I was so happy when the hubby put up bird feeders just before the holidays. It took some time but we can finally say that we have figured out how to attract birds to our yard. Or it could be the 16″ of snow on the ground. Who knows – either way we are seeing quite a few different birds on a daily basis right now and hopefully we will see many more come spring – birdwatching in Montana is so much fun. With that in mind I want to start to keep track of the birds we are seeing so I was excited when I was contacted by Laurence King Publishing to check out their Backyard Birds: An Urban Birdwatching Logbook. They sent me a copy at no charge for my honest review.
About Backyard Birds:
A new product from the illustrator of Bird Bingo. Christine Berrie’s colorful bird illustrations will inspire city dwellers to look out for their favorite species amid the urban bustle. With fifty stickers provided, you can stick in the birds you have seen in your backyard or around town, and learn about them through interesting facts written by a leading ornithologist. Includes space for your own notes and observations.
About the Illustrator/Author:
Christine Berrie is a Glasgow-based illustrator who has studied at the Glasgow School of Art and Royal College of Art, London. Her work has been exhibited at the Pentagram Gallery, the DesignersBlock: Illustrate Festival and the AOI Images Exhibition. Her clients include The Guardian, The New York Times, Time Out and Penguin Books.
This book differs from a bird identification book. It does offer some information on the birds listed within but its purpose is not to be the book you turn to to figure out what you are seeing but rather to be the book where you keep track of what you have seen. For that purpose it is a great starting point.
There are a wide variety of birds within the pages from birds that everyone knows like the cardinal, blue jay and dove to water birds like the Canada goose and mallard. Then you will find some exotics like the rainbow lorikeet, the hamerkop. and the Chinese pond heron. I can only hope to see those birds in my lifetime!
But there is still a lot of fun to be had with this backyard bird logbook. I believe it would be an excellent beginning for a young person. It offers a place to indicate where you saw the bird, the sex, it’s behavior, the weather and any other notes from the sighting. There is a blank page for any further notes you want to keep.
What makes the book really fun are the bird stickers in the back. There is a sticker log with color stickers for 50 different birds. When you sight the bird you move the sticker until you’ve filled them all in. How fun is that? I’m 58 and I will admit to being excited about moving stickers to show which birds I’ve seen in my life. So you see what I mean about it being fun for kids?
ANY PURCHASE LINKS ARE AFFILIATE LINKS WHICH MEANS IF YOU BUY ANYTHING THROUGH THEM I WILL RECEIVE A SMALL COMMISSION (AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE TO YOU)
Backyard Birds: An Urban Birdwatching Logbook will be available for sale on 3/20 but you can preorder it now:
Learn more at Laurence King
Birdwatching in Montana
Every part of the country has birds unique to its territory and then there are other birds that can be found everywhere in the lower 48. I know we were very excited when blue jays started showing up in our neck of the woods.
Blue jays’ range typically does not include Western Montana but they have been moving into this area lately. I don’t know what is causing them to expand their range but I am not going to complain. They are noisy, happy birds to have around and are easy to attract to your yard. They will eat nuts and seeds – we bought a large quantity of peanuts (they keep in the freezer) and the blue jays come in every day to enjoy the snax.
The nuts also bring in the red breasted nuthatch. There are two types of nuthatch; the red breasted and the white breasted. When we lived in New Jersey we saw the white, here it’s the red. I love how they run down trees. Here they just flit in and out eating peanuts and sunflower seeds. We see dozens of these little birds a day.
For a while we wondered if our suet feeder was ever going to be utilized. Then came the big snow. We’ve had both hairy and downy woodpeckers visiting every day since the snow fell. At first it was a challenge to tell them apart as they look so much alike but we finally sorted them out by size. I’m sorry the photos are a bit fuzzy but they are skittish and I am shooting with telephoto through glass. This is the downy.
I don’t have a decent enough photo of the hairy. One day. We just have to look and sort the size; the hairy is a bigger bird with a larger bill. Not that we are 100% but we are getting better with their regular appearances.
Our biggest surprise has been the Northern flicker. They are very, VERY skittish birds and we have seen them here for years. (In fact one year one peck, peck, pecked on the yurt. It was LOUD.) We seem to have a pair now. The male is in his beautiful breeding colors. The female – she is in the picture – is also a bit brighter than usual. Our days have just been grey, grey, grey. We are hoping that they will nest close by.
It’s also been fun to see birds like the Steller’s Jay.
And our ever present and very favorite corvid – the magpie. I just never know what I might see when I look out my window which is a big part of the magic of living here in paradise.
One of my favorite and still exciting sightings is the bald eagle. Not exactly your typical “backyard” bird but one I still thrill to when he/she shows up. They are magnificent when they fly over the river.
And then there are these turkeys.
The humans are not the only ones who like to watch the birds. Sometimes I think the birds know the cats are there and they tease them. Turnabout I guess…
Logging My Birdwatching in Montana
I’m thrilled to have this new logbook as an addition to my bird book library. The hubby and I have several books to help us identify the birds we see but this is the first book we’ve had to actually keep track of what we have seen. I think it will be fun to do so.
It will be a fun activity for us as a couple and it would also be something that a family could do together. Especially on a road trip. The book would encourage learning about different birds from different areas and teach kids to notice aspects of the birds. And the stickers are fun!