Bird BOOK LOOK – Chapter 29 – Vireo + Another Warbler


Missed Chapter 1? Begin HERE



Chapter 29 – The Constant Singers


Over in a maple tree on the edge of Farmer Brown’s door yard lived Redeye the Vireo and Mrs. Vireo. Peter Rabbit knew that they had a nest there because Jenny Wren had told him so. He would have guessed it anyway, because Redeye spent so much time in that tree during the nesting season. No matter what hour of the day Peter visited the Old Orchard he heard Redeye singing over in the maple tree. Peter used to think that if song is an expression of happiness, Redeye must be the happiest of all birds.

He was a little fellow about the size of one of the larger Warblers and quite as modestly dressed as any of Peter’s acquaintances. The crown of his head was gray with a little blackish border on either side. Over each eye was a white line. Underneath he was white. For the rest he was dressed in light olive-green. The first time he came down near enough for Peter to see him well Peter understood at once why he is called Redeye as his eyes were truly red.

However it wasn’t often that Redeye came down so near the ground that Peter could see his eyes. He preferred to spend most of his time in the tree tops, and Peter only got glimpses of him now and then. It was even less often that he actually heard him. “I don’t see when Redeye finds time to eat,” declared Peter as he listened to the seemingly unending song in the maple tree.

“Redeye believes in singing while he works,” said Jenny Wren. “For my part I should think he’d wear his throat out. When other birds sing they don’t do anything else versus Redeye sings all the time he is looking for his meals and only stops long enough to swallow a worm or a bug when he finds it. Just as soon as it is down he begins to sing again while he looks for another. And I must say for the Vireos that they are mighty good nest builders. Have you seen their nest over in that maple tree, Peter?”

Peter shook his head. “I don’t dare go over there except very early in the morning before Farmer Brown’s folks are awake,” he said, “so I haven’t had much chance to look for it.”

“You probably couldn’t see it, anyway,” declared Jenny Wren. “They have placed it rather high up from the ground and those leaves are so thick that they hide it. It’s a regular little basket fastened in a fork near the end of a branch and it is woven almost as nicely as is the nest of Goldy the Oriole. How anybody has the patience to weave a nest like that is beyond me.”

“What is it made of?” asked Peter.


Maple tree leaves dressed in autumn red.


“Strips of bark, plant down, spider’s web, grass, and pieces of paper!” replied Jenny. “That’s a funny thing about Redeye; he dearly loves a piece of paper in his nest. He’s as fussy about having a scrap of paper as Cresty the Flycatcher is about having a piece of snake skin. I had just a peep into that nest a few days ago and unless I am greatly mistaken Sally the Cowbird has managed to impose on the Verios. I am certain I saw one of her eggs in that nest.”

A few mornings after this talk with Jenny Wren about Redeye the Vireo Peter once more visited the Old Orchard. No sooner did he come in sight than Jenny Wren’s tongue began to fly. “What did I tell you, Peter Rabbit? I knew it was so, and it is!” cried Jenny.

“What is so?” asked Peter, for he hadn’t the least idea what Jenny Wren was talking about.

“Sally the Cowbird did lay an egg in Redeye’s nest, and now it has hatched and I don’t know whatever is to become of Redeye’s own children!” cried Jenny, and hopped about and jerked her tail and worked herself into a small brown fury.

“The Vireos are working themselves to feathers and bone feeding that young Cowbird while their own babies aren’t getting half enough to eat,” continued Jenny. “One of them has died already. He was kicked out of the nest by that young Cowbird.”

“Oh my!” cried Peter. “If he does things like that I should think the Vireos would throw him out of the nest.”

“They’re too soft-hearted,” declared Jenny. “They say it isn’t his fault that he’s there, and that he’s nothing but a helpless baby, and so they just take care of him.”

“Then why don’t they feed their own babies first and give him what’s left?” Peter wondered.


Curious Capkin finds a strip of bark just right for a bird’s nest.


“Because he’s twice as big as any of their own babies and so strong that he simply snatches the food out of the very mouths of the others. Because he gets most of the food, he’s growing twice as fast as they are. He might kick all the rest of them out before he gets through. Mr. and Mrs. Vireo are dreadfully distressed about it, and yet they will feed him because they say it isn’t his fault.”

“Speaking of the Vireos, Redeye seems to be the only member of his family around here,” remarked Peter.

