The Joys of Birds and Birding: A Library Program and Reading List

birds and birding

Whether brightening a dull gray day with a flash of color as they fly by or signaling the dawn of a spring day with their cheery chirping, birds undoubtedly make the world more interesting. These little winged emissaries fascinate us in every way, including the  incredible distances and travel around the world during their migrations. Bird watching is an increasingly popular hobby and New Jersey is one of the best states in the country for birdwatching because of our diverse habitats and our location in the Atlantic Flyway, a migratory route along the Eastern Seaboard. Even if you are not a seasoned birdwatcher, simple activities like backyard bird feeding or casually observing the feathered friends visiting your yard may offer you relaxation and comfort. Spring is the beginning of birding season for many backyard birding enthusiasts. It’s when bluebirds start to think about raising a family here in New Jersey and when hummingbirds begin their long journeys north to the US from Central and South America.   Bluebird populations have made an incredible comeback in the last 50 years and hummingbirds have migration patterns that are absolutely amazing. Many of us have questions about attracting these fascinating birds to our yards and supporting their habitats.  On Monday May 13 at 7pm, join us for an interactive talk entitled Bluebirds & Hummingbirds: In My Backyard? by Jim Walker, a 35 year bird enthusiast & owner of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in Denville, will provide audiences with fun and interesting information about the behaviors and habits of these beautiful birds. Jim will also discuss these birds’ nesting habits, ways to attract them to backyards, and what food to offer them, as well as share several fun facts about them.  Here are some nonfiction reads on our feathered friends, on the sad decline of bird populations, as well as on the joyful pursuit of birdwatching and birding, available to borrow with your Livingston Library card. Attracting & Feeding Hummingbirds by Stan Tekiela Find out how to make your yard into a habitat that hummingbirds will love.  The handy book is divided into three main sections. First, you’ll learn all about hummingbirds: facts, range, habitat, songs, nests, and more. Up next, you’ll be introduced to the feeding solution that keeps hummingbirds coming back. In the third section, Stan tells you which feeders hummingbirds prefer and why. You’ll also be given information on placing feeders and cleaning feeders. The Backyard Bird Chronicles by Amy Tan In 2016, author Amy Tan grew overwhelmed by the state of the world: Hatred and misinformation became a daily presence on social media, and the country felt more divisive than ever. In search of peace, Tan turned toward the natural world just beyond her window and, specifically, the birds flocking to the feeders in her yard. But what began as an attempt to find solace turned into something far greater–an opportunity to savor quiet moments during a volatile time, connect to nature in a meaningful way, and imagine the intricate lives of the birds she admired. The Backyard Birdwatcher’s Bible by Christopher M. Perrins An informative and eye-catching reference book for beginner and intermediate backyard bird enthusiasts.  An elegant aesthetic is paired with practical tips on identifying, attracting, and caring for backyard birds, as well as crafting bird-friendly gardens and bird houses. With additional sections focused on everything from the bird life cycle to bird behavior, symbolism, and meaning in art, this authoritative book is brimming with engaging answers to all of your birdwatching questions. Birding Basics : Tips, Tools & Techniques for Great Bird-Watching by Noah K. Strycker Not a field guide but a primer in best practices, authored by birding expert Noah Strycker, this breezy book features easy-to-follow advice on what to look and listen for, how to use field guides and birding apps, the best equipment to start with, and ways to engage with other birders around the world. Filled with fun facts and seasoned advice, this useful book will help you attract birds to your backyard, master bird identification, name a bird by its song, and witness the magic of migration.  Birds of New Jersey: Field Guide by Stan Tekiela This handy book features 128 species of New Jersey birds organized by color for ease of use. Full-page photographs present the species as you’ll see them in nature, and a “compare” feature helps you to decide between look-alikes. Book of North American Birds : An Illustrated Guide to More Than 600 Species Colored and detailed illustrations. Discover nesting habits, preferred foods, favorite habitats, and background stories for each and every bird. Conversations with Birds : the Metaphysics of Bird and Human Communication by Alan Powers Discusses specific birdtalk techniques and offers insights into many species. Looks at the long-standing tradition of “avitherapy” throughout history and in literature and the arts. Explains how song-talk with birds restores peace, calms anxiety, and enhances health. The Feminist Bird Club’s Birding for a Better World : a Guide to Finding Joy and Community in Nature by Molly Adams Birds are infinitely fascinating and inspiring, and can be found everywhere from forests to city parks to suburban backyards. Birding not only grounds us in our natural environment but is shown to reduce stress and support our mental well-being. It’s something that can be done alone or in community, by anyone, anytime. Feminist Bird Club organizers Molly Adams and Sydney Golden Anderson expand on those ideas, discussing how the simple and timeless activity of birding is both deeply connected to issues of social and environmental justice and a meaningful way to experience joy. Flight Paths : How a Passionate and Quirky Group of Pioneering Scientists Solved the Mystery of Bird Migration by Rebecca Heisman The never-before-told story of how a group of migration-obsessed scientists in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries engaged nearly every branch of science to understand bird migration–from where and when they take off to their flight paths and behaviors, their destinations and the challenges they encounter getting