Monday, December 29, 2008


Little Golden Guide for Birds
Herbert Zim & Ira Gabrielson ~ pics by James Irving
Simon & Schuster, 1949

Seeing as my son is a bird freak and Santa was all about setting up said bird freak with birds and bird-related items, I figure it is about time to trot out the Golden Nature Guides, and in particular (you guessed it!) the one called Birds: A Guide to the Most Familiar American Birds. My own childhood set of these Golden Guides was a must-have throughout my youth. I seriously doubt an adolescent day passed for me when I wasn't looking up the name of some bug or trying to figure out what a lizard eats in one of these wee nature guides. When eBay first started up way back when, replenishing my long lost collection was the very first thing I did with my account. If you are at all interested in getting you child engaged in nature, then snatch up as many of these titles as you can get your hands on.

My son is still too young to enjoy our complete set... except for this little ditty and odds are he can probably name every single bird variety listed within. Its child-size pages, innocence of tone and gorgeous illustrations get me every time.

Practice is essential. Go looking for birds as often as you can. As to time of day, early mornings are best. By the time the sun is well up, bird activity slows down and does not resume till late afternoon. Marsh birds are most active near dawn or in the evening, but ducks, waterfowl and hawks may be seen all day. Make bird watching a week-end habit the year round. Try getting out early on spring mornings when the birds are migrating north. Follow and observe them as they nest in the summer. Watch them as they form flocks and start south in the fall. You learn something from every bird you see.

Really, even if you live in the city, bird watching is something any kid can do, so even more than its sister guides, Birds is the one to share with your child. My little hardback copy is what you will find tucked in my purse for that line wait at the grocery store. When I whip it out, the boy's good for at least 15 minutes!


Anonymous said...

Awesome! We totally had this book and my brother knew all of his birds by the time he was 3. Great to remember things misplaced in my mind.

Anonymous said...

I adore Golden Guides! Whenever I can find one of those little old ones, I snap it up. The publisher reissued a whole bunch of those a few years ago and I bought way too many. "Pond Life" is one of my favorites!

Jan said...

I love the Golden Guides - I had a number as a child. For some reason, the only ones I have left are Trees, Butterflies and Moths and Birds. But they were fun - both as a kid and as an adult - and convenient and informative!

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