On the Wing: American Birds in Migration

On the Wing: American Birds in Migration

by Carol Lerner
     
 

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Asfall approaches, the birds of summer vanish from our yards and woodlands. Have you ever wondered where they go in winter? How they know when it is time to leave? And how they find their way to winterhomes and back again without a compass or a map?

Through her clear and well-researched text, naturalist Carol Lerner explores the migratory patterns of our American

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Overview

Asfall approaches, the birds of summer vanish from our yards and woodlands. Have you ever wondered where they go in winter? How they know when it is time to leave? And how they find their way to winterhomes and back again without a compass or a map?

Through her clear and well-researched text, naturalist Carol Lerner explores the migratory patterns of our American birds. She captures the birds' beautiful colors and markings in her vibrant, realistic paintings. Budding birders can compare these images to the flocks they spot in the sky, while more experienced ornithologists will also enjoy studying the colorful maps that show the summer and winter ranges of these migrants.

On the Wing will help anyone's interest in bird-watching take flight.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This well conceived, tightly focused book discusses why birds migrate, how scientists have learned about migration and the different kinds of migration that occur. Migration can be a simple retreat from winter. But birds migrate in other patterns, too, such as a partial migration, when some species in some part of a range move. Others migrate in "irruptive years," when food supplies are out of balance; still others migrate up and down mountains. Lerner discusses how birds conserve energy with different flight patterns, how they rest and how they eat while migrating. In special blue-bordered sections, she encapsulates a topic, for example the four North American flyways, or how birds know which way to go. Readers will learn that homing pigeons have a tiny bit of lodestone or magnetite in their heads to act as a compass in navigation¾who knew? The book is not an identification manual or a source of species information. Rather, it explores the current state of our information about migratory birds in large blocks of text, which are compelling and smooth to read. Because of its format, the book is not as rewarding for browsers, but it treats the topic thoroughly and well. Realistic paintings, many maps of migratory patterns and diagrams showing a procedure or an experiment assist the reader's understanding. A closing section recommends bird identification guidebooks without reference to the Sibley Guide to Birds (Audubon), which may have been in publication as this book went to press. On the Wing has invaluable information for anyone interested in migratory phenomenon and is essential to any curriculum that investigates birds. 2001, HarperCollins, $16.95 and $16.89. Ages 8 to 12.Reviewer: Susan Hepler
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-An in-depth look at the process, the types of patterns, and the research that has helped us to understand how and why birds migrate. Lerner concerns herself with the birds of the Americas and uses specific examples to explain partial migration, migration within continents, east-west migration, and other patterns of seasonal movement. The birds mentioned are illustrated in crisp, realistic paintings, and a map shows their summer, winter, and year-round ranges. Other pictures and diagrams clarify flight and gliding patterns as well as experiments performed by ornithologists. With current nonfiction books so often broken into "fact-bites," it is a pleasure to find an attractively illustrated book that offers young readers the opportunity to delve into a fascinating topic. Children who read the book straight through will come away with a comprehensive view of bird migration, but there is an index for those interested in particular species. Suggestions for field guides and bird-watching are appended. A sterling addition to library collections.-Ellen Heath, Orchard School, Ridgewood, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"About five billion land birds from five hundred species leave their North American nesting area to spend the winter farther south," according to Lerner (My Indoor Garden, 1999, etc.), but that's only part of the story told in this remarkable look at bird migration. The author here describes bird flight patterns North-South, East-West, and up and down from higher to lower altitudes with the changing seasons. She explains why some birds migrate all the time but others only some times, and why still others just stay home. Nearly every page has a helpful thumbnail map and a handsome painting of birds. Most intriguing are scientific studies about how birds prepare for migration, and how they find their way. For example, the tiny hummingbird adds 40 percent to his weight before migration, and can travel 500 miles nonstop. Lerner reports scientists have found "magnetite," or lodestone, in the heads of homing pigeons, suggesting they have a built-in magnetic compass. Other studies show caged birds with a pattern of the northern sky on the ceiling attempt to fly in their migratory path. If some stars are removed, the bird still flies in the correct direction, but if all stars are removed, the bird is confused and flutters in all directions. The author concludes with suggestions on birdwatching, groups, and guidebooks. This is super science, beautifully presented. (index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688166502
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/28/2001
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x (d)
Age Range:
8 Years

