Bird BOOK LOOK – Chapter 39 – White-breasted Nuthatch + Brown Creeper


Missed Chapter 1? Begin HERE



CHAPTER 39 – Peter Discovers Two Old Friends


Rough Brother North Wind and Jack Frost were not far behind Honker the Goose. In a night Peter Rabbit’s world was transformed. It had become a new world, a world of pure white. The last among Peter’s feathered friends who spend the winter in the far away South had hurried away. Still Peter was not lonely. DeeDee’s cheery voice greeted Peter the very first thing that morning after the storm. DeeDee seemed to be in just as good spirits as ever he had been in summer.

Now Peter rather likes the snow. He likes to run about in it, and so he followed DeeDee up to the Old Orchard. He felt sure that he would find company there besides DeeDee, and he was not disappointed. Downy and Hairy the Woodpeckers were getting their breakfast from a piece of suet Farmer Brown’s boy had thoughtfully fastened in one of the apple trees for them. Sammy Jay was there also, and his blue coat never had looked better than it did against the pure white of the snow.

These were the only ones Peter really had expected to find in the Old Orchard, and so you can guess how pleased he was as he hopped over the old stone wall to hear the voice of one whom he had almost forgotten. It was the voice of Yank-Yank the Nuthatch, and there was something in it of good cheer and contentment. At once Peter hurried in the direction from which it came.


Winter’s magic has arrived in the Old Orchard, Green Meadow, and Green Forest turning everything a silent white.


On the trunk of an apple tree he caught sight of a gray and black and white bird about the size of Downy the Woodpecker. The top of his head and upper part of his back were shining black. The rest of his back was bluish-gray. The sides of his head and his breast were white. The outer feathers of his tail were black with white patches near their tips.

Peter didn’t need to see how Yank-Yank was dressed in order to recognize him. Peter would have known him if he had been so far away that the colors of his coat did not show at all. You see, Yank-Yank was doing a most surprising thing, something no other bird can do. He was walking head first down the trunk of that tree, picking tiny eggs of insects from the bark and seemingly quite as much at home and quite as unconcerned in that odd position as if he were right side up.

As Peter approached, Yank-Yank lifted his head and called a greeting which sounded very much like the repetition of his own name. Then he turned around and began to climb the tree as easily as he had come down it.

“Welcome home, Yank-Yank!” cried Peter, hurrying up quite out of breath.

Yank-Yank turned around so that he was once more head down, and his eyes twinkled as he looked down at Peter. “You’re mistaken Peter,” he said. “This isn’t home. I’ve simply come down here for the winter. You know home is where you raise your children, and my home is in the Great Woods farther north. There is too much ice and snow up there, so I have come down here to spend the winter.”

“Well anyway, it’s a kind of home; it’s your winter home,” replied Peter, “and I certainly am glad to see you back. The Old Orchard wouldn’t be quite the same without you. Did you have a pleasant summer? And if you please, Yank-Yank, tell me where you built your home and what it was like.”

“Yes, Mr. Curiosity, I had a very pleasant summer,” replied Yank-Yank. “Mrs. Nuthatch and I raised a family of six. As to our nest, it was made of leaves and feathers and it was in a hole in a certain old stump that not a soul knows of except for Mrs. Nuthatch and myself. Now is there anything else you would like to know?”


White-breasted Nuthatch by Louis Agassiz Fuertes


“Yes,” added Peter promptly. “I want to know how it is that you can walk head first down the trunk of a tree without losing your balance and tumbling off?”

Yank-Yank chuckled happily. “I discovered a long time ago, Peter,” he said, “that the people who get on best in this world are those who make the most of what they have and waste no time wishing they could have what other people have. I suppose you have noticed that all the Woodpecker family have stiff tail feathers and use them to brace themselves when they are climbing a tree. They have become so dependent on them that they don’t dare move about on the trunk of a tree without using them. If they want to come down a tree they have to back down.”

“Now Old Mother Nature didn’t give me stiff tail feathers, she gave me a very good pair of feet with three toes in front and one behind and when I was a very little fellow I learned to make the most of those feet. Each toe has a sharp claw. When I go up a tree the three front claws on each foot hook into the bark. When I come down a tree I simply twist one foot around so that I can use the claws of this foot to keep me from falling. It is just as easy for me to go down a tree as it is to go up, and I can go right around the trunk just as easily and comfortably.” Suiting action to the word, Yank-Yank ran around the trunk of the apple tree just above Peter’s head. When he reappeared Peter had another question ready.

“Do you live altogether on grubs and worms and insects and their eggs?” he asked.

“I should say not!” exclaimed Yank-Yank. “I like acorns and beechnuts and certain kinds of seeds.”

“I don’t see how such a little fellow as you can eat such hard things as acorns and beechnuts,” answered Peter a little doubtfully .


Who made these prints in the snow?


Yank-Yank laughed right out. “Sometime when I see you over in the Green Forest I’ll show you,” he said. “When I find a fat beechnut I take it to a little crack in a tree that will just hold it; then with this stout bill of mine I crack the shell. It really is quite easy when you know how. Cracking a nut open that way is sometimes called hatching, and that is how I come by the name of Nuthatch. Hello! There’s Seep-Seep. I haven’t seen him since we were together up North. His home was not far from mine.”

As Yank-Yank spoke, a little brown bird alighted at the very foot of the next tree. He was just a trifle bigger than Jenny Wren and yet not at all like Jenny, for while Jenny’s tail usually is cocked up in the sauciest way, Seep-Seep’s tail is never cocked up at all. In fact, it bends down, for Seep-Seep uses his tail just as the members of the Woodpecker family use theirs. He was dressed in grayish-brown above and grayish-white beneath. Across each wing was a little band of buffy-white, and his bill was curved just a little.

