REVIEW: Bird Count by Susan Edwards Richmond, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman
A young girl eagerly identifies and counts the birds she observes around her town during the New England Christmas Bird Count. Young Ava and her mother prepare to participate as “citizen scientists” in the Christmas Bird Count. She is excited when Big Al, the leader of their team, asks her to record the tally this year. Using her most important tools–her eyes and ears–and the birding ID techniques she’s learned, Ava eagerly identifies and counts the birds they observe on their assigned route around the town. At the end of the day, they meet up with the other teams in the area for a Christmas Bird Count party, where they combine their totals and share stories about their observations.
This informative story by author Susan Edwards Richmond, coupled with Stephanie Fizer Coleman’s charming depictions of birds in their winter habitats, is the perfect book to introduce young readers to birdwatching. The text offers simple explanations of the identification methods used by birdwatchers and clear descriptions of bird habitats, and a section in the back provides more information about the birds featured in the book and the Christmas Bird Count.
Dear Ms. Richmond,
A few years ago I watched a delightful documentary about bird watching in Central Park called “Birders: The Central Park Effect.” (DVD available to rent from Netflix or Prime) Around the same time, warning articles started to appear about how bird numbers are now in decline around the world. Your book shines a spotlight on the dedicated people who come out to do annual bird counts in their neighborhoods.
Ava, her mom and team leader Big Al all get up early on a cold day to go out and get an avian count. There are rules to be followed – count every bird you see or hear, make sure at least two people see or hear it, and don’t count a bird twice. I enjoyed examining the charming illustrations to find the birds which Ava’s group sees and watching as her count (seen on the side of the pages) grows over the course of the day. Thanks for the information about the birds seen in the book and the list of available resources readers can access to learn more. B+
www. all about birds . org
www. audubon . org