Bird Week: Birds in Art, Life, Poetry and Song

 The Seattle Public Library is partnering with the Seward Park Audubon Center for Bird Week, April 23-30, in celebration of the center’s tenth anniversary and the National Audubon Society’s 2018 Year of the Bird.

A dawn chorus awakens the world. From hemisphere to hemisphere we rise to the sound of birds. As we make our way through a day, somewhere near, a bird makes its presence known. Their songs and calls can be a melodious counterpoint to the army of mechanical sounds surrounding us, but for a bird their throaty repertoire is serious business. Do you ever think of the sounds that birds make as a language? Each bird is speaking a language particular to its kind. No matter how we try to imitate their sounds we will never know what, exactly, all that chattering is about!

From complex vocalizations to simple trills, birds are defending territory, seeking a mate or announcing the presence of a predator. Birds have their business and we mind it in very particular ways. Find out how in Birdnote: Chirps, Quirks and Stories of 100 Birds from the Popular Public Radio Show.

For us, a bird, also, becomes more than a bird. They become metaphor, inspiration and icon. Birds are so enmeshed in our daily lives that we do not even imagine them as wild animals. Wild, they are, winging their way from rooftop to rooftop, dipping, swooping, diving, ascending to great heights and singing at the top of their voice. Continue reading “Bird Week: Birds in Art, Life, Poetry and Song”

Bird Week: Birds in Children’s and Young Adult Literature

The Seattle Public Library is partnering with the Seward Park Audubon Center for Bird Week, April 23-30, in celebration of the center’s 10th anniversary and the National Audubon Society’s 2018 Year of the Bird.

 In honor of Bird Week, I’ve selected three titles written for young people with appeal to bird lovers of all ages: a not-quite-nonfiction picture book with a fun twist, a tale from the Muskogee tradition, and a teen novel about a young birdwatcher.

 I Spy in the Sky by Edward Gibbs (2014) picture book

This interactive picture book featuring peek-through pages invites readers to guess the identity of different birds. Gibbs’ brightly colored illustrations and clever clues create a fun take on the classic game of I Spy.

 

Continue reading “Bird Week: Birds in Children’s and Young Adult Literature”

Bird Week: Mythology and Birds

The Seattle Public Library is partnering with the Seward Park Audubon Center for the first ever Seattle Bird Week, April 23-30, in celebration of the center’s tenth anniversary.

Throughout human mythology, birds fly with us, inspire us, sing to us, and explain the natural world to us.

Image from the British Museum.

Consider the ancient Greeks using the idea of a bird to teach moral lessons. Imagine you are Icarus, that legendary character, who wearing wings made of wax and bird feathers, are leaping off a tower of imprisonment in sunny Crete. Free, you soar higher and higher into the clear blue skies, despite being warned not to do that by Daedalus, your famously clever father, who designed the wings after he studied birds in flight. Unbound from constraint, gravity, and the plodding limits of your own nature, you are rapturous with the joy of flight, and ignore his admonitions, to your peril. View the full story in this streamed video from our website. Continue reading “Bird Week: Mythology and Birds”

Bird Week: Backyard Birds

The Seattle Public Library is partnering with the Seward Park Audubon Center for Bird Week, April 23-30, in celebration of the center’s tenth anniversary and the National Audubon Society’s 2018 Year of the Bird.

Birdwatching in your own back yard – what a delightful thought. You can attract birds through wildlife-friendly landscapes, birdhouses, and feeders.The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates that over 35,000 acres of wildlife habitat in this state are lost yearly to development. Native wildlife species could use a helping hand. Continue reading “Bird Week: Backyard Birds”

Bird Week: Birds of the Pacific Northwest

The Seattle Public Library is partnering with the Seward Park Audubon Center for Bird Week, April 23-30, in celebration of the center’s tenth anniversary and the National Audubon Society’s 2018 Year of the Bird.

The Pacific Northwest region is blessed with many bird species and birdwatching enthusiasts.  With longer days, April is a fine month to appreciate wild birds.  To learn more about birds, check out the Birds of North America database by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  It offers a wealth of information on over 700 species – including biology, distribution, habitats, and migration.  There is also a multimedia gallery with vocalizations and videos. Continue reading “Bird Week: Birds of the Pacific Northwest”