Seep-Seep didn’t stop an instant, rather he started up the trunk of that tree, going round and round it as he climbed, and picking out things to eat from under the bark. His way of climbing that tree was very like creeping, and Peter thought to himself that Seep-Seep was well named the Brown Creeper. He knew it was quite useless to try to get Seep-Seep to talk. He knew that Seep-Seep wouldn’t use his time that way as he had work to do.

Round and round up the trunk of the tree he went, and when he reached the top at once flew down to the bottom of the next tree and without a pause started up that. He wasted no time exploring the branches, and stuck to the trunk. Once in a while he would cry in a thin little voice, “Seep! Seep!”
without pausing to rest or look around. If he had felt that on him alone depended the job of getting all the insect eggs and grubs on those trees he could not have been more industrious.


Bird prints in the snow – feet and wings!


“Does he build his nest in a hole in a tree?” asked Peter of Yank-Yank. “No,” he replied. “He hunts for a tree or stub with a piece of loose bark hanging to it. In behind this he tucks his nest made of twigs, strips of bark and moss. He’s a funny little fellow and I don’t know of any one in all the great world who more strictly attends to his own business than does Seep-Seep the Brown Creeper. By the way, Peter, have you seen anything of Dotty the Tree Sparrow?”

“Not yet,” replied Peter, “I do think he must be here though. I’m glad you reminded me of him. I’ll go look for him.”


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 –  White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  Brown Creeper
  • Nature journal coloring pages at Cornell Common Feeder Birds FREE (page W47 White-breasted Nuthatch + W48 Brown Creeper).
  • Q/A –Questions with answers to keep this conversation going are available for White-breasted Nuthatch (p. 65-68) in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock offered FREE online HERE.
  • Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book by Lisa Bonforte offers pages for both the White-breasted Nuthatch AND Brown Creeper (7). Colored pencil use recommended.

*This coloring book is inexpensive, easy to find, and an excellent companion to 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.

Feathered Friend BONUS!


White-breasted Nuthatch

“When it comes to acrobatic performances in the trees the little bluish gray nuthatches have no rival. Indeed, any circus might be glad to secure their expert services. Hanging fearlessly from the topmost branches of the tallest pine, running along the under side of horizontal limbs as comfortably as along the top of them, or descending the trunk head foremost, these wonderful little gymnasts keep their nerves as cool as the thermometer in January. From the way they travel over any part of the tree they wish, from top and tip to the bottom of it, no wonder they are sometimes called Tree Mice. Only the fly that walks across the ceiling, however, can compete with them in clinging to the under side of boughs.

Why don’t they fall off? If you ever have a chance, examine their claws. These, you will see, are very much curved and have sharp little hooks that catch in any crack or rough place in the bark and easily support the bird’s weight. As a general rule the nuthatches can climb to more inaccessible places than other birds. With the help of the hooks on their toes it does not matter to them whether they run upward, downward, or sideways; and they can stretch their bodies away from their feet at some very odd angles. Their long bills penetrate into deep holes in the thick bark of the tree trunks and older limbs and bring forth from their hiding places insects that would escape almost every other bird except the brown creeper and the woodpecker.” ~Birds Every Child Should Know by Neltje Blanchan Copyright 1907


P.L.A.Y. + Pass it on!

Bird BOOK LOOK – Chapter 37 – Black-capped Chickadee


Missed Chapter 1? Begin HERE



 CHAPTER 37 – Farewells and Welcomes


All through the long summer Peter Rabbit watched his feathered friends and learned things in regard to their ways he never had suspected. As he saw them keeping the trees of the Old Orchard free of insect pests and working in Farmer Brown’s garden, and picking up the countless seeds of weeds everywhere, he began to understand something of the wonderful part these feathered folks have in keeping the Great World beautiful and in balance.

He had many a hearty laugh as he watched the bird babies learn to fly and to find their own food. All summer long they were going to school all about him, learning how to watch out for danger, to use their eyes and ears, and all the things a bird must know who would live to grow up.

As autumn drew near Peter discovered that his friends were gathering in flocks, roaming here and there. It was one of the first signs that summer was nearly over, and it gave him just a little feeling of sadness. He heard few songs now, for the singing season was over. Also he discovered that many of the most beautifully dressed of his feathered friends had changed their finery for traveling suits in preparation for the long journey to the far South where they would spend the winter. In fact he actually failed to recognize some of them at first.

September came, and as the days grew shorter, some of Peter’s friends bade him goodbye. They were starting on the long journey, planning to take it in easy stages for the most part. Each day saw some slip away. As Peter thought of the dangers of the long trip before them he wondered if he would ever see them again. Some who were there lingered even after Jack Frost’s first visit. Welcome and Mrs. Robin, Winsome and Mrs. Bluebird, Little Friend the Song Sparrow and his wife were among these. By and by even they were required to leave.

Sad indeed and lonely would these days have been for Peter had it not been that with the departure of the friends he had spent so many happy hours with came the arrival of certain other friends from the Far North where they had made their summer homes. Some of these stopped for a few days in passing. Others came to stay, and Peter was kept busy looking for and welcoming them.

There were a few old friends who would stay the year through. Sammy Jay, Downy and Hairy the Woodpeckers were a few amongst others. And there was one whom Peter loved dearly. It was DeeDee the Chickadee.


Blue sky highlighting a birch tree home similar to DeeDee the Chickadees.


Now DeeDee had not gone north in the spring. In fact, he had made his home not very far from the Old Orchard. It just happened that Peter hadn’t found that home, and had caught only one or two glimpses of DeeDee. Now, with household cares ended and his good size family properly started in life, DeeDee was no longer interested in the snug little home he had built in a hollow birch stub, and he and Mrs. Chickadee spent their time flitting about hither, thither, and yon, spreading good cheer. Every time Peter visited the Old Orchard he found him there, and as DeeDee was always ready for a bit of merry chatting, Peter soon had a winter friend to fill in for Jenny Wren’s spring and summer conversations.

“Don’t you dread the winter, DeeDee?” asked Peter one day, as he watched DeeDee clinging head down to a twig as he picked some tiny insect eggs from the under side.

