy at dusk – what could be more pleasant? – and with ice cream in hand go around to the back to watch the chimney swifts gather and circle, then swoop down into the chimney. If you are early risers, you can go back at dawn to see them emerge for a new day.

Fall Scavenger Hunt

You can have kids check the items off on a list or just put them in a bag – except in the case of something alive.

  • a leaf with jagged edges
  • a leaf with smooth edges
  • 3 acorns
  • a twig
  • a red leaf
  • a yellow or orange leaf
  • a green leaf
  • a dry brown leaf
  • wild berries (with warnings not to eat!)
  • a piece of bark
  • a piece of moss

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... >