Meet the Author

If Carol Lerner were asked to list three reasons why she started writing and illustrating books for children, she would probably say the Morton Arboretum, Joshua, and Jesse. The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, on the outskirts of Chicago, is one of the few institutions in the country that offers instruc-tion in botanical illustration on a regular basis. Over the years, Ms. Lerner had taken courses in botany, the local flora, birds of the Midwest, and other aspects of nature, but she hesitated to join the illustration class because the members seemed very accomplished. "Finally I gave it a try," she says. I continued attending for the next three years; then I felt ready to do something with my skills. I thought of illustrating children's books because they would offer more variety than strictly scientific illustration. "

Joshua and Jesse are Ms. Lerner's sons, now grown. "Initially my husband, Ralph, and I introduced them to birds and plants, but this realm of experience took such a tremendous grip on their interests and imaginations, they became expert birders [bird-watchers] and very savvy all-around naturalists on their own. All through their childhood years, their curiosity sparked my interest in the natural world."

The first book Ms. Lerner wrote and illustrated was On the Forest Edge. An ecological portrait of the animal and plant life found at the forest edge, it was given an award for Special Artistic Merit by the Friends of American Writers. Ms. Lerner's third, fourth, and fifth books, Seasons of the Tallgrass Prairie, A Biblical Garden, and Pitcher Plants, were named ALA Notable Books, as was Tree Flowers, which she illustrated. Plant Families was named a New York Academy of Sciences Honor Book. Among her recent titles are Cactus, Dumb Cane and Daffodils, A Forest Year and Moonseed and Mistletoe, all of which are NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children. Her critically acclaimed Backyard Birds of Winter has recently been followed by Backyard Birds Of Summer.

Carol and Ralph Lerner live in Chicago. Summers and weekends are spent at their house in rural Indiana, where they are surrounded by forests and wetlands. "Wild birds are at our doorstep. There's a swamp across the road that is frog heaven. And I finally have enough space to realize the garden of my dreams. I garden with a certain passion." The same passion is evident in Carol Lerner's fine ecological portraits.

If Carol Lerner were asked to list three reasons why she started writing and illustrating books for children, she would probably say the Morton Arboretum, Joshua, and Jesse. The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, on the outskirts of Chicago, is one of the few institutions in the country that offers instruc-tion in botanical illustration on a regular basis. Over the years, Ms. Lerner had taken courses in botany, the local flora, birds of the Midwest, and other aspects of nature, but she hesitated to join the illustration class because the members seemed very accomplished. "Finally I gave it a try," she says. I continued attending for the next three years; then I felt ready to do something with my skills. I thought of illustrating children's books because they would offer more variety than strictly scientific illustration. "

Joshua and Jesse are Ms. Lerner's sons, now grown. "Initially my husband, Ralph, and I introduced them to birds and plants, but this realm of experience took such a tremendous grip on their interests and imaginations, they became expert birders [bird-watchers] and very savvy all-around naturalists on their own. All through their childhood years, their curiosity sparked my interest in the natural world."

The first book Ms. Lerner wrote and illustrated was On the Forest Edge. An ecological portrait of the animal and plant life found at the forest edge, it was given an award for Special Artistic Merit by the Friends of American Writers. Ms. Lerner's third, fourth, and fifth books, Seasons of the Tallgrass Prairie, A Biblical Garden, and Pitcher Plants, were named ALA Notable Books, as was Tree Flowers, which she illustrated. Plant Families was named a New York Academy of Sciences Honor Book. Among her recent titles are Cactus, Dumb Cane and Daffodils, A Forest Year and Moonseed and Mistletoe, all of which are NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children. Her critically acclaimed Backyard Birds of Winter has recently been followed by Backyard Birds Of Summer.

Carol and Ralph Lerner live in Chicago. Summers and weekends are spent at their house in rural Indiana, where they are surrounded by forests and wetlands. "Wild birds are at our doorstep. There's a swamp across the road that is frog heaven. And I finally have enough space to realize the garden of my dreams. I garden with a certain passion." The same passion is evident in Carol Lerner's fine ecological portraits.

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