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What Bluebirds Do

Ages: 5–7
Pages: 48
List Price: $18.95
Cover: Hardcover
Published: 4/1/2009
ISBN: 1-59078-614-9
ISBN-13: 978-1-59078-614-7
Stunning full-color photographs tell the inside story of one of the nation’s most beloved backyard birds. A sky-blue male offers his young mate a gift of meal worms. The birds perch and flutter as they select the perfect place to lay their eggs and raise their chicks—a nest box built especially for them. Soon, hatchlings gape hungrily for their next meal. Later, they take turns looking out of the nest box. The mother alights at the opening with a beak full of worms. Later, the father launches himself from the nest box, carrying away a chick-dropping-in-a-sack. The chicks grow from hatchlings to fledglings. They huddle near their parents, learning how to find food on their own, and finally mature into young adults, bearing the same beautiful blue feathers as their parents.

Awards

  • Selected for Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 for 2010, a cooperative project of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the Children’s Book Council
  • 2009 John Burroughs List of Nature Books for Young Readers
What Bluebirds Do celebrates their successes so far and seeks to recruit bluebird lovers everywhere. Award-winning photographer and bluebird enthusiast Pamela Kirby shares the results of many hours sitting in a backyard blind with camera ready. Her firsthand account and intimate photographs recount a season in the life of a nesting pair. Young readers cannot fail to be enthralled, as Kirby was, by the natural beauty and amazing behaviors of these birds.

Reviews

Starred review "Brilliantly sharp, close-up photos portray one season in the life of a pair of Eastern Bluebirds and their babies. The striking cover of a male in midair bringing a worm to his mate is irresistible, and the inside photos are equally engaging. ... Kirby, photographing from a blind in her own backyard, has done for the Bluebird what Nic Bishop did for The Red-Eyed Tree Frog (Scholastic, 1999). Pair the two to inspire young naturalists and photographers."
     —School Library Journal

"This welcome introduction to the habits of eastern bluebirds features crisp photographs of a mated pair's courtship, nesting and rearing of five babies to fledging and beyond. ... Both enlightening and invigorating."
     —Kirkus Reviews

"Big, full-color photos provide the drama in this personal, picture-book introduction to a common North American bird. ... [K]ids will feel the call for conservation as they marvel, along with Kirby, at the bird behavior she sees in her yard... A bibliography and a list of suggested Web sites close this handsome title."
     —Booklist

"Children who live near these beautiful birds are sure to enjoy the pages of Kirby’s photographs showing the life of a family of eastern bluebirds that nested in her backyard."
     —Science

School Library Journal awards Pamela F. Kirby's What Bluebirds Do with a starred review in its May 2009 issue: "Brilliantly sharp, close-up photos portray one season in the life of a pair of Eastern Bluebirds and their babies. The striking cover of a male in midair bringing a worm to his mate is irresistible, and the inside photos are equally engaging. ... Kirby, photographing from a blind in her own backyard, has done for the Bluebird what Nic Bishop did for The Red-Eyed Tree Frog (Scholastic, 1999). Pair the two to inspire young naturalists and photographers."
Kirkus Reviews, in the March 15, 2009 issue, writes the following about Pamela F. Kirby's What Bluebirds Do: “This welcome introduction to the habits of eastern bluebirds features crisp photographs of a mated pair's courtship, nesting and rearing of five babies to fledging and beyond. ... Both enlightening and invigorating.”