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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Birds, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Flight School – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Flight School By Lita Judge Published by Athenium Books for Young Readers, April 2014 Ages: 3-7 Themes: penguins, flight, courage, dreams Opening Lines: “I was hatched to fly’” said Penguin,                   … Continue reading

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2. Cardinal #4

Today's cardinal is a sketch from life.  Well actually it's not from "life" because the bird was a dead. This is from a trip today to the Harvard Museum of Natural History where I went on a drawing field trip with some awesome kit lit peeps; Samantha Grenier, Eloise Narrigan, Jason Hart and Marcela Staudenmaier. Thanks everyone for a lovely day! 

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3. Cardinal #3

Today's cardinal is taking advantage of his natural Mohawk.  Sorry, I didn't have time to do a video today.

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4. Science Poetry Pairings - Birds

Some of my favorite sights while walking to work are the birds. There are always a large number of geese and ducks, but it's the heron (if I see him) and the cormorants that really capture my attention. Birds have inspired my nature journals, my poems, and reading for many years.

Today's pairing (okay, it's a sextet really) is inspired by our feathered friends.

Poetry Books
Jane Yolen and her son Jason Stemple have collaborated on a number of poetry books with birds as the subject. To get a feel for the depth and vibrancy of the images in these books, be sure to check out some of Jason's bird photos. Here's an overview of these books.
Wild Wings: Poems for Young People - The first collaboration between Jane and her son focused on birds, this collection of 14 poems was inspired by the stunning photos.

Fine Feathered Friends: Poems for Young People - The second book on birds in the Yolen-Stemple collaboration includes even more gorgeous photographs and inspired poems in a variety of forms.

An Egret's Day - This third collection focuses exclusively on the egret. That neck! Those feet! Photos get up close and personal and allow readers to see this magnificent bird from every angle. Poems full of metaphor and keen observation tell us much about these birds. Also included is factual information. 
Bird's of a Feather -  The most recent book in the bird collaboration, contains 14 poems in a variety of forms, each accompanied by a brief bit of informational text.
One of the features I particularly like about BIRDS OF A FEATHER is the Foreword by ornithologist Dr. Donald Kroodsma. It begins this way.
As an ornithologist and obsessed with the details in the daily lives of birds, I know these eagles and chickadees and kingfishers and the other fine birds in this book. But after absorbing the poems and photographs here, I'll never see these birds again in the same way.
. . .
Scientists collect numbers and study the details, but these poems and photographs give us another angle, reminding us that birds are far more than an accumulation of facts.
Here's a poem and the accompanying informational text.

A Solitary Wood Duck

In the green scene,
in the emerald setting,
where pondweed chokes
the green, green waters,
one thing is not green.
A solitary wood duck—
          face glowing,
          flag face showing
          its colors,
          like an admiral's warship—
sails unconcernedly through all that green.
          We surrender,
          we surrender,
          we surrender to your beauty.

The wood duck (Aix sponsa) can be found in wooded swamps and in streams, ponds, and lakes. One of the few North American ducks that nest in tree holes, the wood duck also uses man-made nesting boxes. The day after wood ducklings hatch, they jump to the ground and often waddle many yards away to find a body of water, because they already know how to swim.

Poem and Text ©Jane Yolen. All rights reserved.

Nonfiction Picture Books
Bird Talk: What Birds Are Saying and Why, written and illustrated by Lita Judge, focuses on methods of communication, both verbal and nonverbal, for 28 different birds around the world. Gorgeous watercolor illustrations are carefully placed on the page with text blocks situated in a way that draws attention to both. The text is carefully researched and infinitely readable, presenting surprises and what will surely be new information to readers. Exceptionally well-organized, the communication messages are broken into sections that are carefully sequenced. 

It begins this way. 

Chirp, warble, quack,
coo, rattle, screech!

In backyards, meadows, and forests, the air is filled with bird talk.
But what are they saying?

Answers include "Pick me!," "I'm the strongest," "Greetings," "I'm not here," and more. For each message communicated, Judge then follows each meaning with specific examples from a number of different species. Here's an excerpt.

Come on, fly!
A mother's call encourages her young.

A young Peregrine Falcon is nervous to take his first flight from high on a cliff nest. Mother sits in a nearby tree calling sharply with food. Eventually he flaps toward her. She continues the training until he can grab prey in mid-air.