“Not a bit,” replied DeeDee. “I like winter. I like cold weather. It makes a fellow feel good from the tips of his claws to the tip of his bill. I’m thankful I don’t have to take that long journey most of the birds have to. I discovered a secret a long time ago, Peter; shall I tell it to you?”

“Please do,” responded Peter. “You know how I love secrets.”

“Well,” replied DeeDee, “this is it: If a fellow keeps his stomach filled he will keep his toes warm.”

Peter looked a little puzzled. “I don’t just see what your stomach has to do with your toes,” he said.

DeeDee chuckled. It was a lovely throaty little chuckle. “Dee, dee, dee!” he said. “What I mean is, if a fellow has plenty to eat he will keep the cold out, and I’ve found that if a fellow uses his eyes and isn’t afraid of a little work, he can find plenty to eat. At least I can. The only time I ever get really worried is when the trees are covered with ice. If it were not that Farmer Brown’s boy is thoughtful enough to hang a piece of suet in a tree for me, I should dread those ice storms more than I do. As I said before, plenty of food keeps a fellow warm.”

“I thought it was your coat of feathers that kept you warm,” said Peter.

“Oh, the feathers help,” replied DeeDee. “Food makes heat and a warm coat keeps the heat in the body. And so the heat has got to be there first, or the feathers will do no good. It’s just the same way with your own self, Peter. You know you are never really warm in winter unless you have plenty to eat.”

“That is so,” replied Peter thoughtfully. “I never happened to think of it before. Just the same, I don’t see how you find food enough on the trees when they are all bare in winter.”

“Dee, Dee, Dee, Chickadee! Leave that matter just to me,” chuckled DeeDee. “You know that a lot of different kinds of bugs lay eggs on the twigs and trunks of trees. Those eggs would stay there all winter and in the spring hatch out into lice and worms if it were not for me. Why, sometimes in a single day I find and eat almost five hundred eggs of those little green plant lice that do so much damage in the spring and summer. Then there are little worms that bore in just under the bark, and there are other creatures who sleep the winter away in little cracks in the bark. Oh, there is plenty for me to do in the winter. I am one of the policemen of the trees. Downy and Hairy the Woodpeckers, Seep-Seep the Brown Creeper and Yank-Yank the Nuthatch are others. If we didn’t stay right here on the job all winter, I don’t know what would become of the Old Orchard.”


Black-capped Chickadee by Louis Agassiz Fuertes


DeeDee hung his head downward from a twig while he picked some tiny insect eggs from the under side of it. It didn’t seem to make the least difference to DeeDee whether he was right side up or upside down. He was a little animated bunch of black and white feathers, not much bigger than Jenny Wren. The top of his head, back of his neck and coat were shining black. The sides of his head and neck were white. His back was ashy. His sides were a soft cream-buff, and his wing and tail feathers were edged with white. His tiny bill was black, and his little black eyes snapped and twinkled in a way good to see. Not one among all Peter’s friends is such a merry hearted little fellow as DeeDee the Chickadee. Merriment and happiness bubble out of him all the time, no matter what the weather is.

“I’ve noticed,” said Peter, “that birds who do not sing at any other time of year sing in the spring. Do you have a spring song, DeeDee?”

“Well, I don’t know as you would call it a song, Peter,” chuckled Tommy. “No, I hardly think you would call it a song. I do have a little love call which goes like this: Phoe-be! Phoe-be!”

It was the softest, sweetest little whistle, and DeeDee had rightly called it a love call. “Why, I’ve often heard that in the spring and didn’t know it was your voice at all,” cried Peter. “You say Phoebe plainer than does the bird who is named Phoebe, and it is ever so much softer and sweeter. I guess that is because you whistle it.”

“I guess you guess right,” replied DeeDee. “Now I can’t stop to talk any longer. These trees need my attention. I want Farmer Brown’s boy to feel that I have earned that suet I am sure he will put out for me as soon as the snow and ice come. I’m not the least bit afraid of Farmer Brown’s boy. I had just as soon take food from his hand as from anywhere else. He knows I like chopped nuts, and last winter I used to feed from his hand every day.”


Autumn has arrived and the woodland creatures know it is time to prepare for the cold winter ahead.


Peter’s eyes opened very wide with surprise. “Do you mean to say,” he said, “that you and Farmer Brown’s boy are such friends that you dare sit on his hand?”

DeeDee nodded his little black-capped head vigorously. “Certainly,” said DeeDee. “Why not? What’s the good of having friends if you can’t trust them? The more you trust them the better friends they’ll be.”

“Just the same, I don’t see how you dare to do it,” Peter replied. “I know Farmer Brown’s boy is the friend of all the little people, and I’m not much afraid of him myself, however just the same I wouldn’t dare go near enough for him to touch me.”

“Pooh!” retorted DeeDee. “That’s no way of showing true friendship. You’ve no idea, Peter, what a comfortable feeling it is to know that you can trust a friend, and I feel that Farmer Brown’s boy is one of the best friends I’ve got.”


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 –  Black-capped Chickadee
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – PROJECT FEEDER WATCH –  Chickadee ID
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – NEST WATCH – Build a Chickadee Birdhouse
  • Nature journal coloring pages at Cornell Common Feeder Birds FREE (page W41 Black-capped Chickadee).
  • Q/A –Questions with answers to keep this conversation going are available for Chickadee (p. 68-70) in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock offered FREE online HERE.
  • Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book by Lisa Bonforte offers a page for the Black-capped Chickadee (3). Colored pencil use recommended.

*This is an inexpensive, easy to find, and excellent companion to 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.

Feathered Friend BONUS!


Black-capped Chickadee

“Bitterly cold and dreary though the day may be, that “little scrap of valour,” the Chickadee, keeps his spirits high until ours cannot but be cheered by the oft-repeated, clear, tinkling silvery notes that spell his name. Chicka-dee-dee: chicka-dee-dee: he introduces himself. How easy it would be for every child to know the birds if all would but sing out their names so clearly! Oh, don’t you wish they would?

