12 Children’s Books About Birds

I am not a birdwatcher. However, I enjoy observing birds with my kids. We have birdfeeders hanging outside our dining room window. A visit by a goldfinch or downy woodpecker livens up an otherwise ordinary breakfast. We get excited when we spot birds on hikes. Now that summer is here and our windows are flung open at night, we pause to listen to birds calling outside the kids’ windows as I put them to bed. Here are my favorite picture books for encouraging kids to pay attention to and enjoy birds.

Helping Dad build a bird house.

Little Green by Keith Baker. Beautiful, richly-colored illustrations and a simple rhyme celebrate hummingbirds. Ages 2+


About Birds: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill and John Sill. A fantastic introduction to birds written by a former elementary school teacher. About Birds introduces the basic defining features of birds and includes lovely, realistic illustrations of birds that can be used to teach kids to identify birds. An afterward includes additional interesting facts about the birds depicted in the illustrations. Ages 2+

Vulture View by April Sayre and Steve Jenkins. I love that this book introduces kids to turkey vultures — a fascinating bird that kids are sure to notice but that have, until now, been overlooked by children’s book authors. Vulture View features Steve Jenkins’ cut paper collage illustrations. Ages 3+

Two Blue Jays by Anne Rockwell and Megan Halsey. An extremely informative non-fiction book about bluejays disguised as a work of fiction. In Two Blue Jays, students observe as two blue jays build a nest in a tree outside their classroom window and give birth to baby blue jays. This format — describing students attentively observing bluejays — works. My kids are drawn into the story and become just as fascinated about learning about blue jays as the students. Ages 4+

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. A classic story that my kids enjoy hearing again and again. Robert McCloskey was awarded the 1942 Caldecott Medal for his delightful illustrations of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their ducklings. Ages 4+


Riki’s Birdhouse by Monica Wellington. A young boy, Riki, attracts birds to his backyard by building a bird house, putting out bird food, and more. My kids are fans of Monica Wellington’s colorful illustrations. On Meadowview Street by Henry Cole, in which a girl transforms her stark suburban yard into an attractive backyard wildlife habitat, is another fantastic story to inspire kids to create wildlife habitat. Ages 4+

Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing the Birds by Jim Arnosky. An engaging, kid-friendly introduction to birdwatching and identifying common birds. Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing the Birds is one in a series of children’s nature guides. Ages 4+


Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. A beautifully told tale of a girl and her father going “owling” one winter evening. Jane Yolen’s illustrations of the young girl determinedly tromping through the snow are enchanting. Owl Moon will surely encourage other children to appreciate their own encounters with nature. Ages 4+


The Birdwatchers by Simon James. A sweet, humorous story about a girl Jess who goes birdwatching with her grandfather for the first time. Ages 5+



Welcome, Brown Bird by Mary Lyn Ray and Peter Sylvada. A lovely portrait of two boys connected by their love for a thrush. Every spring the thrush arrives at one boy’s home, surrounded by a North American hemlock forest, and every fall the thrush migrates to the other boy’s home, surrounded by a South American rainforest. Ages 5+

Backyard Birds of Summer by Carol Lerner. Backyard Birds of Summer and its companion book Backyard Birds of Winter include a series of informative essays about various types of birds and about attracting birds to your yard. These books are perfect for kids (and adults) who are fascinated by birds. Carol Lerner’s attractive, detailed illustrations are helpful for learning to identify birds. Ages 8+

Backyard Birds by Jonathan Latimer, Karen Stray Nolting, and Roger Tory Peterson. A fantastic first field guide for children! Backyard Birds includes several features to help children learn to identify birds themselves: a limited selection of birds that kids are likely to see, illustrations as well as photographs of each bird, and arrows pointing to bird features to look for when identifying each bird. Ages 8+

Three Fantastic Websites for Young Birders:

1)  National Geographic Backyard Birding website — An excellent source of information about birds. This website includes a backyard birds quiz, a backyard birds identifier tool, and a backyard birds A-Z directory with information about numerous bird species (including recordings of bird calls!).

2)  Project FeederWatch website — Home of Cornell University’s Project FeederWatch, a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders in North America. At this website, you can sign up to participate in Project FeederWatch. Children as well as adults are encouraged to identify and count birds that visit feeders and submit their data to scientists. All participants receive a bird identification poster, a wall calendar, and a bird feeding resource guide. In addition, the Project FeederWatch website has a Homeschooler’s Guide to Project FeederWatch with wonderful suggestions for teaching kids about birds.