A Blue Jay listens for the call of his hungry youngster. The fledgling has left the nest, but isn't ready to fly. Her parent answers with tender feeding calls as he brings her next meal.

Kuk, kuk, kuk. A Mother Wood Duck summons her chicks just after they've hatched. They can't fly, but they can swim and find food once they leave their tree nest.

Text ©Lita Judge. All rights reserved.

Back matter includes a listing of the birds in the book (with additional information about the birds, their habitats and range), a glossary, short list of references, web site, and an informative Author’s note on Judge's inspirations for the book.

What Bluebirds Do, written and photographed by Pamela Kirby, is the story of a pair of nesting Bluebirds and their young. In the Author's Note that precedes the text, Kirby describes how the story came to be.
As I sat in the blind that spring and watched those marvelous Bluebirds raise their families, I wanted to share their wonderful story with young readers. The story happened as it is written. The behaviors and events are actual. The Bluebirds lived the story. I took the images and lots of notes.
The book opens with a gorgeous full-page photo of a pair of Bluebirds and the accompanying text on the facing page.
This is a story of a pair of Eastern Bluebirds that built a nest in my backyard.

They laid eggs, hatched the eggs, and raised their chicks.
Text ©Pamela Kirby. All rights reserved.

On the next double-page spread readers are introduced to the male and female birds (mom and dad). Closeup photos of each highlight the physical differences between the two. The following spread provides information about other birds that are blue and explains how the Indigo Bunting and Blue Jay are different from the Bluebird. From this point readers learn about the Bluebirds' courtship, their nest building, egg laying, hatching and growth of the chicks, first flight, and growth of the fledglings into little Bluebirds.

The text is written in simple, yet precise language. There is a glossary to help with difficult and/or unfamiliar terms, such as brood, fledgling, instinct, and roost. The text and photographs work extremely well-together, with photos providing clear, vibrant illustrations of the action. For example, on the page describing what baby Bluebirds ate ("mostly insects, worms, and berries") there is a photo of the female holding several mealworms and a caterpillar in her mouth, preparing to enter then nest.

Following the text is extensive back matter. Two pages are devoted to describing the three species of Bluebirds that live in North America: the Eastern Bluebird (chronicled in the book), the Mountain Bluebird, and the Western Bluebird. Two more pages are devoted to Bluebirds Through the Year, which detail a bit more of Bluebird behavior. Next are two pages devoted to Bringing Back the Bluebirds (did you know they were once in danger of disappearing?) and Bluebirds in Your Yard, which briefly describes where to find information about attracting Bluebirds to your yard. Finally, the author provides of a list of books and web sites where readers can learn more. She also lists some places to order mealworms for Bluebirds.

Kirby has done an outstanding job telling the Bluebirds' story while teaching readers a lot along the way. The final page contains the heading Bluebirds Rock! and a full-page image of a bluebird, up close and personal. Readers young and old alike will close this book echoing the sentiment.

Perfect Together
The poems in Yolen's books are a good starting point for exploring additional factual information about birds. For example, the poem on the wood duck makes reference to nesting in trees, as does the excerpt in Judge's book. Students might use the poems to generate questions they would like to investigate regarding bird behavior. While Judge's book will whet their appetites with additional tidbits of information, Kirby's book will give them specific examples of how a particular species courts and raises a nest of young. I'd use all three together, as the illustrations in Judge's book make a nice counterpoint to the photographs in the other titles.

For additional resources, consider these sites.

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5. On Deck 9 – SkateBurd

Earlier this year I’d gotten the heads up {YAY!} that I’d been given the opportunity to contribute to On Deck 9 an annual art auction by the good people of the Missoula Skatepark Association {MSA} to raise money to upkeep their beloved MOBASH skatepark. I love being able to be part of a community that promotes outdoor activities and I get to paint on a skateboard once again, which is always pretty pluckin’ rad

So just finished this piece and is on its way to Montana to be displayed at the Brink Gallery from April 18th through the month of May.

If your interested in bidding on this piece or ANY of the wonderful work in the gallery the bidding starts on April 18th and ends on May 1st.  For additional info visit our friends at MSA: www.montanaskatepark.org/ondeck .








 Happy Bidding folks!!!