None will respond more promptly to your whistle in imitation of his three very high, clear call notes, and come nearer and nearer to make quite sure you are only a harmless mimic than the Chickadee. He is very inquisitive. Although not a bird may be in sight when you first whistle his call, nine chances out of ten there will be a faint echo from some far distant throat before very long; and by repeating the notes at short intervals you will have, probably, not one but several echoes from as many different chickadees whose curiosity to see you soon gets the better of their appetites and brings them flying, by easy stages, to the tree above your head. Where there is one chickadee there are apt to be more in the neighborhood; for these sociable, active, cheerful little black-capped fellows in gray like to hunt for their living in loose scattered flocks throughout the fall and winter. When they come near enough, notice the pale rusty wash on the sides of their under parts which are more truly dirty white than gray.

Blessed with a thick coat of fat under his soft, fluffy gray feathers, a hardy constitution and a sunny disposition, what terrors has the winter for him? When the thermometer goes down, his spirits seem to go up the higher. Dangling like a circus acrobat on the cone of some tall pine tree; standing on an outstretched twig, then turning over and hanging with his black-capped head downward from the high trapeze; carefully inspecting the rough bark on the twigs for a fat grub or a nest of insect eggs, he is constantly hunting for food and singing grace between bites.” ~ Birds Every Child Should Know by Neltje Blanchan Copyright 1907


P.L.A.Y. + Pass it on!

Bird BOOK LOOK – Chapter 31 – Wood Thrush + Veery


Missed Chapter 1? Begin HERE



Chapter 31 – Voices of the Dusk


Jolly, round, red Mr. Sun was just going to bed behind the Purple Hills and the Dark Shadows had begun to creep all through the Green Forest and out across the Green Meadows. It was the hour of the day Peter Rabbit loves best. He sat on the edge of the Green Forest watching for the first little star to twinkle high up in the sky. Peter felt at peace with all the Great World, for it was the hour of peace, the hour of rest for those who had been busy all through the shining day.

Most of Peter’s feathered friends had settled themselves for the coming night, the worries and cares of the day over and forgotten. All the Great World seemed hushed. In the distance Sweetvoice the Vesper Sparrow was pouring out his evening song, for it was the hour when he dearly loves to sing. Far back in the Green Forest Whip-poor-will was calling as if his very life depended on the number of times he could say, “Whip-poor-Will,” without taking a breath. From overhead came now and then the sharp cry of Boomer the Nighthawk, as he hunted his supper in the air.


Jolly Mr. Sun going to bed behind the Purple Hills.


For a time it seemed as if these were the only feathered friends still awake, and Peter couldn’t help thinking that those who went so early to bed missed the most beautiful hour of the whole day. Then, from a tree just back of him, there poured forth a song so clear, so sweet, so wonderfully suited to that peaceful hour, that Peter held his breath until it was finished. He knew that singer and loved him. It was Melody the Wood Thrush.

When the song ended Peter hopped over to the tree from which it had come. It was still light enough for him to see the sweet singer. He sat on a branch near the top, his head thrown back and his soft, full throat throbbing with the flute like notes he was pouring forth. He was a little smaller than Welcome Robin. His coat was a beautiful reddish-brown, not quite so bright as that of Brownie the Thrasher. Beneath he was white with large, black spots thickly dotting his breast and sides. He was singing as if he were trying to put into those beautiful notes all the joy of life. Listening to it Peter felt a wonderful feeling of peace and pure happiness. Not for the world would he have interrupted it.

The Dark Shadows crept far across the Green Meadows and it became so dusky in the Green Forest that Peter could barely make out the sweet singer above his head. Still Melody sang on and the hush of eventide grew deeper, as if all the Great World were holding its breath to listen. It was not until several little stars had begun to twinkle high up in the sky that Melody stopped singing and sought the safety of his hidden perch for the night. Peter felt sure that somewhere near was a nest and that one thing which had made that song so beautiful was the love Melody had been trying to express to the little mate sitting on the eggs that nest must contain. “I’ll just run back over here early in the morning,” thought Peter.


Wood Thrush by Louis Agassiz Fuertes


Now Peter is a great hand to stay out all night, and that is just what he did that night. Just before it was time for jolly, round, red Mr. Sun to kick off his rosy blankets and begin his daily climb up in the blue, blue sky, Peter started for home in the dear Old Briar-patch. Everywhere in the Green Forest, in the Old Orchard, on the Green Meadows, his feathered friends were awakening. He had quite forgotten his intention to visit Melody and was reminded of it only when again he heard those beautiful flute like notes. At once he scampered over to where he had spent such a peaceful hour the evening before. Melody saw him at once and dropped down on the ground for a little chat while he scratched among the leaves in search of his breakfast.

“I just love to hear you sing, Melody,” Peter said rather breathlessly. “I don’t know of any other song that makes me feel quite as yours does, so perfectly contented and free of care and worry.”

“Thank you,” replied Melody. “I’m glad you like to hear me sing for there is nothing I like to do better. It is the one way in which I can express my feelings. I love all the Great World and I just have to tell it so. I do not mean to boast when I say that all the Thrush family have good voices.”

“You have the best of all,” declared Peter.

Melody shook his brown head. “I wouldn’t say that,” he said modestly. “I think the song of my cousin Hermit, is even more beautiful than mine. And then there is my other cousin, Veery. His song is wonderful, I think.”

Just then Peter’s curiosity was greater than his interest in songs. “Have you built your nest yet?” he asked.

Melody nodded. “It is in a little tree not far from here,” he said, “and Mrs. Wood Thrush is sitting on five eggs this very minute. Isn’t that perfectly lovely?”

It was Peter’s turn to nod. “What is your nest built of?” he inquired.


Wood Thrushes feed on bugs including flies.


