If you find you have some extra money in your nature study budget (everyone has one of these, right?), we have some suggestions for you this Spring.
Since we are studying flying creatures in our zoology book this year, we have been having all sorts of bird-fun. I only wish we had this book when Tom was younger because she was a bird freak! I coaxed her into her first writing assignment by having her make a bird poster of all the birds that visited our feeders. The only writing involved (and that was plenty at the time) was writing the name of the bird under each picture that she had copied and colored from our Peterson Field Guide Coloring book. At 15, she is still crazy about birds and plans to finish her high school science credits with a course on bird biology.
The greatest field guide we have for quickly identifiying birds is this one. There are several different but similar species grouped on one page so you can easily find the kind you are looking for. Have you ever tried to distinguish the different kinds of sparrows? It's not easy, let me tell you. But today, we identified the white-throated sparrow using this helpful book. This is the one we pack in the backpack on our birding excursions. It's light and small. You can get it here at amazon.
Here is another one we bought at amazon. This one is the opposite of the one above but just as helpful. This is the hefty volume you want to keep at home and refer to when you want to learn heaps of information about a particular species. Each page is dedicated to one kind of bird. My son went to bed with this book last night! It has information on nesting, flight patterns, songs and other bird behavior. This is the one you grab to add research notes to your nature journals.
A fun "toy" to learn bird songs is this Bird Song Identifier. I bought mine at Nature's Workshop Plus. Pushing the button on the sides plays the song of the bird. It comes with earphones, so the kids can practice without you constantly thinking a bird got loose in the house. Two children can quiz each other by having one play the song and the other try to guess which bird it is. You can buy many different kinds of bird cards to use with this nifty gadget. They even have one for frogs. I like this much better than those tapes or CD's of bird songs because you can see a picture and hear the song at the same time and it's portable.
And another suggestion to add some beauty to those nature notebooks (everyone has one of those too, right?) is this great site that contains lots of bird poems.
Once we get some bird pages finished in our nature notebooks, we'll post pictures here. If anyone else has pictures of your journals on your blog, post a link in our comments section and we'll be sure to visit.