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6. The Sibley Guide to Birds, Second Edition

If, like me, you tuck binoculars under the driver's seat, then you know rock-star naturalist David Allen Sibley. But even if you can't tell a chickadee from a Carolina wren, you should still buy this hefty guide (if only to drool over Sibley's gorgeous illustrations). Books mentioned in this post The Sibley Guide to Birds, [...]

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7. ~HaPpY St. PaTrIcK's DaY~

...or as i like to say "happy leprechauns day!" love me some red-heads! :)

*PRINTS of this piece entitled Thea's Wishing Tree (painted early last year) can be found here~

here's wishing you all the luck of the irish today....even if there's not a lick of irish in you. ;)

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8. Look Up!

cate look up Look Up!Here’s an information book created by an enthusiast rather than an expert. Cate doesn’t claim to know everything about birds, but she does hope that her enthusiasm is catching. In fact, she uses every last bit of space in this book, endpaper to endpaper, to give advice in a lighthearted and nonthreatening way.

What do you make of the multiple ways she delivers information? Is it confusing to have anthropomorphized word balloons along with information about scientific observation? Who is the book for?

I would have to assume that no teacher would make an entire class read this book together. But if (for example) the class was in the habit of checking in on Cornell’s live nest cams every day after lunch, then I hope this book and a few other books about birds would available for anyone who was hooked on birds.

share save 171 16 Look Up!

The post Look Up! appeared first on The Horn Book.

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9. happy PI day!

My daughter has been looking forward to this day for a long time.  Although I do believe it has more to do with  her appreciation of pie than her love for math; her teacher promised to bake a pie for the student who memorizes the highest number of digits in PI. (more than 90 at last count!)
So here is my contribution:
I've been meaning to practice my hand lettering skills...

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10. the wistful ones

my latest painting, entitled "the wistful ones" is now FOR SALE as a REPRODUCTION in my shop.

the second painting in my *new* style. had planned on having this done a couple of weeks ago, in time for valentine's day, but mother nature and some winter storms had other plans (power outages and no heat mean no painting). but, better late than never. 

besides, who could turn down a sweet little baby polar bear with such a "wistful" look of love in his eyes...? ;)

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11. The Christmas Owl Trailer



Well, we’ve attempted our first book trailer for our latest creation, The Christmas Owl.  Click the cover to view our trailer.

This story follows a Barred owl becomes injured and must ask others for help. He promises to give back to those who have a generous heart and he is true to his word.

COMING NOVEMBER 2013 to Amazon. 

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12. Is there Anybody Home?

Polly ‘Possum is desperately searching for a new place to call home before her babies come! As Polly explores different real estate options, author Marianne Berkes and illustrator Rebecca Dickinson creatively sneak in a little lesson on diurnal and nocturnal animals as well as various types of forest-living animal dwellings. Berkes keeps readers continually anxious as Polly repeatedly finds something wrong with each home she comes across. Will she ever find a place in time?

You too can take part in the search with this Anybody Home? inspired scavenger hunt! Simply print out this flyer, grab a pen, and head outside to check off each item on the list. Be ready for some obstacles just like Polly had during her search. Play by yourself or take on the challenge with a group of friends, but don’t wander too far from home! The list includes items such as a bird’s nest, a beaver’s dam and a squirrel. Also, try to think of additional items to find not on the list. Once everything that you found has been accounted for, show off your scavenging skills to your parents and teachers!


To read more about Polly Possum check out the book page here: http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/bookpage.php?id=AnybodyHome

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13. Art After School

Kids Art Center classes are back in session - nice work guys!

owl monoprint

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14. Angry Birds introduces Pink Bird for back to school update

201208161532 Angry Birds introduces Pink Bird for back to school update
At last.

Pink Bird’s power involves exploding into a gust of floating bubbles. As pink things do.

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15. Song for Papa Crow by Marit Menzin (debut)

5 Stars

Song for Papa Crow

Marit Menzin

Schiffer Publishing

No. Pages: 32      Ages: 4 to 8

From  inside jacket:  Little Crow loves to sing, and Papa Crow loves his song. But when Little Crow shares his crow songs with the other birds at the big old tree, they laugh and scatter. Maybe the Amazing Mockingbird can teach him to sing songs with the finches, flycatchers, and cardinals—and help him make some friends. But Little Crow should be careful what he wishes for . . .

