Weird Birds by Chris Early
Weird Birds features:
- Beautiful photographs that show the birds in sharp, clear detail
- Informative captions that provide fascinating details about the lives of these intriguing creatures.
Available in paperback, the book will appeal to middle school students exploring topic ideas, younger students interested in wildlife and advanced readers who enjoy picture books.
When most people first think of birds, they think of pigeons or sparrows or maybe the pretty cardinal at their backyard bird feeder. But when you start to tally the many different kinds of birds you know, you realize how diverse and amazing these vertebrates are. From massive flightless ostriches to tiny whirring hummingbirds, birds come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. And the size range is impressive: it would take 67,650 bee hummingbirds, often regarded as the world's smallest bird, to reach the weight of the world's heaviest bird, the ostrich.
Birds are the only modern creatures to possess feathers. Feathers grow from follicles in the skin (like mammalian hairs do) and they are made up of keratin, which is also found in claws and scales. It is likely that feathers evolved from reptilian scales. Feathers are what allow birds to fly, along with other adaptations such as being light (hollow bones, no teeth, smaller or loss of organs) and powerful (strong breast muscles). Feathers also help birds stay warm and waterproof. But their function in visual communication is something that really makes birdlife so spectacular.
Feathers come in an incredible variety of colors and shapes for the purpose of attracting a mate, but this attracts our attention as well. The massive tail of a peacock, the rainbow colors of a parrot or the fine plumes of an egret have been impressing people for thousands of years.
But it is not just feathers that make birds strange to us. The different shapes of birds make them an especially diverse group of animals. Pondering beaks alone, there are the dagger-like beaks of herons, the curved beaks of ibises and the hooked beaks of owls and hawks. Other beaks are shaped as chisels, spoons, probes, tweezers, sieves and pouches. Legs and feet are almost as variable. Long legs of storks, webbed feet of ducks, skinny toes of jacanas and weapon-like claws of raptors help birds find and secure food. The plethora of beaks and leg shapes are just a few of the adaptations that help birds survive in habitats all over the planet.
With over 10,000 species, birds are sure to impress anyone who stops to take a closer look.
Some birds look bizarre. Some behave that way. This colourful book presents more than 50 strange birds, preening, stretching and showing their strange bodily adaptations in marvellous detail. Brilliant feathers in all the colours of the rainbow, a wide variety of outlandish beaks and unique genetic adaptations are just a few of the features that will captivate nature lovers while stimulating their curiosity. (The Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books f 2015-03-01)
Incredible photography of the world's most unique birds accompanied by equally interesting details makes this book a positive delight... 5 out of 5. (Katrina Yurenka Youth Services Book Review 2014-11-19)
Amazing images of weird birds and frogs appear ready to fly and leap, respectively... (Reviewed with Weird Frogs) off the pages of these informative books written by a biologist who is keen to share his fascination with the creatures featured. The crisp photographs display the image on a white background that allows the reader to focus on the striking details of the exotic birds and frogs, while the text points out bizarre and not-so-bizarre facts. (City Parent 2014-12-31)
An album of captioned photographs of nearly 60 exotic birds offers dramatic evidence of astonishing diversity in the avian word. The images are striking, with the bird (or its head) shown against a stark white background. From the black skimmer to the vulturine guineafowl, they are presented by common name, but Latin names are also given. Each illustration is accompanied by a paragraph about ways in which the bird is particularly bizarre. Sometimes the text indicates where it might be found, in a general way -- Africa, Central and South America, in rain forests -- and sometimes it mentions habitat or eating habits, size or eggs. But this is not a book for research; it's a display. There are enormous beaks and splendiferous tails, bright colors in skin and feathers, and surprisingly different feet. The southern ground hornbill has remarkable eyelashes; penguins excrete excess salt through their nostrils; the palm cockatoo makes a drumstick from a branch and bangs it against a hollow
tree to attract a mate... A similar, simultaneously publishing collection, Weird Frogs, uses a similar approach. A browser's delight. (Kirkus Reviews 2014-11-01)
Earley presents 59 strange birds, each getting a beautiful full-color photo and a caption explaining the purpose of their bizarre features. (William Hageman Chicago Tribune 2014-11-07)
The Earth truly is a wondrous place made special by the species that live here. Books like Weird Birds and Weird Frogs provide us with a glimpse of some of the fascinating animals we are fortunate to share the planet with. Learning more about these animals can provide us with the incentive to live lightly on Earth and protect all life. (Glenn Perrett Simcoe.com 2014-11-11)
Similar to his book Weird Frogs, Chris Earley covers many interesting birds who look or behave weirdly in Weird Birds. In all, 59 birds are included and Earley explains why these birds look and act the way they do. (The Muskokan 2014-11-11)
From the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock to the Secretary bird to Atlantic Puffins and Asian Paradise Flycatchers, Earley's birds and descriptions are highly amazing. (Lee Littlewood Lodi News-Sentinel 2014-11-04)
About the Author
Chris Earley is the interpretive biologist at the University of Guelph Arboretum. His kids' books that encourage youngsters to "find and identify your own" have been very popular. They include Caterpillars and Dragonflies.