About the Holiday
Have you been noticing more bird activity in your yard or neighborhood? Maybe you’ve been awakened by birdsong that you haven’t heard in many months. During February, as temperatures creep up, birds begin returning to their homes to nest and mate. But the effects of the long winter still make it hard for these little creatures to find enough to eat. Recognizing a need, John Porter created a Congressional resolution in 1994 recognizing February as National Bird-Feeding Month. One-third of Americans have backyard feeders that provide the sustenance birds need to survive when natural resources are scarce. To celebrate this month, if you have feeders make sure they are well stocked. If you don’t have a feeder in your yard, consider hanging one and enjoy the beauty and songs of the birds in your area.
Paddle Perch Climb: Bird Feet Are Neat
By Laurie Ellen Angus
All birds get hungry, but not all birds eat the same thing, of course. Did you know that a bird’s feet are important in determining what they eat? Let’s find out how different kinds of feet help birds find the right food for them. “If you had webbing between your toes, you could… Paddle like a swan to dabble for pond plants.” Long legs and toes could help you “wade like a heron to sneak up on a school of fish.”
Birds who have long, strong legs can run and catch their dinner, and birds whose feet have sharp claws can climb tree trunks and hunt for insects in the bark. Birds with “small flexible toes” find their feet handy for perching on branches of trees and bushes to pick berries or—like towhees—to scratch in the dirt for bugs. There are also those birds that have “powerful feet with sharp talons” to snatch a meaty meal for themselves or their babies.
There are many kinds of birds in the world, and each one has just the right kind of feet that help them move through their environment, find or catch food, and survive.
Extensive back matter that offers many opportunities to extend STEM learning in the classroom or at home includes
- a detailed and illustrated exploration of each bird mentioned in the text, complete with a description of their feet and how they help the bird procure food. Kids will also enjoy learning the fun fact about each
- A description of the bird that inspired the book
- A discussion of adaptations, with a chart categorized with facts on habitat, feet, and beaks for seven birds and suggestions for a creative activity
- Common characteristics of birds
- A discussion on predators
- Bird-watching tips
- More resources for further learning
In her engaging text, Laurie Ellen Angus takes kids out to the pond, desert, forest, and backyard to watch as a variety of birds catch or gather their dinner. Using evocative verbs, Angus reveals not only the action of getting a meal, but the way each bird goes about it—through stealth, quick motion, pecking, scratching, and more. Specific examples of bird/feet combinations give readers a starting point for further exploration. Each category also includes a partially hidden predator, such as a fox, bobcat, snake, and hawk, that the particular bird is warned about and which readers will want to join in pointing out.
Angus beautifully employs collage-style illustrations to give her birds and environments texture, color, and movement. Her use of various perspectives, lets readers wade into the pond with the heron, chase after the roadrunner that is trotting off the edge of page, cling to a tree trunk with a woodpecker, and come in for a landing with an owl.
A visually stunning book, Paddle Perch Climb: Bird Feet Are Neat is a science book that will attract the attention of young learners and excite them to learn more about the wonders of the natural world.
Ages 4 – 8
Dawn Publications, 2018 | | ISBN 978-1584696131 (Hardcover) | ISBN 978-1584696148 (Paperback)
To learn more about Laurie Ellen Angus, her books, and her art on her website.
Wild Bird Feeding Month Activity
When you put up a bird feeder in your yard, you’ll see so many different types of birds come to visit! Find the names of twenty types of birds in this printable Let’s Go Birding! Word Search Puzzle.
You can find Paddle Perch Climb: Bird Feet Are Neat at these booksellers
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