Birds are fascinating creatures. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some fly and some don't. They have different calls for different reasons. Birds are all around us and these nonfiction titles below are a great start for young readers who would like to learn more about them.
An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long
Award-winning artist Sylvia Long has teamed with up-and-coming author Dianna Aston to create this gorgeous and informative introduction to eggs. From tiny hummingbird eggs to giant ostrich eggs, oval ladybug eggs to tubular dogfish eggs, gooey frog eggs to fossilized dinosaur eggs, it magnificently captures the incredible variety of eggs and celebrates their beauty and wonder.
Mama Built a Nest by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Illustrations and simple, rhyming text introduce different kinds of birds' nests, from the scrapes falcons build on high, craggy ledges to the underground nests burrowing owls dig. Includes brief facts about each kind of bird.
The Tragic Tale of The Great Auk by Jan Thornhill
For hundreds of years Great Auks thrived in the icy seas of the North Atlantic, bobbing on the waves, diving for fish and struggling up onto rocky shores to mate and hatch their fluffy chicks. But by 1844, not a single one of these magnificent birds was alive. In this stunningly illustrated non-fiction picture book, award-winning author and illustrator Jan Thornhill tells the tragic story of these birds that "weighed as much as a sack of potatoes and stood as tall as a preteen's waist."
Crows: Genius Birds by Kyla Vanderklugt
That's something to crow about! Learn all about these genius birds in Kyla Vanderklugt's Science Comics: Crows, the latest volume in First Second's action-packed nonfiction graphic novel series for middle-grade readers! Did you know that crows make their own tools, lead complex social lives, and never forget a human face? Scientists are just beginning to unlock the secrets of the crow's brain to discover how these avian Einsteins can be as smart as some primates, and even perform some of the same cognitive feats as human children! Crows have problem-solving skills that will make you you rethink what it means to be a bird brain!
Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? by Rita Gray, illustrated by Kenard Pak
In this nonfiction picture book for young readers, we learn just why the mother nesting bird stays quiet and still while sitting on her eggs.
Magnificent Birds by Narisa Togo
From the bird of paradise that performs an extravagant courtship dance in the rain forest to the bar-tailed godwit that flies thousands of miles across the ocean without stopping, readers can learn about incredible birds from all over the world with this strikingly illustrated gift book. In stylish linocut prints, Narisa Togo captures the beauty of both rare and familiar winged creatures from every part of the globe, presenting Japanese cranes, kakapos from New Zealand, and Andean flamingos, among the fourteen graceful birds on display. Attractive and informative, this celebration of magnificent birds around the world will set hearts soaring—a perfect book for avid bird-watchers and art lovers alike.
Tiny Bird: A Hummingbird's Amazing Journey by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Wendell Minor
As autumn nears, flowers fade and insects become quiet, and Tiny Bird leaves his northern home for the long and perilous journey to lush southern forests. Includes facts about hummingbirds.
Hawks Kettle, Puffins Wheel: And Other Poems of Birds in Flight by Susan Vande Griek, illustrated by Mark Hoffmann
In captivating, lyrical verse, award-winning children's author Susan Vande Griek explores the fascinating movements of twelve birds. Hawks kettle, riding warm air currents like bubbles rising in a pot of boiling water. Puffins wheel, circling over the sea and island colonies. And eagles cartwheel, locking talons high in the air and then tumbling toward earth. Alongside each poem is an informational sidebar explaining why the bird moves in its own special way. Artwork by Mark Hoffmann captures the birds' lively movements. The result is a delightful celebration of these magnificent creatures.
Counting Birds: The Idea That Helped Save Our Feathered Friends by Heidi Stemple, illustrated by Clover Robin
Everyday kids learn how they can help protect bird species, near and far, with Counting Birds—the real-life story of bird counting and watching. What can you do to help endangered animals and make a positive change in our environment? Get counting! Counting Birds is a beautifully illustrated book that introduces kids to the idea of bird counts and bird watches. Along the way, they will learn about Frank Chapman, who used his bird knowledge and magazine Bird-Lore to found the first annual bird count. Bird counting helps professional researchers collect data, share expertise, and spread valuable information to help all kinds of birds around the world, from condors to hawks to kestrels and more.
Condor Comeback by Sy Montgomery, photographs by Tianne Strombeck
In April of 1987 the last wild California condor was captured and taken to live in captivity like the other twenty-six remaining birds of its kind. Many thought that the days were over of this remarkable, distinguished bird that had roamed the skies of North and Central American for thousands of years. Sy Montgomery employs her skill for on-the-ground reporting, shrewd observation, and stunning narrative prose to detail the efforts of scientists, volunteers, and everyday citizens to get California condors back in the wild.
Bird Builds A Nest by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Richard Jones
It's time for Bird to build her nest! Follow her as she pulls a worm out of the ground, lifts some twigs that are just the right size, and pushes the twigs into place. Uh-oh! One of the twigs falls to the ground! But after a day of hard work, Bird's nest is ready and waiting.
Woodpecker Wham! by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Enter woodpecker's world and get a bird's eye view of everyday life: hiding from hawks, feeding hungry chicks, and drilling holes to build homes. Woodpeckers are nature's home builders, creating holes that many other animals live in when the woodpeckers move on. A variety of woodpecker species fly through these pages—perhaps some that live near you!
The Hawk of the Castle: A Story of Medieval Falconry by Danna Smith, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
Join a young girl and her father, the falconer at a medieval castle, as they experience the joys of taking a goshawk out for a training flight. The girl leads readers through all the preparations and equipment needed for the flight—from falconer's glove to the hawk's hood and bells—culminating in a dramatic demonstration of the hawk's hunting skills.
Thunder Birds: Nature's Fllying Predators by Jim Arnosky
Arnosky will draw out kids' inner explorer as he explains why there are no feathers on a vulture's head, which bird is the deep-diving champ, what makes an owls's wings perfectly silent in flight, and much more.
Birds and Their Feathers by Britta Teckentrup
What are they feathers made of? Why do birds have so many of them? How do they help birds fly? And what other purpose do they serve? By providing accessible answers to these and other questions, this delightful book introduces young readers to the wonders of "plumology," while also drawing them in with enchanting illustrations
Silent Wwoop: An Owl, An Egg, and a Warm Shirt Pocket by Michelle Hout, illustrated by Deb Hoeffner
When an owl chooses to make her nest in a dangerous location, the eggs are rescued by a bird rehabilitation specialist. Miraculously, one of the eggs hatches, and the owlet becomes an education bird—an ambassador for his species. This true story is about preservation, rehabilitation, and most of all, friendship.
Birds of a Feather: Bowerbirds and Me by Susan Roth
Combines colorful paper-collage artwork with engaging backmatter in a lighthearted story that reveals how the author and the remarkable bowerbird share many things in common and find creative inspiration in the found materials of the natural world.
For Further research
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Summaries provided via NYPL’s catalog, which draws from multiple sources. Click through to each book’s title for more.