Using Mockingbird’s tip, Little Crow becomes the most popular bird on the block. But, in a moment of danger, he learns that singing someone else’s song can have terrible consequences and that his own voice—and his father’s love—is of the greatest value.

Little Crow so desperately wants a friend he will do most anything to get one, even if that means fitting in to the point of losing his own identity. When he begins to sing like the other birds, he is welcomed, becomes part of the group. What Little Crow does not realize is the cost one incurs when making a major change to fit in with the crowd.

For Little Crow, singing the other bird’s songs to fit in and have friends could cost him his life when a hawk appears overhead. Little Crow is in danger and sings out, Papa Crow does not understand it is his son singing out—he no longer recognizes Little Crow’s singing.

Little Crow said, “Per-CHIC-o-ree!”—Heelllllp!

“Poor Finch,” said Papa Crow.

Little Crow sings out, “Fee-beeee!”—Help me!

“Poor Phoebe Flycatcher!” said Papa Crow.

Like Little Crow, kids do not like being different, they want to fit in with the crowd and be accepted. Those that do not dress as the others dress, speak as the others speak, or act as the other act are often shunned and ridiculed by those that do meld into one. But the group looks, speech, and actions often do not have room for individuality, originality, or creativity. That can be hard for a kid to understand when all they want to do is fit in, have friends, and not be teased.

Little Crow had lost his identity.  His Papa no longer connected Little Crow’s singing to Little Crow. In a time of need, Papa Crow could not reach out. As a social worker, I love these types of books. Kids need to know it is okay to be themselves; to act, speak, dress like themselves and not anyone else. Fitting in with the crowd is not always the best idea. I have seen smart kids trade their intelligence to fit in and lose much more than they ever gained. Kids who are different for any reason will lose what may be the best part of themselves simply to fit in.

I like Song for Papa Crow because it can open up a dialogue between parent and kids. The story can help kids understand that fitting in may not always be the best thing to do.

The illustrations, also created by the author, are beautiful collages. There are many birds, depicted in their wonderfully layered shades of color, on every page. On Papa Crow’s head, the feathers are short and look soft. The feathers making up his tail are long and smooth. You can see the strength in the hawk and the sudden fear in Little Crow.

In addition to a good story about preserving one’s identity, there is a short primer on North American birds. I really like this book.  Song for Papa Crow is a beautiful book, with thick pages for the younger kids, interesting bird facts, and a good story that can teach kids to stay true to themselves.

Teachers, school social workers, and others who regularly work with kids will find this book immensely helpful. Parents can use the story to open a dialogue about fitting in and being true to one’s self. Kids will like the illustrations of the birds and can use the book as a guide to the birds in their neighborhood.

Song for Papa Crow is a good story for any time or reason. For collectors, the illustrations are beautiful and this is the first complete book by now author and illustrator Marit Menzin.

Song for Papa Crow

Author/Illustrator: Marit Menzin    website   
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing    website
Release Date: July 28, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7643-4131-1
Number of Pages: 32
Ages: 4 to 8
Grades: Pre-K to 2

Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books Tagged: being yourswelf, birds, child psychology, children's books, cliques, crows, danger, hawks, identitiy, in-crowd, little crow, North American birds, papa crow, relationships, school, singing

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16. the park is open to the public...and FOR SALE!

i'm happy to announce that my favorite painting i've done all year is FOR SALE! :) click on the link below to read where my inspiration for this fantastical winter wonderland came from....


Happy Holidays to all and i hope you enjoy your visit to Peppermint Bark Park, truly the tastiest park around....:)

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17. a little luck of the irish....

in january...;)

i have been working on this illo/painting for the past few days. it was inspired by a dear friend of mine's daughter, born on st. patty's day. the ironic thing...she's about 110% POLISH! go figure...;)

i just thought a little irish whimsy would be fun. for the sake of the illo, i decided to make her hair a strawberry blonde color...kinda like macaroni and cheese (and how could THAT be bad....)!

i'm just about done and will be listing it FOR SALE as a PRINT sometime in early february.

hey, who says leprechauns are always boys...?!;)

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18. Hooray For Clichés!

Not too long ago I was sitting in the audience listening to a distinguished writer talk about her craft when she segued into “What Not to Do!”  Then I saw her pick up one of my books.

