What a joy to make the acquaintance of Jennifer Ward, a fellow bird lover. As a complete amateur, I am in awe of Jennifer’s knowledge and how she shares it in such an accessible way! She has joined us today in celebration of her newest book, How to Find a Bird, illustrated by Diana Sudyka (Beach Lane Books). Jennifer has generously offered to giveaway a signed copy of How to Find a Bird; all you have to do is click this link and promise to share this post in some way on social media! Easy peasy.
Thanks so much, Kirby, for inviting me to take part in Friend Friday! I’m giddy! With all the social distancing during Covid-19, this means of connecting is extra special. And thank you for your patience with my contribution (which was past due its due date, friends). I’m going to blame it on birds. It’s migration season after all – my favorite time of year – and I truly experience FOMO if I’m not out looking for birds during their migration.
Being outdoors with birds is also my year-round happy place, and we can all use as much happy as we can get these days. As an introvert and someone on the shy side around people, being immersed in nature is a place where I feel comfortable and right at home. I’m not sure when I became the bird-nerd that I am today, but I believe it’s a compilation of small yet meaningful experiences with birds over my entire lifetime, including one of my first “bird memories” as a child: hearing a dawn chorus as I lay awake in bed before sunrise, windows open and bird calls intensifying in the gray darkness of my room.
Today, my everyday involves birds. I’m a volunteer at a wild song bird rehabilitation clinic, I photograph birds, I cultivate healthy habitat for birds on my 4 acre property, I’m an Eastern Bluebird landlord, and I watch and know the birds that share their lives with mine outside my home, from year-round residents to migrants (yard count 91 to date!) I’m obsessed with bird behavior. It’s fun to wonder about why and how they do the things they do. It’s fun to play “spy” – observing them without interfering or being intrusive. Naturally, I write about birds too.
I have several books about birds for children, my most recent being How to Find a Bird, illustrated by Diana Sudyka (Beach Lane Books, Sept. 2020). Like its title, it conveys many interesting and clever ways one may find a bird, with end pages providing resources for opportunities to get involved with birds. I LOVE BIRDS! 52 Ways to Wonder, Wander and Explore Birds with Kids, illustrated by Alexander Vidal (Roost Books) offers 52 chapters of open-ended, STEAM and sensory based activities adults and children alike may embark on to connect with the bird world, be it through a window or on a short walk. Mama Built a Little Nest, illustrated by Caldecott medalist Steve Jenkins (Beach Lane Books) features 15 different types of bird nest architecture across the globe, although there are many more than 15! Birds are such fantastic and resourceful architects when it comes to housing their precious cargo.
I’m going to blame birds on the fact that my website could be a wee bit more updated as well, at least the one page that offers a bibliography of bird-focused books for children, but I do offer a bibliography of bird books there. There are many news titles out that need to be included – if you know of titles you’d like to see there, please let me know! I will include them sooner than later.
I hope that each of you and those you love may find companionship, wonder and curiosity with birds. From the simple joy of observing them and hearing them, to reading about them and studying them. They have a lot to each us. They need us as well, just as we need them.
Jennifer Ward is the author of 25 acclaimed books for children, including HOW TO FIND A BIRD, which received a starred review from The Hornbook, and MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST, which is an ALA Notable book, among other honors. Most of her books are inspired by nature and she is easily distracted by everything outside of her windows. www.JenniferWardBooks.com