“Hold on, listen!” said Jenny Wren. “Do you hear that warbling song way over in the big elm in front of Farmer Brown’s house where Goldy the Oriole has his nest?”

Peter listened. At first he didn’t hear it, and then he did. The voice was not unlike that of Redeye, the song was smoother though, more continuous and sweeter. Peter’s face lit up. “I do hear it,” he cried.

“That’s Redeye’s cousin, the Warbling Vireo,” said Jenny. “He sings from the time jolly Mr. Sun gets up in the morning until he goes to bed at night. He sings when it is so hot that the rest of us are glad to keep still for comfort’s sake. I don’t know of anybody more fond of the tree tops than he is. He doesn’t seem to care anything about the Old Orchard, he just stays over in those big trees along the road. He’s got a nest over in that big elm and it is as high up as that of Goldy the Oriole; I haven’t seen it myself, Goldy told me about it.”

“Somehow I don’t remember just what Warble looks like,” Peter confessed.

“He looks a lot like his cousin, Redeye,” replied Jenny. “His coat is a little duller olive-green and underneath he is a little bit yellowish instead of white. Of course he doesn’t have red eyes, and he is a little smaller than Redeye. The whole family looks pretty much alike anyway.”

“They get me all mixed up,” declared Peter. “If only some of them had some bright colors it would be easier to tell them apart.”

“One has,” replied Jenny Wren. “He has a bright yellow throat and breast and is called the Yellow-throated Vireo. There isn’t the least chance of mistaking him.”

“Is he a singer, too?” asked Peter.

“Oh yes,” replied Jenny. “Every one in that family loves to sing. It’s a family trait. Now I must get on with my day, goodbye Peter.”

“Goodbye Jenny!” Peter called out as he hopped away to the dear Old Briar-patch.


Some birds prefer tall trees, especially for their homes.


P.L.A.Y. in Place Projects


Try these activities to extend your bird story adventures:

  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  Red-eyed Vireo
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  Yellow-throated Warbler
  • Q/A –Questions with answers to keep this conversation going are available for both Maple Tree + Elm Tree (p. 628-637 ) in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock offered FREE online HERE.
  • Another option is to get a copy of Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book by Lisa Bonforte and some colored pencils to complete the drawings of a Yellowthroat (p45) and a Red-eyed Vireo (p33).

FYI -This coloring book is an excellent companion for this bird story series with most of the 50 birds represented as characters throughout the chapters.


Source: Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess

P.L.A.Y. has provided a new online version of all 45 chapters of this updated and annotated 100+ year old public domain classic to:

  • be suitable for the 21st century family by having the Thornton Burgess woodland characters evolve to model mindfulness and loving kindness
  • highlight and bring awareness to the New England nature settings and offer an opportunity to learn more about birds and other woodland animals through this story adventure
  • create story extension moments through P.L.A.Y. suggested activities and investigations for making new nature connections generated by the reader’s own curiosity
  • encourage families to keep their own nature notebooks for drawing, writing, painting, and recording their own local daily outdoor P.L.A.Y. adventures.

P.L.A.Y. Time – Pass it on!

Summer #42 – Nature Alliteration Adventure


Purchase Here – P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books


❤ ❤ ❤

A June treasure quest for you & your curious Capkin

is to search in nature for . . .

“Peeking thru the Pretty Petals”

Bonus Curious Capkin Companion 

❤ ❤ ❤

My curious Capkin & I found this treasure to match the description.

❤ ❤ ❤


What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Toad BOOK LOOK #5: Tadpoles Hatching + The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated)

HATCHING

“As the embryos in the egg strands elongate they move more vigorously till on the second or third day they wriggle out of the jelly string. This is the hatching and they are now free in the water and can swim about. Initially they hang themselves up on the old egg string by means of a peculiar v-shaped organ on their heads.” ~ S.H. Gage, Life History of the Toad, Cornell Nature Study Leaflet, 1904

Have you ever seen a tiny “seedling” sized tadpole?

“At first the little tadpoles remain under water all the time and breathe the air dissolved in the water, just as a fish does. As they grow larger and larger, they rush up to the surface once in awhile and then dive down again, as if their lives depended on it. The older they grow the oftener they come to the surface. This is the tadpole getting ready to breathe the free air above the water when it turns into a toad and lives on the land.” ~ S.H. Gage, Life History of the Toad, Cornell Nature Study Leaflet, 1904

This seedling size tadpole was scooped up with a handful of water and only held for a moment to take a photo before replacing back in the water.