3)  NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat website — Home of the National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat program. This website provides extensive information about attracting birds and other wildlife to your backyard and the opportunity to get your backyard certified as an NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat. My kids have been very excited about working towards the goal of creating a certified backyard wildlife habitat and, having just submitted our application, are looking forward to receiving a NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat yard sign.

You may also be interested in:

Pinterest: Birds

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27 Responses to 12 Children’s Books About Birds

  1. Pingback: A Bookish Advent Calendar | Delightful Children's Books

  2. Pingback: 5 Tips for Encouraging Your Child to Read This Summer (It’s not too late!) | Delightful Children's Books

  3. lifeinlimits says:

    This is a wonderful compilation of titles! THANK YOU! Heading to my library tomorrow, hopefully. :)

  4. esztertun says:

    As a home schooling mom, I owe you a big thanks for this fabulous reference post!

  5. Amy says:

    I love that people around the world are reading this blog! Another really wonderful book that you may enjoy is Owl Moon. It’s a beautiful story about a dad and a girl looking for an owl. A few other good choices for kids around the world are About Birds, Two Blue Jays, and, as you mentioned, Make Way for Ducklings.

  6. Louise says:

    I am a birdwatcher (in Australia) so most of these books aren’t suitable for me here. But I did just request The Birdwatchers from my library- it sounds great. I’ve read Make Way for Ducklings before and second the recommendation.

  7. Brenda Kahn says:

    Great resource! You’re doing your part to inspire the next generation of birders!

    brenda

  8. Amy O'Quinn says:

    You have some great books listed here…and several of my favorites are in the mix! We like to ‘bird watch’ at our home as well, so thanks for all the recommendations. I’ve enjoyed hosting Nonfiction Monday today, and it’s been a pleasure ‘meeting’ all the participants!

  9. Great list. I like the mix of nonfiction and fiction. Thanks.
    Tammy
    Apples with Many Seeds

  10. Ticia says:

    I love all of the Crinkleroot books, and will probably check that one out when I see it.

    That vulture book looks very interesting. Thanks for linking up to Science Sunday!

  11. Very nice list. My children would get a huge kick out of a book about turkey vultures – I’ll have to look for that one, for sure!

  12. Thank you for sharing this list. It will be helpful when we learn about birds.

  13. Oh this is such a wonderful resource about all things connected to birds. =) Truly lovely. I have a copy of Owl Moon and love it.

  14. I like the way you list books that have something in common. This is a great place to come look when a certain topic of books is needed. thanks.

  15. Thank you very much for linking up :)

  16. Anonymous says:

    What a wonderful collection of books! I think I may need to plan a Birds Lesson. My son and I often listen to the birds…it would be fun to dig a little deeper and identify which birds we’re hearing. (The links are awesome too!)

  17. Lovely books,all new to me.I’d love it if you linked up to Book Sharing Monday.Here is my link

    http://smilinglikesunshine1.blogspot.com/2011/07/book-sharing-mondaymini-masters.html

    Thank you

  18. Laura says:

    Thanks for your contribution to this week’s Carnival of Homeschooling. It will post Wednesday morning, July 13th, on my blog, A Life Supreme (www.asupremelife.blogspot.com ). I’d appreciate it if you could advertise the carnival here on your blog. And please consider using one of the COH images found here: http://whyhomeschool.blogspot.com/2008/05/we-have-winners-of-carnival-of.html.

    Blessings,
    Laura

  19. liblaura5 says:

    Thank you for this list! Great selections.
    I also love The tale of Pale Male : a true story by Jeanette Winter. An online hawk nest cam was very popular with my students this spring, and this is a good pairing.

    • Amy says:

      Life web cams of bird nests are great! Jeanette Winter always chooses interesting topics for her books. I’ll have to check The Tale of Pale Male out.

  20. Irene Latham says:

    There are also a number of nice collections of bird poems for kids: Wings on the Wind by Kate Kiesler, How to Paint a Portrait of the Bird by Jacques Prevert and Mordicai Gerstein,Today at the Bluebird Cafe by Deborah Ruddell, Bird Watch by Jane Yolen. Thanks for you list!

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