Birds are Disappearing, How Can You Help?

Artwork from Saving Kate's Flowers, illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein
Artwork from Saving Kate’s Flowers, illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein

A recent study revealed that one-in-three birds have vanished since 1970, meaning that in North American, we have 3 billion fewer birds today. This study was a major undertaking by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and couldn’t have been done without the work of citizen scientists.

The numbers are most grim for grassland birds losing 50% of their population, shorebirds are down 37%, and western forest birds have lost 29% of their population. These results show that birds are not adapting well as buildings go up in place of forests and grasslands.

Can you imagine opening your window and not hearing the song of a sparrow ever again? Or seeing a red-winged blackbird on the side of the highway? These common birds are some of the species that have lost a large portion of its population.

Image from Animal Helpers: Raptor Centers by Jennifer Keats Curtis
Image from Animal Helpers: Raptor Centers by Jennifer Keats Curtis

There are successes in this story, conservation efforts to save waterfowl, raptors, and turkeys show an increase in populations. Special interest groups and governments have invested in conservation. High-rise buildings give peregrine falcons a nest box and a camera so people can check in on their favorite local raptor. Conservation groups give a bird’s eye view into an eagle nest or a duck pond, and this exposure helps create public awareness.

What else can we do?

Cut down on reflective windows. Nearly 1 billion birds die each year by mistaking reflections for flying space and crash into windows.

People can also keep their purrfect bird hunters inside to chase faux birds. Cats are estimated to kill 2.6 billion birds a year!

Give birds a place to rest or nest by planting native flowers and trees. Flower beds spruce up a yard and give birds a place to rest safely during long flights.

A few things that are not only good for birds, but good for your health too – reduce pesticides, plastics, and drink shade-grown coffee.

And last but not least, join the bird count and become a citizen scientist! Observations are a very important part of science. Join the effort to accurately count the population and give scientists a much better understanding of where conservation efforts are needed. Here are some projects to check out: https://www.birds.cornell.edu/home/citizen-science-be-part-of-something-bigger.

Share citizen science with your kids, here are two books that show how fun joining a project can be!

Bat Count: A Citizen Science Story

Bat Count: A Citizen Science Story

Jojo is prepping for an exciting night; it’s time for the bat count! Bats have always been a welcome presence during the summers in the family barn. But over the years, the numbers have dwindled as many bats in the area caught white-nose syndrome. Jojo and her family count the bats and send the numbers to scientists who study bats, to see if the bat population can recover. On a summer evening, the family quietly makes their way to the lawn to watch the sky and count the visitors to their farm.


Moonlight Crab Count

Even kids can get involved in science! Ecologist Dr. Neeti Bathala and Jennifer Keats Curtis collaborate to bring us the story of these adventurous citizen scientists. Leena and her mom volunteer each summer to count the horseshoe crabs that visit their beach. With their dog Bobie at their sides, the duo spends a night on the shore surveying horseshoe crabs who have come to mate and lay eggs. Readers will learn valuable facts about these ancient animals and how they can get involved in the effort to conserve horseshoe crabs.


And, learn a litte about birds in these books!

The Best Nest

Long ago, when the world was young, the magpies’ nests were the envy of all other birds. To help the other birds, Maggie Magpie patiently explained how to build a nest. But some birds were impatient and flew off without listening to all the directions, which is why, to this day, birds’ nests come in all different shapes and sizes. This clever retelling of an old English folktale teaches the importance of careful listening.


Whistling Wings

Can a swan survive without winter migration? Marcel, a young tundra swan, is tired from the first half of a winter migration. One thousand miles is a long way to fly—too long for Marcel, so he hides in the rushes to stay behind while his parents and the flock continue south. But with the lake nearly frozen over, he soon realizes that he is not cut out for life on ice. Other animals offer advice about how to survive the winter, but their ways of living aren’t right for the swan. Hungry and scared, he falls asleep – only to be awakened by a big surprise!


Otis the Owl

In beautifully detailed photographs, Mary Holland captures the first few months of a baby barred owl’s life. The huge eyes and fluffy feathers will steal the hearts of readers as they learn how barred owl parents ready their young owlets for the big world outside the nest. Follow along as Otis learns to eat, fights with his sister, and prepares for flight.