Watch a video of this tadpole in action HERE on PINTEREST.


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book 

by Karen L. Willard

Join Peter Rabbit and friends on adventures discovering all about Old Mr. Toad and his days spent in and out of the water!

See sample story pages + purchase HERE

More Tadpoles + Toads in motion at PINTEREST HERE.

Skyscape Simplicity #42: A Meditative Moment


❤ ❤ ❤


Look skyward

< Breathe In >

< Breathe Out >

Take a moment to watch the clouds roll by . . .

and connect to the calm and beauty of nature that is always there for you.

❤ ❤ ❤

Wishing you much peace & prosperity throughout your P.L.A.Y. days.


❤ ❤ ❤


peace: inner calm

prosperity: good fortune & well-being

Summer #39 – Nature Alliteration Adventure


Purchase Here – P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books


❤ ❤ ❤

A June treasure quest for you & your curious Capkin

is to search in nature for . . .

“Soft + Shade-maker + Stemmed”

Bonus Size of a Super Small Saucer

❤ ❤ ❤

My curious Capkin & I found this treasure to match the description.

❤ ❤ ❤


What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Bird BOOK LOOK – Chapter 28 – Rose-breasted Grosbeak + Scarlet Tanager


Missed Chapter 1? Begin HERE



Chapter 28 – Peter Sees Rosebreast and Finds Redcoat


“Who is that?” Peter Rabbit pricked up his long ears and stared up at the tops of the trees of the Old Orchard.

Instantly Jenny Wren popped her head out of her doorway. She cocked her head to one side to listen.

Just then there were two or three rather sharp, squeaky notes from the top of one of the trees. “There!” cried Peter. “Did you hear that, Jenny?”

“Peter, that’s Rosebreast the Grosbeak. He and Mrs. Grosbeak have been here for quite a little while,” said Jenny, “Just listen to that song!”

Peter listened. There were many songs, for it was a very beautiful morning and all the singers of the Old Orchard were pouring out the joy that was within them. One song was a little louder and clearer than the others because it came from a tree very close at hand, the very tree from which those squeaky notes had come just a few minutes before. Peter suspected that that must be the song Jenny Wren meant. He was puzzled. “Do you mean Welcome Robin’s song?” he asked.

“No” said Jenny. “That song may sound something like Welcome Robin’s, and yet it isn’t Welcome Robin singing. Welcome Robin’s song is one of good cheer, and this one is of pure happiness.”

“Now you speak of it, Jenny, that song is quite different from Welcome Robin’s,” agreed Peter.

“That is Rosebreast singing right up in the top of that tree,” Jenny pointed out.


Rose-breasted Grosbeak by Louis Agassiz Fuertes


Peter looked up to see a bird a little smaller than Welcome Robin. His head, throat and back were black. His wings were black with patches of white on them. And it was his breast that made Peter catch his breath with a little gasp of admiration, for that breast was a beautiful rose-red. The rest of him underneath was white.

“Isn’t he lovely!” cried Peter, and added in the next breath, “Who is that with him?”

“Mrs. Grosbeak” replied Jenny.

“I would never have guessed it,” said Peter. “She doesn’t look the least bit like him.”

This was quite true. There was no rose color about Mrs. Grosbeak. She was dressed chiefly in brown and grayish colors with a little buff here and there and with dark streaks on her breast. Over each eye was a whitish line. Altogether she looked more as if she might be a big member of the Sparrow family than the wife of Rosebreast. While Rosebreast sang, Mrs. Grosbeak was very busily picking buds and blossoms from the tree.

“What is she doing that for?” inquired Peter.

“For the same reason that you bite off sweet clover blossoms and leaves,” replied Jenny Wren.

“Do you mean to say that they live on buds and blossoms?” asked Peter.

“Tut, tut, tut! Buds and blossoms don’t last long enough,” said Jenny. “They eat a few just for variety, and then mostly live on bugs and insects. You ask Farmer Brown’s boy who helps him most in his potato patch, and he’ll tell you it’s the Grosbeaks. They certainly do love potato bugs. They eat some fruit, however on the whole they are about as useful around a garden as any one I know. Now it is time to run along, Peter Rabbit.”