“Rootlets, tiny twigs, weed stalks, leaves, and mud,” replied Melody.

“Mud!” exclaimed Peter. “Why, that’s what Welcome Robin uses in his nest.”

“Well, Welcome Robin is my own cousin, so there isn’t anything so surprising in that,” replied Melody.

“Oh,” said Peter. “I had forgotten that he is a member of the Thrush family.”

“Yes, even if he is dressed quite differently from the rest of us,” replied Melody.

“You mentioned your cousin, Hermit. I don’t believe I know him,” said Peter.

“Then it’s high time you got acquainted with him,” answered Melody. “He is rather fond of being by himself and that is why he is called the Hermit Thrush. He is smaller than I and his coat is not such a bright brown. His tail is brighter than his coat. He has a waistcoat spotted very much like mine. Some folks consider him the most beautiful singer of the Thrush family. I’m glad you like my song, however you must hear Hermit sing. I really think there is no song so beautiful in all the Green Forest.”

“Does he build a nest like yours?” asked Peter.

“No,” replied Melody. “He builds his nest on the ground, and he doesn’t use any mud. Now if you’ll excuse me, Peter, I must get my breakfast and give Mrs. Wood Thrush a chance to get hers.”


A laughing brook in spring winding its way along the edge of the Green Forest.


So Peter continued on his way to the dear Old Briar-patch and there he spent the day. As evening approached he decided to go back to hear Melody sing again. Just as he drew near the Green Forest he heard from the direction of the Laughing Brook a song that caused him to change his mind and sent him hurrying in that direction. It was a very different song from that of Melody the Wood Thrush, yet, if he had never heard it before, Peter would have known that such a song could come from no throat except that of a member of the Thrush family. As he drew near the Laughing Brook the beautiful notes seemed to ring through the Green Forest like a bell.

As Melody’s song had filled Peter with a feeling of peace, so this song stirred in him a feeling of the wonderful mystery of life. There was in it the very spirit of the Green Forest.

It didn’t take Peter long to find the singer. It was a forest thrush named Veery.

At the sound of the patter of Peter’s feet the song stopped abruptly and he was greeted with a whistled “Wheeu! wheeu!” Then, seeing that it was no one of whom he need be afraid, Veery came out from under some ferns to greet Peter. He was smaller than Melody the Wood Thrush, being about one-fourth smaller than Welcome Robin. He wore a brown coat but it was not as bright as that of his cousin, Melody. His breast was somewhat faintly spotted with brown, and below he was white. His sides were grayish-white and not spotted like the sides of Melody.

“I heard you singing and I just had to come over to see you,” offered Peter.

“I hope you like my song,” said Veery. “I love to sing just at this hour and I love to think that other people like to hear me.”

“They do,” declared Peter most emphatically. “I can’t imagine how anybody could fail to like to hear you. I came way over here just to sit a while and listen. Won’t you sing some more for me, Veery?”


Peter Rabbit finds purple clover to be a sweet treat (and this one has a bonus bee! )


“I certainly will, Peter,” replied Veery. “I wouldn’t feel that I was going to bed right if I didn’t sing until dark. There is no part of the day I love better than the evening, and the only way I can express my happiness and my love of the Green Forest and the joy of just being back here at home is by singing.”

Veery slipped out of sight, and almost at once his bell like notes began to ring through the Green Forest. Peter sat right where he was, content to just listen and feel within himself the joy of being alive and happy in the beautiful spring season which Veery was expressing so wonderfully. The Dark Shadows grew blacker. One by one the little stars came out and twinkled down through the tree tops. Finally from deep in the Green Forest sounded the hunting call of Hooty the Owl. Veery’s song stopped. “Goodnight, Peter,” he called softly.

“Goodnight, Veery,” replied Peter and hopped back towards the Green Meadows for a feast of sweet clover.


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 –  Wood Thrush
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  Veery
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS – Bird ID: Songs and Calls
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS – All About Feathers
  • Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book by Lisa Bonforte offers a page for the Wood Thrush (36). Colored pencil use recommended.

*This coloring book is inexpensive, easy to find, and an excellent companion to 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.

Feathered Friend BONUS!


Wood Thrush

Here am I come the Wood Thrush’s three clear, bell-like notes of self-introduction. The quality of his music is delicious, rich, penetrative, pure and vibrating like notes struck upon a harp. If you don’t already know this most neighborly of the thrushes—as he is also the largest and brightest and most heavily spotted of them all—you will presently become acquainted with one of the finest songsters in America. Wait until evening when he sings at his best. Nolee-a-e-o-lee-nolee-aeolee-lee! peals his song from the trees.

Wood thrushes seem to delight in weaving bits of paper or rags into their deep cradles which otherwise resemble the robins.’ A nest in the shrubbery near a bird-lover’s home in New Jersey had many bits of newspaper attached to its outer walls, the most conspicuous strip in front advertised in large letters “A House to be Let or Sold.” The original builders happily took the next lease, and another lot of nervous, fidgety baby tenants came out of four light greenish-blue eggs; and as usual, they moved away to the woods, after ten days, to join the choir invisible.” ~ Birds Every Child Should Know by Neltje Blanchan Copyright 1907


P.L.A.Y. + Pass it on!

Bird BOOK LOOK – Chapter 5 – Robin + Bluebird


Missed Chapter 1? Begin HERE



Chapter 5 – Peter Learns Something He Hadn’t Guessed


Running over to the Old Orchard very early in the morning for a little chat with Jenny Wren and his other friends there had become a regular thing with Peter Rabbit. He was learning a great many things, and some of them were most surprising.