My mind filled with a numbing buzz like anesthesia for surgery where your soul will be yanked out through your left eyeball. I can’t remember what don’t’s she referred to, but all the while she held my book. Then she opened it and said, “Unless you do it this way.” Ah, a reprieve. Or a backhanded compliment?  I still couldn’t focus. The horror of being so close to the Don’t list left my brain limp.

You have to know the rules, before you can break them. That’s what writers say. And maybe I fall into that category, or at least cling to the outside rim, because I’ve noticed that I’ve done it again.  Another common piece of advice is to avoid clichés.  And yet, one of the literary devices that I employed in For the Birds: the life of Roger Tory Peterson, included several clichés –
            He had eagle eyes.
            Like an owl he worked at night …
           He rose with the Robins
           It was time to make a nest of his own
           Determined as a woodpecker after a bug

I did add a few of my own:  
           He looked as thin and gawky as a fledgling egret
           As focused as a heron after a fish, he perched on the edge of his seat.

But I had a reason. I wanted to create the image of Roger as a Bird, so the reader understood how strongly Roger loved and responded to them. Using phrases like, “he roosted with …” and  “he migrated…” helped to reinforce this.

The use of common phrases and images can serve a purpose if you use them consciously and don’t overdo it.  Seven comparisons sprinkled throughout a 48 page book with 3,000 words seemed to do the trick. 

Will I break more rules in the future?  I’m sure someone will point it out to me.

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19. Desperately Seeking Spring


Every day I go out my back door, down the walkway to my studio.

It is still winter around these parts, even though severe cold appears to be behind us.  In Colorado we KNOW that we could still get 3 feet of snow! .. all the way into April.

Still, in my mind I have been planting flowers now. This flower bed that looks so bare, will be full of plants in around 12 weeks!  The grass will be green even before that!  I am so excited!  I love Spring!  I love when the birds get back from their vacation down south!  The woodpecker is already pounding on our chimney and I just smile!  Its all signs of Spring!   Soon I will be working in my studio with my door and windows open.  I am READY!!!

Filed under: The Great Outdoors!

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20. witt woo

We are coming soon. We really are.  We were supposed to be here for Valentines Day but that would have been a bit obvious, a bit predictable, you know, with us being lovebirds and all. AJ is just doing a little more tweaking and then we'll be ready to be introduced to you - properly. Catch you later.

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21. thea and her wishing tree

i have had this painting done for about a month now, but i wanted to wait until closer to march and st. paddy's day to list it FOR SALE AS A PRINT HERE:

it was inspired by a friend of mine's little girl (named thea) who was born on st. paddy's day. is she irish? heck NO! 110% polish as a matter of fact;) and she is actually blonde, but i wanted to paint a cute little red head, so.....
besides, who says leprechauns always have to be boys ;)

speaking of "red heads", i'm working on November's mermaid this week, little Citrine. not exactly a red head, but close enough.

check back for pics.....

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22. Bird

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23. Spring!

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24. Sketchbook doodle

Found another doodle from an evening at WOMAD. I think they are howling along to something or other.

I'm working on my novel, fixing up bad sentences, knitting some bits of psychology into early scenes that should help with later ones. Clearing up character motivations, checking reasons and reactions, tidying up weird metaphors. It's slow but satisfying work.

We went to ALDI today, a small island of familiarity on this side of the world, and bought things to cook. It's expensive to eat out here, but I am really enjoying our evening outings after the sun has gone down. There is live music and loads of great places to sit and eat and drink and plan and talk.

I keep thinking of things I want to do when I get back to London - sit in the British Library and write, buy some treats from Borough Market, make a big salad in my own kitchen. Then again I feel like I don't want to go back, but move somewhere more pleasant. Somewhere the houses aren't surprised when it gets cold every winter. Somewhere with more space to go around... pretty much every time I travel to a different city the higher ceilings give me slight vertigo, and I start to calculate how many bedsits each house could be broken up into, and who could afford to live there.

But London is where I live. I'll travel back to London in a few days, and see my friends, make some books, eat some salad, complain about the rent and the weather and public transport, and it will be good to be home.

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25. Spring Fox Print Pencils

Another peek at my new print, coming soonish! It's all done, inked, coloured etc. and ready to print. 

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