Buds and blossoms on an apple tree.


Seeing Farmer Brown’s boy coming through the Old Orchard Peter decided that it was high time for him to depart. So he scampered for the Green Forest, lipperty-lipperty-lip. Just within the edge of the Green Forest he caught sight of something which for the time being put all thought of Farmer Brown’s boy out of his head. Fluttering on the ground was a bird about the size of Redwing the Blackbird. His wings and tail were pure black and all the rest was a beautiful scarlet. It was Redcoat the Tanager. At first Peter had eyes only for the wonderful beauty of Redcoat. Never before had he seen Redcoat so close at hand. Then quite suddenly it came over Peter that something was wrong with Redcoat, and he hurried forward to see what the trouble might be.

Redcoat heard the rustle of Peter’s feet among the dry leaves and at once began to flap and flutter in an effort to fly away, and yet he could not get off the ground. “What is it, Redcoat? Has something happened to you? It is just Peter Rabbit. You don’t have anything to fear from me,” Peter said.

The look of terror which had been in the eyes of Redcoat died out, and he stopped fluttering and simply lay panting.

“Oh, Peter,” he gasped, “you don’t know how glad I am that it is only you. I’ve had a terrible accident, and I don’t know what I am to do. I can’t fly, and if I have to stay on the ground some predator will be sure to get me. What shall I do, Peter?”

Right away Peter wanted to help. “What kind of an accident was it, Redcoat, and how did it happen?” he asked.

“Broadwing the Hawk tried to catch me,” sobbed Redcoat. “In dodging him among the trees I did not see just where I was going. I struck a sharp-pointed dead twig and drove it right through my right wing.”

Redcoat held up his right wing and sure enough there was a small stick projecting from both sides close up to the shoulder. The wing was bleeding a little.

“Oh, dear, whatever shall I do, Peter Rabbit?” sobbed Redcoat.


Scarlet Tanager by Louis Agassiz Fuertes


“Does it pain you dreadfully?” asked Peter.

Redcoat nodded. “I don’t mind the pain,” he hastened to say. “It is the thought of what may happen to me.”

Meanwhile Mrs. Tanager was flying about in the tree tops near at hand and calling anxiously. She was dressed almost wholly in light olive-green and greenish-yellow. She looked no more like Redcoat than did Mrs. Grosbeak like Rosebreast.

“Can’t you fly up just a little way so as to get off the ground?” she cried anxiously. “Isn’t it dreadful, Peter Rabbit, to have such an accident? We’ve just got our nest half built, and I don’t know what Ishall do if anything happens to Redcoat. Oh dear, here comes somebody! Hide, Redcoat! Hide!” Mrs. Tanager flew off a short distance to one side and began to cry as if in the greatest distress. Peter knew instantly that she was crying to get the attention of whoever was coming.

Poor Redcoat, with the old look of terror in his eyes, fluttered along, trying to find something under which to hide. There was nothing under which he could crawl, and there was no hiding that wonderful red coat. Peter heard the sound of heavy footsteps, and looking back, saw that Farmer Brown’s boy was coming. “Don’t be afraid, Redcoat,” he whispered. “It’s Farmer Brown’s boy and I’m sure he won’t hurt you. Perhaps he can help you.” Then Peter scampered off for a short distance and sat up to watch what would happen.

Of course Farmer Brown’s boy saw Redcoat. He saw, too, by the way Redcoat was acting, that he was in great trouble. As Farmer Brown’s boy drew near and Redcoat saw that he was discovered, he tried his hardest to flutter away. Farmer Brown’s boy understood instantly that something was wrong with one wing, and running forward, he caught Redcoat.

“You poor, beautiful little creature,” said Farmer Brown’s boy softly as he saw the twig sticking through Redcoats’ shoulder. “We’ll have to get that out right away,” continued Farmer Brown’s boy, stroking Redcoat ever so gently.

Somehow with that gentle touch Redcoat lost much of his fear, and a little hope sprang in his heart. He saw, too, that this was a friend. Farmer Brown’s boy took out his knife and carefully cut off the twig on the upper side of the wing. Then, doing his best to be careful and to hurt as little as possible, he worked the other part of the twig out from the under side. Carefully he examined the wing to see if any bones were broken. None were, and after holding Redcoat a few minutes he carefully set him up in a tree and withdrew a short distance. Redcoat hopped from branch to branch until he was halfway up the tree. Then he sat there for some time as if fearful of trying that injured wing. Meanwhile Mrs. Tanager came and fussed about him and talked to him and coaxed him and made as much of him as if he were a baby.