Find these titles and many more bird books on arbordalepublishing.com. You can also request them from your favorite library or bookstore!

Halloween Reading List Part 2

We couldn’t get enough Halloween fun with just animal books, so here is another reading list to get you thinking…Do you have your costume for trick or treat yet? Well, we have thought quite a bit about our costumes and decided to take inspiration from a few Arbordale books. Here is another reading list for the season that might inspire a costume or two!

Ghosts have been part of Halloween traditions from the very beginning. Although we don’t know much about the Irish traditions of Samhain, we know it was a harvest festival where the spirit world would join the real world where ghosts and faeries walked among the living. This event is the origin of today’s Halloween celebrations. At first, the bedsheet ghost became a way to distinguish spirits in the theatre then later taken to the streets for trickery. The Ghost of Donley Farm has a feathery shroud, but his mystique is equally intriguing to Rebecca. 

The Ghost of Donely Farm

The Ghost of Donley Farm
Rebecca, the red-tailed hawk, is not afraid of ghosts! One night, she bravely ventures into the barn to meet the famous ghost of Donley Farm. But when she finally meets him, Rebecca is surprised to discover that this “ghost” is much more familiar than she’d expected.  Join Rebecca as she stays up late to talk with her new friend and find out what they have in common and how they are different.

Halloween is a magical night, but why? Again, we go back to Ireland and the Druids of the Samhain festival. Druids were known to turn those that did bad deeds into black cats. The connection between magical powers and All Hallows Eve began. Today, on Halloween night, you might see young witches and wizards stopping door to door for candy; but, what about someone that only uses illusion to create magic? Get your top hat, maybe a rabbit, and study some tricks in Magnetic Magic!  

Magnetic Magic

Magnetic Magic
Dena loves using magnets to perform magic tricks for the kids at the pool. When Enrique arrives in town, he doesn’t like that Dena is fooling the others. He gives her a century-old treasure map and Dena uses her compass and tools to plot the location of the treasure. To her surprise, the treasure is not where it should be! What could cause her compass to lead her off course? When she discovers the answer, will Dena keep fooling the other kids with magic tricks or will she help them learn about magnetism and the earth’s shifting magnetic poles?

While many believe that wolves howl at the moon, they are actually communicating with each other. But the full-moon turns the mythical werewolf from its human shape into an evil wolf-like creature at its appearance. References to the werewolf, or lycanthrope, span hundreds of years but were prominent in the middle ages. Halloween movies often include the shapeshifting creature among the monsters. Maybe readers of One Wolf Howls might consider either the real or mythical animal as a Halloween costume.

One Wolf Howls
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a wolf? What would you do in the cold winter months? Where would you sleep? What would you eat? Spend a year in the world of wolves in One Wolf Howls. This adventurous children’s book uses the months of the year and the numbers 1 through 12 to introduce children to the behavior of wolves in natural settings. The lively, realistic illustrations of Susan Detwiler complement the rhyming text and bring each month to life. From January to December, howl, frolic, and dance, while learning important lessons page-by-page! The “For Creative Minds” learning section includes a “Wolf Communications Matching” and “Wolf Calendar” activity.

Midnight is the hour of the supernatural. There are references to spells being cast at midnight, and at this hour on a full moon, madness sets in. Throughout ancient history, madness has been depicted in some very disturbing ways, but we have a much more fun way to spend the evening, an animal basketball game!

Midnight Madness at the Zoo

Midnight Madness at the Zoo
The bustle of the crowd is waning and the zoo is quieting for the night. The polar bear picks up the ball and dribbles onto the court; the nightly game begins. A frog jumps up to play one-on-one and then a penguin waddles in to join the team. Count along as the game grows with the addition of each new animal and the field of players builds to ten. Three zebras serve as referees and keep the clock, because this game must be over before the zookeeper makes her rounds.

No matter your Halloween costume, we hope you have had as much fun with this reading list as we have had making it. To learn more about each book, go to arbordalepublishing.com or click on the title.

Book Launch! The Forest in the Trees

We’re celebrating the release of The Forest in the Trees by Connie McLennan. This book takes readers high into the canopy of the world’s tallest trees, a forest where very few human eyes have spied the lush greenery and animal inhabitants that call the coast redwoods home.