Two of Peter’s oldest and best friends in the Old Orchard were Winsome Bluebird and Welcome Robin. Every spring they arrived pretty nearly together, though Winsome Bluebird usually was a few days ahead of Welcome Robin. This year Winsome had arrived while the snow still lingered in patches. He was, as he always is, the herald of sweet Mistress Spring. And when Peter had heard for the first time Winsome’s soft, sweet whistle, which seemed to come from nowhere in particular and from everywhere in general, he had kicked up his long hind legs from pure joy. Then, when a few days later he had heard Welcome Robin’s joyous message of “Cheer-up! Cheer-up! Cheer-up! Cheer-up! Cheer!” from the tiptop of a tall tree, he had known that Mistress Spring really had arrived.

Peter loves Winsome Bluebird and Welcome Robin and he had known them so long and so well that he thought he knew all there was to know about them.

“Those cousins don’t look much alike, do they?” remarked Jenny Wren, as
she poked her head out of her house to chat with Peter.

“What cousins?” asked Peter, staring very hard in the direction in which Jenny Wren was looking.

“Those two sitting on the fence over there,” replied Jenny with a nod of her head.

Peter stared harder than ever. On one post sat Winsome Bluebird, and on another post sat Welcome Robin. “I don’t see anybody save Winsome and Welcome, and they are not even related,” replied Peter with a little puzzled frown.


Bluebird by Louis Agassiz Fuertes


“Tut, tut, tut!” exclaimed Jenny Wren. “They most certainly are related. They are cousins. They belong to the same family that Melody the Thrush and all the other Thrushes belong to. That makes them all cousins.”

“Really, are you sure?” inquired Peter, looking as if he didn’t believe a word of what Jenny Wren had said. Jenny repeated, and still Peter looked doubtful.

“Well, you could go ask one of them yourself,” Jenny said, and disappeared inside her house.

The more he thought of it, the more this struck Peter as good advice. So he hopped over to the foot of the fence post on which Winsome Bluebird was sitting. “Jenny Wren says that you and Welcome Robin are cousins. Are you really?” asked Peter.

Winsome chuckled. It was a soft, gentle chuckle. “Yes,” said he, nodding his head, “we are. Welcome and I may not look much alike, however we are cousins just the same. Don’t you think Welcome is looking unusually fine this spring?”

“Not a bit finer than you are yourself, Winsome,” replied Peter politely. “I just love that sky-blue coat of yours. What is the reason that Mrs. Bluebird doesn’t wear as bright a coat as you do?”

“Go ask Jenny Wren,” chuckled Winsome Bluebird, and before Peter could say another word he flew over to the roof of Farmer Brown’s house.

Back scampered Peter to tell Jenny Wren that he was sorry he had doubted her.

Then he pleaded with Jenny to tell him why it was that Mrs. Bluebird was not as brightly dressed as was Winsome.

“Mrs. Bluebird, like most mothers, is altogether too busy to spend much time taking care of her clothes; and fine clothes need a lot of care,” replied Jenny. “Besides, when Winsome is about he attracts all the attention and that gives her a chance to slip in and out of her nest without being noticed. Peter Rabbit, do you know where Winsome’s nest is?”

Peter had to admit that he did not know, although he had tried his best to find out by watching Winsome. “I think it’s over in that little house put up by Farmer Brown’s boy,” he ventured. “I saw both Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird go in it when they first came, and I’ve seen Winsome around it a great deal since, so I guess it is there.”

“Well, as a matter of fact, it is in one of those old fence posts,” said Jenny Wren. “Which one however I am not going to tell you. I will leave that for you to find out. Mrs. Bluebird certainly shows good sense and knows a good house when she sees it. The hole in that post is one of the best holes anywhere around here. It has stout walls and a doorway just big enough to get in and out of comfortably. If I had arrived here early enough I would have taken it myself. However, Mrs. Bluebird already had her nest built in it and four eggs there, so there was nothing for me to do but come over here.”

Peter nodded quite as if he understood all about the advantages of a house with walls. “That reminds me,” said he. “The other day I saw Welcome Robin getting mud and carrying it away. Pretty soon he was joined by Mrs. Robin, and she did the same thing. They kept it up till I got tired of watching them.”

“Jenny, what were they doing with that mud?” asked Peter.

“They are building their nest,” said Jenny. How they build the kind of a home they do is more than I can understand. Mr. Wren and I build our nest with just sticks and clean straws. And before I lay my eggs I see to it that my nest is lined with feathers.”

“Welcome Robin and Mrs. Robin make the foundation of their nest of mud, simply plain, common, ordinary mud. They cover this with dead grass, and sometimes there is mighty little of this over the inside walls of mud. I know because I’ve seen the inside of their nest often. More than once I’ve known them to have their nest washed away in a heavy rain, or have it blown down in a high wind. Nothing like that ever happens to Winsome Bluebird or to me.”

 


Robin by Louis Agassiz Fuertes


Jenny disappeared inside her house, and Peter waited for her to come out again. Welcome Robin, with his black head, beautiful russet breast, black and white throat and yellow bill, flew down on the ground, ran a few steps, and then stood still with his head on one side as if listening. Then he reached down and tugged at something, and presently out of the ground came a long, wriggling angleworm. Welcome gulped it down and ran on a few steps, then once more paused to listen. This time he turned and ran three or four steps to the right, where he pulled another worm out of the ground.

“He acts as if he heard those worms in the ground,” said Peter, speaking aloud without thinking.

“He does,” said Jenny Wren, poking her head out of her doorway just as Peter spoke. “How do you suppose he would find them when they are in the ground if he didn’t hear them?”

“Can you hear them?” asked Peter.

“I’ve never tried and I don’t intend to,” replied Jenny. “Welcome Robin may enjoy eating them, however for my part I want something smaller and daintier, like young grasshoppers, tender young beetles, small caterpillars, bugs and spiders.”

Peter had to turn his head aside to hide the wry face he just had to make at the mention of such things as food. “Is that all Welcome Robin eats?” he asked innocently.

“I should say not,” laughed Jenny. “He eats a lot of other kinds of worms, and he just dearly loves fruit like strawberries and cherries and all sorts of small berries. And by the way, I must mention, Welcome is a fine singer too.”

Peter nodded.