Peter remained right where he was until at last he saw Redcoat spread his black wings and fly to another tree. From tree to tree he flew, resting a bit in each until he and Mrs. Tanager disappeared in the Green Forest.

“I knew Farmer Brown’s boy would help him, and I’m so glad he found him,” Peter pronounced happily and started for the dear Old Briar-patch.


P.L.A.Y. in Place Projects


Try these activities to extend your bird story adventures:

  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  Scarlet Tanager
  • Q/A –Questions with answers to keep this conversation going are available for the Old Orchard filled with Apple Trees (p.661-668 ) in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock offered FREE online HERE.
  • A copy of Audubon’s Birds of America Coloring Book by Paul E. Kennedy with a Rose-breasted Grosbeak coloring page (p18) and a Scarlet Tanager on page 37.

FYI -This coloring book is an excellent companion for this bird story series.


Source: Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess

P.L.A.Y. has provided a new online version of all 45 chapters of this updated and annotated 100+ year old public domain classic to:

  • be suitable for the 21st century family by having the Thornton Burgess woodland characters evolve to model mindfulness and loving kindness
  • highlight and bring awareness to the New England nature settings and offer an opportunity to learn more about birds and other woodland animals through this story adventure
  • create story extension moments through P.L.A.Y. suggested activities and investigations for making new nature connections generated by the reader’s own curiosity
  • encourage families to keep their own nature notebooks for drawing, writing, painting, and recording their own local daily outdoor P.L.A.Y. adventures.

P.L.A.Y. Time – Pass it on!

Summer #38 – Nature Alliteration Adventure


Purchase Here – P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books


❤ ❤ ❤

A June treasure quest for you & your curious Capkin

is to search in nature for . . .

Connected + Curved + Candy-Cornish

BonusWhite/Yellow/Orange

❤ ❤ ❤

My curious Capkin & I found this treasure to match the description.

❤ ❤ ❤


What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Bird BOOK LOOK – Chapter 27 – Cardinal + Catbird


Missed Chapter 1? Begin HERE



CHAPTER 27 – A New Friend and an Old One


Peter Rabbit never will forget the first time he caught a glimpse of Glory the Cardinal, sometimes called Redbird. He had come up to the Old Orchard for his usual morning visit and just as he hopped over the old stone wall he heard a beautiful clear, loud whistle which drew his eyes to the top of an apple tree. Peter stopped short with a little gasp of sheer astonishment and delight. Then he rubbed his eyes and looked again. He couldn’t quite believe what he saw. He hadn’t supposed that anyone, even among the feathered folks, could be quite so beautiful.

The stranger was dressed all in red, except a little black around the base of his bill. Even his bill was red. He wore a beautiful red crest which made him distinguished looking, and how he could sing! Peter had noticed that quite often the most beautifully dressed birds have the poorest songs. This stranger’s song was remarkably beautiful as his coat. Of course he lost no time in finding Jenny Wren. “Who is it, Jenny? Who is that beautiful stranger with such a lovely song?” cried Peter, as soon as he caught sight of her.

“It’s Glory the Cardinal,” replied Jenny. “Isn’t he the loveliest thing you’ve ever seen? I do hope he is going to stay here. As I said before, I don’t often envy anyone’s fine clothes, although when I see Glory I’m sometimes tempted to be envious. If I were Mrs. Cardinal I’m afraid I should be jealous. There she is in the very same tree with him. Did you ever see such a difference?”


Cardinal by Louis Agassiz Fuertes


Peter looked eagerly. Instead of red like Glory, Mrs. Cardinal’s back was a brownish-gray. Her throat was a grayish-black. Her breast was a dull buff with a faint tinge of red. Her wings and tail were tinged with dull red.

Altogether she was very trim, neat looking little person. And she could sing.

“Glory’s a model husband,” remarked Jenny. “If they make their home around here you’ll find him doing his full share in the care of their babies. Sometimes they raise two families. When they do that, Glory takes charge of the first lot of youngsters as soon as they are able to leave the nest so that Mrs. Cardinal has nothing to worry about while she is sitting on the second lot of eggs. He fusses over them as if they were the only children in the world. Excuse me, Peter, I’m going over to find out if they are really going to stay.”