Connie was inspired by botanist’s research. The scientists were able to climb the trees and explore the landscape to identify many different plants that thrive high amongst the clouds. Learning more about the discoveries is easy. In The Forest in the Trees, readers find a new plant or animal with the turn of a page!

Test your own skills at identifying trees and plants with our observation and identification guide:

About the Forest

A forest is an ecosystem. This ecosystem requires just the right soil for trees to secure their roots and grow tall trunks for the leaves that soak up the sunlight.

The plants and animals in this ecosystem need the trees, just as the trees need them to thrive. One ecosystem is found on the ground where we can walk around and marvel at the amazing size of the trees. The other is high in the sky, and only a select few botanists have laid eyes on this ecosystem.

So, what do botanists look for in this ecosystem?  Take this observation guide on your next walk through the forest and see if you can identify the trees and plants you find.

We’re giving away three copies of our new fall releases! Enter for a chance to win a copy of The Forest in the Trees and Animal SkinsWinners will be contacted on September 30th!

Lucky Number Seven

It’s a book launch for Mary Holland! This is the seventh launch for the Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series, and this season Holland is focused on the outer coverings of North American mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.

The skin is an important organ for all animals, including humans, but some of the featured animals use their skin to hide or warn predators. Many of the adaptations discussed in Animal Skins showcase this adaptation.

Here is a fun little experiment in animal pattern identification. Color the skins and identify the animal.

Learn more about how animals make their way in the world through an exploration of anatomy. Get the series

We’re giving away three copies of our new fall releases! Enter for a chance to win a copy of The Forest in the Trees and Animal Skins. Winners will be contacted on September 30th! 

Monkey Around Today

Happy September! We kick off this very busy month with a little fun from our favorite cousins, the primates. Here is a fun booklist for reading about a monkey with sticky fingers, one that plays basketball, and some very smart gorillas and orangutans.

Happy International Primate Day!

The Deductive Detective

Someone stole a cake from the cake contest—who could it be? Twelve animal bakers are potential suspects but Detective Duck uses his deductive reasoning skills to “quack† the case. After all, the thief left hairs behind so the thief wasn’t a bird. Follow along as he subtracts each suspect one at a time to reveal just who the culprit was. This clever story will have children of all ages giggling at the puns and the play on words.

Midnight Madness

The bustle of the crowd is waning and the zoo is quieting for the night. The polar bear picks up the ball and dribbles onto the court; the nightly game begins. A frog jumps up to play one-on-one and then a penguin waddles in to join the team. Count along as the game grows with the addition of each new animal and the field of players builds to ten. Three zebras serve as referees and keep the clock, because this game must be over before the zookeeper makes her rounds.

Paws, Claws, Hands, and Feet

Go along on the exciting dream journey from morning to night, using hands and feet just like squirrels, monkeys, rats, spiders, frogs, penguins, elephants, lions, kangaroos, pandas, and eagles. Travel to the lush jungle, the African savannah, Australian outback, and to the frozen Antarctic. Finally, as the sun sets, snuggle beneath the covers and snooze, with recollections of animals at play, inspired by the imaginative illustrations of Sherry Rogers. After all, even the wild things need some time to rest after a day of fast-footed play! The “For Creative Minds” education section features a “Paws, Claws, Hands, and Feet” matching activity.

Primate School

Gorillas using iPads, lemurs finger painting, squirrel monkeys popping bubbles . . . these primates are pretty smart! Could you make the grade in Primate School? Learn how diverse the primate family is, and some of the ways humans are teaching new skills to their primate cousins. Author Jennifer Keats Curtis is once again working with organizations across the country to share fun facts about primates through this photo journal.

‘Twas the Day Before Zoo Day

This delightful adaptation of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, shares zoo keeper and animal preparations for the upcoming “Zoo Day”. But things aren’t going according to plan . . . The llamas won’t quit spitting, the giraffes are drooling, and the zebras aren’t happy at all with their stripes. Meanwhile, the zoo keepers are scurrying this way and that, cleaning up poop, ringing mealtime bells, and trying to get the animals bathed. Will “Zoo Day” go off without a hitch? The “For Creative Minds” educational section includes “Creative Sparks: imagine you’re a zoo keeper,” and “An Animal Adaptation Matching Activity.”