“Well, I can’t stop here talking any longer,” said Jenny. “However, I will tell you a secret before I go, Peter, if you’ll promise not to tell.”

Of course Peter promised, and Jenny leaned so far down that Peter wondered how she could keep from falling as she whispered, “I’ve got seven eggs in my nest, so if you don’t see much of me for the next week or more, you’ll know why. I’ve just got to sit on those eggs and keep them warm.”


Wiggle Worm aka bird food and soil sifters

Visit P.L.A.Y. Pinterest BIRD Board to see the Wiggle Worm in action HERE!


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 –  American Robin
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  Eastern Bluebird
  • Nature journal coloring pages at Cornell Common Feeder Birds FREE American Robin page W51.
  • Q/A –Does the Robin begin to sing as soon as it comes North? At what time of day does the Robin sing? Is it likely to sing before a rain? How many songs does it sing?
  • Q/A – Does a Robin run or walk or hop? Does the Robin really hear earthworms?
  • Q/A – Can you describe the Bluebirds song? Does it sing all summer? Where do Bluebirds spend the winter?
  • Some of these questions have been inspired by or quoted from the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. More about the Robin and Bluebird on pages 57-65 of this classic offered FREE online HERE.

  • Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book by Lisa Bonforte offers pages for both the Robin (36) and the Bluebird (4). Colored pencil use recommended

  • Audubon’s Birds of America Coloring Book by Paul E. Kennedy also offers pages for both the Eastern Bluebird (3) and an American Robin (33). Colored pencil use recommended.

*Both of these coloring books are inexpensive, easy to find, and excellent companions to this bird story series.


Source for Chapter 5: 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

Feathered Friend BONUS!


American Robin

“When our American Robin comes out of the turquoise blue egg that his devoted mother has warmed into life, he usually finds three or four baby brothers and sisters huddled within the grassy cradle. In April, both parents worked hard to prepare this home for them. Having brought coarse grasses, roots, and a few leaves or weed stalks for the foundation, and pellets of mud in their bills for the inner walls (which they cleverly managed to smooth into a bowl shape without a mason’s trowel), and fine grasses for the lining of the nest, they saddled it on to the limb of an old apple tree. Robins prefer low-branching orchard or shade trees near our homes to the tall, straight shafts of the forest. Some have the courage to build among the vines or under the shelter of our piazzas. I know a pair of robins that reared a brood in a little clipped bay tree in a tub next to a front door, where people passed in and out continually.

And suppose your appetite were so large that you were compelled to eat more than your weight of food every day, and suppose you had three or four brothers and sisters, just your own size, and just as ravenously hungry. These are the conditions in every normal robin family, so you can easily imagine how hard the father and mother birds must work to keep their fledglings’ crops filled. No wonder robins like to live near our homes where the enriched land contains many fat grubs, and the smooth lawns, that they run across so lightly, make hunting for earth worms comparatively easy. It is estimated that about fourteen feet of worms (if placed end to end) are drawn out of the ground daily by a pair of robins with a nest full of babies to feed.” ~Birds Every Child Should Know by Neltje Blanchan Copyright 1907

Bluebirds

“Young bluebirds are far less wild and noisy than robins, however their very sharp little claws discourage handling. These pointed hooks on the ends of their toes help them to climb out of the tree hollow, that is their natural home, into the big world that their presence makes so cheerful.

Bluebirds hunt for a cavity in a fence rail, or a hole in some old tree, preferably in the orchard, shortly after their arrival, and proceed to line it with grass. From three to six pale blue eggs are laid. At first the babies are blind, helpless, and almost naked. Then they grow a suit of dark feathers with speckled, thrush-like vests similar to their cousin’s, the baby robin’s; and it is not until they are able to fly that the lovely deep blue shade gradually appears on their grayish upper parts. Then their throat, breast, and sides turn rusty red. While creatures are helpless, a prey for any enemy to pounce upon, Nature does not dress them conspicuously, you may be sure. Adult birds, that are able to look out for themselves, may be very gaily dressed, however their children must wear somber clothes until they grow strong and wise.” ~Birds Every Child Should Know by Neltje Blanchan Copyright 1907


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Bird BOOK LOOK – Chapter 1 – House Wren



Chapter 1 – Jenny Wren Arrives

Lipperty-lipperty-lip scampered Peter Rabbit behind the tumble-down stone wall along one side of the Old Orchard. It was early in the morning, very early in the morning. In fact, jolly, bright Mr. Sun had hardly begun his daily climb up in the blue, blue sky. It was nothing unusual for Peter to see jolly Mr. Sun get up in the morning. It would be more unusual for Peter not to see him, for you know Peter is a great hand to stay out all night and not go back to the dear Old Briar-patch, where his home is, until the hour when most folks are just getting out of bed.

Peter had been out all night this time, however he wasn’t sleepy, not the least teeny, weeny bit. You see, sweet Mistress Spring had arrived, and there was so much happening on every side, and Peter was so afraid he would miss something, that he wouldn’t have slept at all if he could have helped it. Peter had come over to the Old Orchard so early this morning to see if there had been any new arrivals the day before.

“Birds are funny creatures,” said Peter, as he hopped over a low place in the old stone wall and was fairly in the Old Orchard.

“Tut, tut, tut!” said a voice. “Tut, tut, tut! They are not funny creatures at all. They are the most sensible folks in all the wide world.”

Peter cut a long hop short right in the middle, to sit up with shining eyes. “Oh, Jenny Wren, I’m so glad to see you! When did you arrive?” he cried.

“Mr. Wren and I have just arrived, and thank goodness we are here at
last,” replied Jenny Wren, fussing about, as only she can, in a branch above
Peter.


Mr. Sun beginning his climb into the blue, blue sky in the Spring.


“I never was more thankful in my life to see a place than I am right this minute to see the Old Orchard once more. It seems ages and ages since we left it.”