When Jenny returned she was so excited she couldn’t keep still a minute. “They like it here, Peter!” she cried. “They like it so much that if they can find a place to suit them for a nest they’re going to stay. I told them that it is the very best place in the world. They like an evergreen tree to build in, and I think they’ve got their eyes on those evergreens up near Farmer Brown’s house.”


Simply sweet evergreens after a spring rain.


Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal whistled and sang as if their hearts were bursting with joy, and Peter stayed awhile to listen. He would have sat there the rest of the morning had he not caught sight of an old friend of whom he is very fond, Kitty the Catbird. In contrast with Glory, Kitty seemed a regular little Quaker, for he was dressed almost all in gray, a rather dark, slate-gray. The top of his head and tail were black, and right at the base of his tail was a patch of chestnut color. He was a little smaller than Welcome Robin.

Peter forgot all about Glory in his pleasure at discovering the returned Kitty and hurried over to welcome him. Kitty had disappeared among the bushes along the old stone wall, and Peter had no trouble in finding him because of the odd cries he was uttering, which were very like the meow of Black Shadow the Cat. They were very harsh and unpleasant and Peter understood perfectly why their maker is called the Catbird. He did not hurry in among the bushes at once instead he just waited expectantly. In a few minutes the harsh cries ceased and then there came from the very same place a song which seemed to be made up of parts of the songs of all the other birds of the Old Orchard.

It was not loud, it was simply charming. It contained the clear whistle of Glory, and there was even the tinkle of Little Friend the Song Sparrow. The notes of other friends were in that song, and with them were notes of southern birds whose songs Kitty had learned while spending the winter in the South. Then there were notes all his own.

Peter listened until the song ended, then scampered in among the bushes. At once those harsh cries broke out again. You would have thought that Kitty was scolding Peter for coming to see him instead of being glad. That was just Kitty’s way. He is simply brimming over with fun and mischief, and delights to pretend.

When Peter found him, he was sitting with all his feathers puffed out until he looked almost like a ball with a head and tail. He looked positively sleepy. Then as he caught sight of Peter he drew those feathers down tight, cocked his tail up after the manner of Jenny Wren, and was as slim and trim looking as any bird of Peter’s acquaintance. He didn’t look at all like the same bird of the moment before. Then he dropped his tail as if he hadn’t strength enough to hold it up at all. It hung straight down. He dropped his wings and all in a second made himself look fairly different. And all the time his eyes were twinkling and snapping, and Peter knew that these changes in appearance were made out of pure fun and mischief.

“I’ve been wondering if you were coming back,” Peter called out. “I don’t know of any one of my feathered friends I would miss so much as you.”

“Thank you,” responded Kitty. “It’s very nice of you to say that, Peter.”


Catbird by Louis Agassiz Fuertes


“Did you pass a pleasant winter down South?” asked Peter.

“Fairly so,” replied Kitty. “By the way, Peter, I picked up some new songs down there. Would you like to hear them?”

“Of course,” replied Peter, “although I don’t think you need any new songs. I’ve never seen such a fellow for picking up other people’s songs excepting Mocker the Mockingbird.”

At the mention of Mocker a little cloud crossed Kitty’s face for just an instant. “There’s a fellow I really envy,” said he. “I’m pretty good at imitating others, and yet Mocker is better. I’m hoping that, if I practice enough, some day I can be as good. I saw a lot of him in the South and he certainly is clever.”

“You don’t need to envy him,” said Peter. “You are some imitator yourself. How about those new notes you got when you were in the South?”

Kitty’s face cleared, his throat swelled and he began to sing. It was a regular medley. It didn’t seem as if so many notes could come from one throat. When it ended Peter had a question all ready.

“Are you going to build somewhere near here?” he asked.

“I certainly am,” replied Kitty. “Mrs. Catbird was delayed a day or two. I hope she’ll get here today and then we’ll get busy at once. I think we shall build in these bushes here somewhere. I’m glad Farmer Brown has sense enough to let them grow. They are just the kind of a place I like for a nest. They are near enough to Farmer Brown’s garden, and the Old Orchard is right here.”

“Why do you want to be near Farmer Brown’s garden?” Peter asked.

