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:


Hooray for Birds
by Lucy Cousins

This book contains oodles of colorful pictures of the amazing array of birds on this planet. Young children will enjoy looking at the vivid illustrations while reading the interactive rhymes. They can sound like a rooster to start their day, flap their wings to fly in the sky, catch a fly with their beak, stand on one leg like a flamingo, and say good night like an owl. It’s a fun book for all who read it!


Bird Watch
by Christie Matheson

This book is beautifully illustrated with accurate drawings of birds hidden in their habitats. The child can seek and find the birds, as well as practice counting, as they read along with the interactive narration. This book can introduce the child to new birds and start them on their curiosity and joys of bird watching in nature!


Lucy’s Life List, A Tale for Young Birders of All Ages
by Sally Deems-Mogyordy

This book follows a young birder name Lucy who develops an interest in birding with the help of a friend Nate. Lucy wanted to spend time away from her electronics and “unplug,” which is often a challenge for young adults. Another challenge with teens is pursuing interests despite others finding it “uncool,” yet Nate, Lucy, and her brother Jack develop the confidence to find enjoyment and excitement in birdwatching. The book contains a lot of educational information of numerous bird species with accurate details and illustrations. The book also provides a link to a free downloadable nine-page field guide that is perfect for any new birder.

For Adults:

Bird Brother: A Falconer's Journey and the Healing Power of Wildlife
by Rodney Stotts & Kate Pipkin

This autobiography/biography shares the moving and remarkable journey of Master Falconer Rodney Stotts. Rodney grew up in Southeast Washington, D.C. in the late 1980s with a life revolving around racism, drugs, guns, incarceration, and death around him constantly. On a whim, he found a job a nonprofit organization, the Earth Conservation Corps. (ECC), which motivated him to follow a path in restoration and conservation of habitat. He had always had a love of birds but his experience with ECC allowed him to befriend many birds along the way, finally pursuing his dreams to become a falconer. Rodney continues to share his passion with youth who may have had similar lives as he did and hopes he can change their lives as well.

Kids and Families
April/May 2022
Beginning Birder  |  Get Linked In

April and May events throughout Freeport!

Knotted Up!
Saturday, April 23, 2022
10:00 am – 11:00 am
Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S. Cranes Grove Rd., Freeport, IL
Coordinator: Adam Moderow, contact

In this event, you will learn how to make basic knots and how they can be used for projects while out in nature. You will also learn how to build simple structures with twigs and knots! Meet at the parking lot by the Mogle Center.

To register, contact Adam at 815-541-5842 or by email at

World Migratory Bird Day Event
Saturday, May 14, 2022
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Freeport Art Plaza: 11-15 E. Douglas Street, Freeport, IL (between the blocks of N. Chicago and N. State, across street from Freeport Public Library)

Our second annual WMBD event will have the theme “Dim the Lights for Birds at Night” to focus on the impacts of light pollution on migratory birds. The University of Illinois Extension and the Freeport Public Library will also be part of this event! We will have games, educational programs about birds, a chance to make decals for windows to protect birds, and free cookies while supplies last! The event will be outside and as well as in the Freeport Public Library, conference Room A and B (or entirely inside in case of inclement weather).

For up-to-date information, please follow our calendar closer to the event date..

Silver Creek Bird Festival
Saturday, May 21, 2022
8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Silver Creek Biodiversity Preserve, 5380 N Leaf River Rd, Mt Morris, IL

Join us for an informative, fun, family-friendly morning as we explore the Silver Creek Biodiversity preserve for the many migrating and resident birds found there. Tours will begin at 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. The 10:00 tour will be specifically oriented to kids and families, including information on how to use binoculars.

For up-to-date information, please follow our calendar closer to the event date.. If weather is questionable, call Mary at 815-938-3204.

Saturday, May 28, 2022
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Oakdale Nature Preserve, 4433 S. Cranes Grove Rd., Freeport, IL
Coordinator: Adam Moderow, contact

In this event, we will discuss how to construct simple shelter in the spring and actually build one! Meet at the parking lot by the Mogle Center.

To register, contact Adam at 815-541-5842 or by email at

Beginning Birder

Scarlet Tanager
(Piranga olivacea)

Scarlet Tanager The Scarlet Tanager is one of our favorite migrating birds in Illinois. They are a long-distance migrant, flying twice year across the Gulf of Mexico between North America and South America.

During the breeding season of our spring and summer, the male bird is almost entirely bright red with black wings, but in the fall, when it travels to South America, it is yellowish-green. The female bird is typically yellowish-green with dark wings throughout the year. The males produce a song similar to an American Robin and is often described like a robin singing with a sore throat.

Scarlet Tanagers are primarily insect-eaters, which is why they must migrate south to find food during our winters. They can often be found in deciduous forests, gleaning insects off of tree branches. They may also eat fruit and tree buds.

Fun Fact*

To help the population of Scarlet Tanagers, especially during migration time, make sure you turn off lights at night, provide fresh water, and encourage others to keep forests intact and avoid pesticide use (so there are plenty of insects to feed the birds!).

* Thanks to

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


Family Activity

Make your own window decals or “clings” to help protect your feathered friends during migration time. During migration, birds encounter numerous threats, including strikes with buildings and windows. Birds have difficulty knowing that a window is approaching when the reflection shows the sky behind them. If you break up the reflection in the window by turning off lights or putting decals in the windows, this can reduce window collisions and help the birds finish their journey.

This activity was created by New York Audubon and only requires a few items you likely already have at home. You’ll need some glue, dish soap, a plastic surface, a paintbrush, bird stencils or bird photographs to help you create fun shapes, and markers for decorating once dry.

Follow the instructions provided in the link above and create some clings to stick to your windows during peak migration of spring and fall! Make sure you create quite a few decals for large windows and place them no more than 2-4 inches apart on the window.


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... >

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