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 to grade 2:

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves
Julia Rawlinson

When the leaves fall, Fletcher Fox worries about his favorite tree.

Good Night, Owl
Pat Hutchins

For elementary school:

Red-Tailed Hawks
Megan Borget-Spaniol

For four- to eight-year-olds:

Red-Tailed Hawks: Birds of Prey
Melissa Hill

Charlie the Red-Tailed Hawk
at My Window

Vince Scarlata

The author rescues a red-tailed hawk with a broken wing.

Henry the Huge Red-Tailed Hawk
Delight Van Horn

Henry grieves over the destruction of his beloved forest and must learn to survive in a more urban world.

For Adults:

And Kids:

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

Hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking story of Pale Male as he and his mate struggle to raise a family in an unprecedented nest site.

Kids and Families
October/November 2016
Beginning Birder  |  Get Linked In

“Hawks, Owls, and Eagles” of North Central Illinois

7:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 4, 2016

St. John United Church of Christ
1010 Park Blvd., Freeport

Michael Eickman will present a program on hawks, owls, and eagles. Mike has been banding raptors at the Sand Bluff Bird Observatory for over 25 years.


Wildlife Wednesdays, 10:30 — 11:00 a.m. at the Freeport Library

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.

  • October 5: Spiders
  • November 2: Turkeys and Turkey Vultures
Spiders Turkeys and Turkey Vultures

Family Nature Hike

Saturday, Nov. 5, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Oakdale Nature Preserve – Fall Hike

Meet in front of the Mogle Center at Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S. Cranes Grove Road. We will lead a hike around Oakdale and look for birds and other fall creatures before the snow arrives! We will have binoculars for the kids and family members to use and nets/jars to observe any critters we can find.

Participants should dress for the weather with good hiking footwear. Contact leader Juliet D’Souza at 201-233-0946 to register and/or if weather is questionable.

Beginning Birder

Red-tailed Hawk
Buteo jamaicensis

Red-tailed Hawk The Red-tailed Hawk is a medium-sized bird of prey known as a raptor. They are probably the most common hawk in North America. If you go on a long car ride, you might see them soaring above big, open fields, or on top of telephone poles, eyes fixed to the ground looking for a rabbit or other small mammal. If you see one in the air from a distance, you might think you are seeing an eagle (until an actual eagle comes along).

Fun Facts*

  • Most are rich brown above and pale below with a streaked belly. The tail is usually pale below and cinnamon-red above, though in young birds it’s brown and banded.
  • They have broad, rounded wings and short, wide tails, and you often see them soaring without flapping.
  • You probably won’t see this bird in your backyard, but go for a drive and look on the tops of telephone poles and fenceposts.
  • See if you can research some information about a Red-tailed Hawk called Pale Male, a famous resident of New York City.
  • The call of the Red-tailed Hawk is a raspy, scraping, screamed “kree-eee-ar.” The raspy cry of the Red-tailed Hawk is often used in movies to represent an eagle or a hawk anywhere in the world.

* Information taken from Cornell Lab of Ornithology site All About Birds and the Washington NatureMapping Program.

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

Autumn Leaves

Make a Placemat or Bookmark with Colored Leaves

  1. Collect the colored leaves, noting the different shapes and colors.
  2. Talk about the trees from which these leaves fell: have the kids learn to identify two or three trees like maple or oak by their leaves.
  3. Take the leaves inside; have the kids choose the ones they want and arrange them on pieces of poster paper.
  4. Cover with clear Contac.
  5. As you do this, talk about why the leaves change color – an excellent book for this is Why Leaves Change Color by Bette Maestro and Loretta Krupinski; for children 7 and up, another good one is one by the same title by Terri Hicks.

Explore the Trees in Your Yard

  1. Which birds and animals depend on the trees?
  2. How do the birds and other animals use the trees to help them get ready for winter?
  3. Talk about the tree as a habitat or living space.
  4. Compare a tree to your own home or habitat. How are they alike and different?

Be Sure to Jump in a Pile of Leaves!


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.


Saturday, Apr. 17, 2021
Annual Crane Count... >

Thursday, Apr. 22, 2021
Bird Walk: N. Jane Addams Trail and Orangeville Wetlands... >

Wednesday, Apr. 28, 2021
Bird Walk: Newell Tract, Oakdale Nature Preserve... >

Tuesday, May. 4, 2021
Zoom Program: Forest Park Owls: Hiding in Plain Sight... >