What’s New at the Zoo? An Animal Adding Adventure

Come along on an animal adding adventure. Add baby animals to the adults to see how many there are all together. And while you are at it, learn what some of the zoo animals eat or what the baby animals are called. Follow the lost red balloon as it soars through the zoo. At the end of the day, count up all the animals you have seen. The “For Creative Minds” educational section includes: How many animals do you see?, Tens make friends, Adding by columns, Fact families, Food for thought, Animal matching activity, and Animal classes.

Each titles is available in English and Spanish along with a selection of other languages, check these out in our incredible multilingual ebooks!

Summer Fun in the South Sea

We’re spending this hot July in the water, deep in the South Pacific, where one sea creature reigns supreme. The Hungriest Mouth in the Sea is a rhyming tale of eating, and being eaten as fish, mammals and even birds survive in this wild habitat. It’s easy to put this book on your summer reading list because it is the Arbordale Free Ebook of the Month.

Speaking of summer reading, here are some wonderful ways to keep kids learning even when they are not in school. After Reading The Hungriest Mouth in the Sea, you can test your knowledge by printing the “For Creative Minds” section and playing the Hungriest Mouth Games or matching the predator and prey.

If you are looking for a craftier rainy-day activity, we made some sea creature clothespin clips below!

For this activity, we gathered some clothespins, paint, cardboard, pipe cleaners, and a few googly eyes. As with all crafts you can be as realistic or as whimsical as you would like.

Our Orca is black and white paint with some cardboard for the tail and fin. We made a yellow fish with with a googly eye and cardboard fins. Our squid is adorned with pipe cleaner tentacles and a big eye.

Have fun with your own interpretation of the creatures of the South Sea! If you want to get your own copy of The Hungriest Mouth in the Sea, visit the Arbordale store!

We have a winner!

It’s that time of year when best book lists are coming at you each day! Well…we are very excited to announce that Maggie: Alaska’s Last Elephant was selected for the 2019 Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 by the National Science Teachers Association and Children’s Book Council!

As a publisher of science picture books, you can imagine that this is our favorite award to receive and we think Maggie and the Spanish counterpart Maggie, El Último Elefante En Alaska are a wonderful choice!

Get to know Maggie and the book creators!

MaggieESElephants are social animals. Maggie and Annabelle used to live together at the Alaska Zoo. But after Annabelle died, Maggie was all alone. For years, zookeepers tried to keep her happy (and warm). But ultimately, they sent Maggie to live at a sanctuary (PAWS). Now she is happy and at home with her new herd of other elephants. This is a heartwarming story of how zoos ensure the best for the animals in their care—even if the best is not at their zoo.

 

Award-winning author Jennifer Keats Curtis has JenniferCurtispenned numerous stories about animals, including Kali’s Story: An Orphaned Polar Bear Rescue (Children’s Choice Book Award Winner); After A While Crocodile: Alexa’s Diary (NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children) with co-author Dr. Brady Barr of Nat Geo Wild’s Dangerous Encounter; Baby Bear’s Adoption with wildlife biologists at Michigan’s DNR; and Moonlight Crab Count with co-author Dr. Neeti Bathala. The long-time writer’s other recent books include The Lizard Lady, with co-author Dr. Nicole Angeli, Maggie: Alaska’s Last Elephant and the Animal Helpers Series. When not writing, Jennifer can be found among students and teachers, talking about literacy and conservation. Visit her website at www.jenniferkeatscurtis.com.

PhyllisSaroff

Since childhood, Phyllis Saroff has brought together her loves of science and art. In addition to Maggie: Alaska’s Last ElephantVivian and the Legend of the HoodoosTuktuk: Tundra Tale, and Sounds of the Savannafor Arbordale, Phyllis has illustrated nonfiction books about the natural world such as Teeth and Mary Anning: Fossil Hunter. She also illustrates for children’s magazines, wayside signs and other educational material. Phyllis works digitally and with oil paint. Phyllis lives in Maryland with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. Visit her website at saroffillustration.com.

Learn more about Maggie and get a copy of your own on the book’s homepage!