“Well, if you are so fond of it why did you leave?” asked Peter. “It is just as I said before – you birds are funny creatures. So many of you do not stay put. Sammy Jay and DeeDee the Chickadee and Drummer the Woodpecker and a few others do not go off on long journeys. And yet the rest of you do,” declared Peter.

“Tut, tut, tut!” interrupted Jenny Wren. “You don’t know what you are talking about.”

“Well if you are as fond of the Old Orchard as you claim to be, why did you ever leave it?” asked Peter again.

Jenny Wren’s eyes brightened. “Well, why do you eat?” she asked.

“Because I’m hungry,” replied Peter promptly.

“What would you eat if there were nothing to eat?” responded Jenny.

“I don’t know how to answer that question,” said Peter.

“Well we birds can’t live without eating any more than you can,” replied Jenny, “and in winter there is no food at all here for most of us, so we go where there is food. Those who are lucky enough to eat the kinds of food that can be found here in winter stay here. They are lucky. That’s what they are–lucky. Still–” Jenny Wren paused.

“Still what?” prompted Peter.


House Wren by Louis Agassiz Fuertes


“I wonder sometimes if you folks who are at home all the time know just what a blessed place home is,” replied Jenny. “It is only six months since we went south and it seems ages. The best part of going away is coming home. I don’t care if that does sound rather mixed; it is true just the same. It isn’t home down there in the sunny South, even if we do spend as much time there as we do here. This is home, and there’s no place like it! What’s that, Mr. Wren? I haven’t seen all the Great World? Perhaps I haven’t, however I’ve seen enough of it, let me tell you that! Anyone who travels a thousand miles twice a year as we do has a right to express an opinion, especially if they have used their eyes as I have mine. There is no place like home, and my dear, I know you; you are just as tickled to be back here as I am.”

“He sings as if he were,” said Peter, for all the time Mr. Wren was singing with all his might.

Jenny Wren looked over at Mr. Wren fondly. “Isn’t he a dear to sing to me like that? And isn’t it a perfectly beautiful spring song?” said she. Then, without waiting for Peter to reply, she continued on. “I do wish he would be careful. Sometimes I am afraid he will overdo. Just look at him now! He is singing so hard that he is shaking all over” said Jenny. “He always is that way. There is one thing true about us Wrens, and this is that when we do things we do them with all our might. When we work we work with all our might. When Mr. Wren sings he sings with all his might.”

“Did you have a pleasant journey up from the sunny South?” asked Peter.

“Fairly pleasant,” replied Jenny. “We took it rather easily. Some birds hurry right through without stopping, however I should think they would be tired to death when they arrive. We rest whenever we are tired, and just follow along behind Mistress Spring, keeping far enough behind so that if she has to turn back we will not get caught by Jack Frost. It gives us time to get our new suits on the way. How do you like my new suit, Peter?” Jenny bobbed and twisted and turned to show Peter.

“Very much,” replied Peter. “I am very fond of brown. Brown and gray are my favorite colors.” Peter’s own coat is also brown and gray.

“The more I see of bright colors the better I like brown,” said Jenny. “It goes well with almost everything. It is neat and it is useful. If there is need of getting out of sight in a hurry you can do it if you wear brown. However, if you wear bright colors it isn’t so easy. I never envy anybody who happens to have brighter clothes than mine. I’ve seen dreadful things happen all because of wearing bright colors.”

“What things?” asked Peter.

“I’d rather not talk about them,” declared Jenny in a very emphatic way.

“Way down where we spent the winter some of the feathered folks who live there all the year round wear the brightest and most beautiful suits I’ve ever seen. They are simply gorgeous. I’ve also noticed that in times of danger these are the folks dreadful things happen to. You see they simply can’t get out of sight. For my part I would far rather be simply and neatly dressed and feel safe than to wear wonderful clothes and never know a minute’s peace. Why, there are some families I know of which, because of their beautiful suits, have been so hunted by men that hardly any are left. Oh my gracious, Peter Rabbit, I can’t sit here all day talking to you! I must find out who else has arrived in the Old Orchard and must look my old house over to see if it is fit to live in.”


Blossoms in an Old Orchard Apple Tree


P.L.A.Y. in Place Projects


Try these fun activities to extend your bird story adventures:

  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS – HOUSE WREN
  • Visit Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  BIRD MIGRATION
  • Try sketching your own version of Jenny Wren, the Old Orchard, or Mr. Sun appearing in the blue, blue sky. Create a nature journal with a collection of your drawings. Write what you think may happen next to Jenny Wren or who Peter Rabbit may encounter next in the story.
  • Research and map the migration flight plan that Jenny Wren may have taken from down south up to New England. Trace it on a globe or in an atlas with your finger or print off a blank USA map and label the states and draw Jenny + Mr. Wren in flight!
  • Another option is to get a copy of Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book by Lisa Bonforte and color the House Wren on page 24 (colored pencils recommended).

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.

Feathered Friend BONUS!


House Wren

“If you want some jolly little neighbors for the summer, invite the wrens to live near you year after year by putting up small, one family box houses under the eaves of the barn, the cow shed, or the chicken house, on the grape arbor or in the orchard. Beware of a pair of nesting wrens in a box nailed against a piazza post: they beat any alarm clock for arousing the family at sunrise.

When you are sound asleep some April morning, a tiny brown bird, just returned from a long visit south of the Carolinas, will probably alight on the perch in front of one of your boxes, peep in the doorhole, enter—although his pert little cocked-up-tail has to be lowered to let him through—look about with approval, go out, spring to the roof and pour out of his wee throat a gushing torrent of music. The song seems to bubble up faster than he can sing. After the wren’s happy discovery of a place to live, his song will go off in a series of musical explosions all day long, now from the roof, now from the clothes posts, the fence, the barn, or the wood pile. There never was a more tireless, spirited, brilliant singer.” ~Birds Every Child Should Know by Neltje Blanchan Copyright 1907


P.L.A.Y. + Pass it on!