Bird-watching is a favorite activity at our home. In the late afternoon hours when boredom sometimes sets in, it’s always a welcome relief to visit our side window and take a peek at our backyard birds, squirrels, and rabbits. Lilly, age 2, is now beginning to identify bird species. She’s infatuated with the Cardinal and will run excitedly through the house, “Mama, hurry, tardinal (sic)! Walk!” as she urges me to come see. She loves to count the birds and discuss what they are doing – Are they eating? Are they in the tree? Are they walking on the ground? Are they near the squirrel? Did they find the apple chunks she threw out the window earlier in the day for them? 😉
When we are outside, she will often plead with the American Robins to come sit by her and when that request is unmet, she will gleefully chase after them until they take flight into the air. She will then come back toward me, red-faced and laughing, joyous about her “close encounter” with one of our backyard birds. So it’s no surprise bird books are pretty popular in our house.
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Here are some of our daughter’s favorite books to read about birds:
- Nest: A simple, yet beautiful picture book detailing a year in the life of an American Robin family. The text is minimal, so I will ask questions about each page spread to prompt Lilly to tell the story to me. She loves the arrival of the baby bird and how the family went from 2 to 3. Each time, she counts each bird and excitedly shouts, “Three! Three birds! Baby!” while pointing to make sure I have not missed the exciting addition to the family. A board book version is available that would be ideal for children 0-2 years of age. If you enjoy the style of this book, be sure to check out the author’s related texts, Hop and Fetch.
- You Nest Here With Me: A charming bedtime story that matches a rhyming verse to colorful illustrations of different nests and habitats of 14 different types of birds. The back provides additional information on each of the featured bird species. The closing line, “So till you’re big as big can be…You’ll nest right here in our house with me,” reinforces the sweet, simple message that a child’s home is their nest, a place of safety, warmth, and comfort.
- Birds of a Feather: If you are looking to buy just one book that provides hours of entertainment for your little budding ornithologist, look no further. Birds of a Feather is an oversized lift-the-flap book featuring stunning illustrations of various bird species – both common and exotic – as well as interesting facts about them. For younger children, this book will require parental supervision due to the intricacy of some of the pop-up features.
- Sweep Up the Sun: This book features an inspirational poem alongside absolutely gorgeous photographs of birds in flight. The back of the book features a brief description of each of the 11 featured birds in case you or your little one inquires to know more about a certain species. If your little one is also interested in bugs, be sure to read the author’s other book Step Gently Out for a close-up look at the world of insects.
- Beautiful Birds: For Montessori families avoiding the traditional alphabet books, you may want to skip this one. However, for our family this book is simply too beautiful to overlook, and I don’t think in the long run it will matter much. You could always choose to substitute letter sounds rather than saying the letter name if that makes you feel more comfortable for younger children. The bright graphic illustrations paired with neon highlights are captivating to see, and the rhyming text provides great information as well.
- Mama Built a Little Nest: A creative book that delves into bird habitats and how various nests are created. It’s a poetic text that expertly weaves in factual information and excellent illustrations.
- About Birds: A Guide for Children: A great introductory book for a young toddler showing an interest in birds. It’s a simple text accompanied by beautiful artwork. More in-depth information about the birds is provided in the back of the book for any kids clamoring to know more.
- On the Wing: A book of poetry about birds. Toddlers should enjoy the gorgeous artwork, while older kids may find some of the poems a bit silly.
- Crinkleroot’s 25 Birds Every Child Should Know: Features beautiful watercolor illustrations of 25 birds which are clearly labeled. Unfortunately, there is no accompanying text but my daughter is more than content to flip through the pages and look at the pictures on her own.
- Have You Heard the Nesting Bird?: The illustrations are charming, characterized with simple, muted earth-tone colors, as they depict a pair of siblings who are observing birds in their backyard, taking special note of the robin who never leaves her nest or sings like the rest of the birds. Each type of bird is given its own page and the text includes onomatopoeia birdsong as well — a definite favorite of my daughter’s since she loves to “sing” along (or tap along in the case of the woodpecker). It’s a fun book to read together.
- Woodpecker Wham!: We have a few woodpeckers who visit our yard on a regular basis, and Lilly loves to “tap-tap-tap” when she sees them so we checked this book out on a whim. It’s a good choice for any young kids who like sound effects because you’ll be doing a lot of them! The illustrations are loud and vibrant, and the back of the book provides more information about each of the featured woodpeckers. We sometimes read this book and use her drum to add in cacophonous sound effects. It’s definitely not a book to read before naptime or bedtime. 😉
- Birds: The bold and colorful illustrations in this book captivate my daughter. She requests it to be read several times a day when it’s on her shelf. It’s a simple and imaginative story and would make a great introductory bird book for young toddlers.