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:


The Early Bird
Toni Yuly

This adorable board book follows the day of an early bird, teaching the young toddler about simple directional terms and items found in nature, until the bird meets an early worm at the end. What will the hungry bird do with the worm? Share a breakfast with it, of course!


Wolf Birds
Willow Dawson

This beautifully illustrated book describes the relationship between wolves and ravens. Wolves have learned to follow the sounds of hungry ravens following a potential wolf prey, thus enabling the wolves to take down the prey so both sets of predators can have a meal. Although sensitive to some, it is an authentic portrayal of predators and prey and shows this unique mutualistic relation between two unexpected groups of animals. The book is ends with an author’s note about how the name wolf-birds came about related to scientific and anecdotal Aboriginal evidence as well as a list of sources.


We All Are One (The Nature Club Book 5)
Rachel Mazur

This is the fifth book of the Nature Club series and focuses on the relationship between humans and wildlife. The story unravels when one of the nature club members observes a sick bobcat in the area. The group determines that the bobcat has been exposed to poisons used by humans to kill rodents in the area. This book teaches the reader lessons about the food web and wildlife, as well as the wildlife management officials who work to help them. The reader also learns how humans are interconnected with other species on the planet and how to share knowledge to others about how to live among wildlife without causing harm.

For Adults:

The Wind Masters: The Lives of North American Birds of Prey
Pete Dunne

This book is for people who love storytelling and birds. Dunne discusses 34 species of diurnal raptors and vultures, which are not birds of prey, but are often taught alongside this group. He presents the raptor anthropomorphically by sharing a short story of its life history from the bird’s point of view. Each bird is presented accurately, but in a narrative way, and includes beautiful illustrations by the well-known David Sibley to complete each section.

Kids and Families
February - March 2021
Beginning Birder  |  Get Linked In

Audubon Kids and Families Event: Spring Awakening Scavenger Hunt at Oakdale Nature Preserve

Saturday, March 13 at 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Contact Richard Benning at 815-865-5279 to register.

Explore Oakdale Nature Preserve with your family units searching for items in nature as winter ends and spring nears. Meet at the parking lot near the Mogle Center within the scheduled time to receive your scavenger hunt list. Masks and social distancing will be requested when receiving your list from the leader and if near other family groups. For more information, see our calendar.

Family nature scavenger hunt

Beginning Birder

Loggerhead Shrike
(Lanius ludovicianus)

Loggerhead ShrikeThe Loggerhead Shrike is an interesting bird — it belongs to the songbird family, but it behaves like a raptor (such as hawks, falcons, and eagles). This means that they are a carnivore, eating other animals such as insects, amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals. They might also eat small birds. We feel this is a good opportunity to share the importance of carnivores in the food web, no matter how difficult or sad it might be to see the prey animals.

The Loggerhead Shrike is primarily gray, with a black mask on its large, blocky head, bill. They have a thick black bill with sharp hook at the end. Shrikes do not have the talons that raptors have, but they use sharp objects in their habitat to help handle the prey, such as thorns or barbed wire. They also use these items to store their food for later. They are surprisingly strong as they can carry prey as big as itself.

Loggerhead Shrikes are often found in open country habitat with short vegetation and few trees. If you wanted to find one, you might be able to spot one in cemeteries, golf courses, or along mowed roadsides, especially where there are fences with barbed wire.

Unfortunately, pesticide use has caused their populations to decline, as the pesticides kill their prey animals of rodents and insects. However, if you want to help these birds, help conserve their habitat and encourage the use of less pesticides.

* Thanks to

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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/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


Go Bald Eagle Watching!

Although Bald Eagles are around all year long, you are more likely to find them in large numbers together during the wintertime for an amazing experience. When temperatures are below freezing, water is frozen, so Bald Eagles tend to congregate near open water. The diet of a Bald Eagle is primarily fish, so they rely on this open water to allow access to hunt for them. A very good place to see Bald Eagles is along the Mississippi River near a Lock and Dam, such as in Thomson, Illinois. When you watch the Bald Eagles, observe how the birds swoop into the water feet first, grab the fish with their talons, and fly away with the fish. Then keep an eye out for other eagles trying to take that fish away! They often fight for freshly caught fish.

Be sure to bundle up well – while the cold weather does not seem to affect the birds, it is very cold for you!

Bald Eagle


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... >

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