“Because that is where I will get a good part of my living,” Kitty answered. “He ought to be glad to have me about. Once in awhile I take a little fruit, and then I pay for it ten times over by the number of bugs and worms I get in his garden and the Old Orchard. I pride myself on being useful. There’s nothing like being useful in this world, Peter.”

Peter nodded as if he quite agreed.


P.L.A.Y. in Place Projects


Try these activities to extend your bird story adventures:

  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  Northern Cardinal
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  Gray Catbird
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – BIRD ACADEMY – Catbird = An Expert Mimic (video)
  • Nature journal coloring pages at Cornell Common Feeder Birds FREE (page W55 Northern Cardinal).
  • Q/A –Questions with answers to keep this conversation going are available for both Northern (Grosbeak) Cardinal (p. 127) and Catbird (p. 95) in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock offered FREE online HERE.
  • Another option is to get a copy of Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book by Lisa Bonforte and some colored pencils to complete the drawings of a Northern Cardinal (p10) and a Gray Catbird (p11).

  • Also a copy of Audubon’s Birds of America Coloring Book by Paul E. Kennedy with a Cardinal on page 5.

FYI -These coloring books are an excellent companion for this bird story series.


Source: Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess

P.L.A.Y. has provided a new online version of all 45 chapters of this updated and annotated 100+ year old public domain classic to:

  • be suitable for the 21st century family by having the Thornton Burgess woodland characters evolve to model mindfulness and loving kindness
  • highlight and bring awareness to the New England nature settings and offer an opportunity to learn more about birds and other woodland animals through this story adventure
  • create story extension moments through P.L.A.Y. suggested activities and investigations for making new nature connections generated by the reader’s own curiosity
  • encourage families to keep their own nature notebooks for drawing, writing, painting, and recording their own local daily outdoor P.L.A.Y. adventures.

P.L.A.Y. Time – Pass it on!

Summer #32 – Nature Alliteration Adventure


Purchase Here – P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books


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A June treasure quest for you & your curious Capkin

is to search in nature for . . .

“A Few Florettes Found on the Forest Floor”

Bonus Seem like Seed Samples

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My curious Capkin & I found this treasure to match the description.

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What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Toad BOOK LOOK #4: Story Activities + The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated)

 


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book 

by Karen L. Willard

Join Peter Rabbit and friends on adventures discovering all about Old Mr. Toad and his days spent in and out of the water!

See sample story pages + purchase HERE

More Tadpoles + Toads in motion at PINTEREST HERE.


Karen’s P.L.A.Y.ful preview & P.L.A.Y.-filled activity  suggestions for The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated).


P.L.A.Y.ful preview (short):

Nature Noticing: Shiny Egg Strands, Tadpoles, and Toadlets!

P.L.A.Y.filled Potential & Possibilities

P.L.A.Y.-filled companion activity adventure suggestions (long):

  • Challenge: After reading this story take a walk in nature with your family and retell the story of how Old Mr. Toad changes his clothes. Can you spot some places where he might be hiding to do this? Or where he hides for his long winter’s “nap”? Your curious Capkin would like to know!
  • Super Challenge: After reading this story create your own new set of fun adventures for Old Mr. Toad and his friends from the places you have visited outdoors with your family. Adding “silly” to your stories is Super-Duper-Okey-Dokey as long as you base it on what you originally observed! The original author of The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad, Thornton Burgess, combined true nature happenings with a bit of funny as he wrote about his animal characters daily lives.

Share the smiles by emailing your new original silly stories of Old Mr. Toad’s adventures to Karen@passionatelearningallyear.com and perhaps you’ll see them posted on P.L.A.Y. to pass the fun forward (with your permission)!


Capkins LOVE to be read nature stories AND to P.L.A.Y. outdoors.

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These TOAD-ally awesome books are a highly recommended way to extend your P.L.A.Y. adventures.


Plain and simple A Hippy-Hoppy Toad by Peggy Archer & Anne Wilsdorf is a rhyming picture book just made for P.L.A.Y. with laughter built right in!


Naturally Curious Month-By-Month is another must have resource from Mary Holland with even more toads and oodles of other flora & fauna information!


Anna Botsford Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study is an excellent classic resource with content and questions covering all the flora & fauna in New England including: Tadpoles to Toad (p.170-177), Spring Peepers (p.177-180), and Frogs (p.180-187).


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