Who doesn't love birds? Actually I've known people who said they hated birds, but I figured they must have some evil in them. I can't imagine my life without birds. In the summer their music is like a symphony to my ears, often at fortissimo levels in the morning. In the winter, I throw seeds on the porch and watch them through my office window. I have lots of birds here at the farm, and I am grateful, because I know in some places, like California, where the climate and environment have been turned into a disaster through the manipulation of the weather, Fukushima, and all the other devastation purposely done by our government, corporations, and military, the birds and most other wildlife are dying off or leaving.
In addition to their beauty, birds are of course beneficial in so many ways. They eat insect pests, pollinate flowers, and plant trees. Crows, vultures and the like are also necessary for cleaning up carcasses and predatory birds help keep rodents in check. Can they be a pain in the butt? Yeah, that, too. I remember years ago planting squash, only to realize too late that the cardinals were behind me, eating every seed I had just planted. A flock crows can devastate a cornfield. And inevitably, someone will poop on my nice white laundry as it hangs on the line, especially when the berries are ripe. I have a rule here to never gaze upward in awe and wonder at birds with my mouth open.
A number of years ago, I realized, for a country girl, I was seriously deficient in my knowledge of local birds, especially recognizing their calls, so I made a deliberate effort to correct that. There are a vast number of websites on birds that include recordings of their calls. I found a local one that has helped me immensely. I have also learned to use mnemonic devices to remember the sounds. Chickadees, which are abundant here year round, have different calls for different seasons, but my favorite is their spring call: "CHEESE-BURGER, CHEESE-BURGER." The Eastern Towhees remind me to "DRINK-YOUR-TEA." The Peewees are named for their "PEE-YOU-WEE," and Phoebes of course, say "PHEE-BEE." Northern Flickers sound like someone stepped on a squeaky-toy, and it's the Pileated Woodpeckers that most sound like "Woody." (You'll know who I'm talking about if you grew up in the 50s and 60s.) One of my favorites is the Red-Winged Blackbird, and sometimes they are really abundant. And the hummingbirds are quite plentiful, too. They come in and out of the greenhouse in the summer, and are so unafraid, they will fly right up to my face. Last spring, I had a Tufted Titmouse that would land on my head as I sat on the porch.
In Ohio, we have lots of owls, many that come just to winter. Their calls can be haunting. The first time I heard a Barred Owl, I thought some Indigenous American Spirit was serenading me on a wood flute. And the Red-Shouldered Hawks circle and scream all day during the summer. This past year, I even saw a Golden Eagle--very rare around here indeed.
I could go on and on about birds because I just love them, but instead, I'll just provide you with lots of birdy-books. Lots and lots of them are coloring books, and quite a few are books with CD-ROM. I have also included, of course, non-fictional books related to birds, and in addition, fictional books where birds play an important role, such as the creepy bird scenes in Bram Stoker's The Lair of the White Worm.
I have an abundance of images for this page. Many are old-fashioned "decorative" pictures, but of course, the Audubon are not only accurate studies in birds, but works of fine art. I hope you enjoy all this birdy stuff. And as a reminder, please take care of your local birds by providing food, water and shelter.