Bird BOOK LOOK – Chapter 35 – Loggerhead Shrike + Hummingbird


Missed Chapter 1? Begin HERE



CHAPTER 35 – A Butcher and a Hummer


Not far from the Old Orchard grew a thorn tree which Peter Rabbit often passed. He never had paid particular attention to it. One morning he stopped to rest under it. Happening to look up, he saw a most astonishing thing. Fastened on the sharp thorns of one of the branches were three big grasshoppers, a big moth, two big caterpillars, a lizard, a small mouse and a young House Sparrow. Peter thought he must be seeing things. He couldn’t imagine how those creatures could have become fastened on those long sharp thorns. Somehow it gave him an uncomfortable feeling and he hurried on to the Old Orchard, to tell someone of the strange thing he had seen in the thorn tree.

As he entered the Old Orchard in the far corner he saw Johnny Chuck sitting on his doorstep and hurried over to tell him the strange news. Johnny listened until Peter was through, then told him quite frankly that never had he heard of such a thing.

Meanwhile, Skimmer the Swallow lived in a hole in a tree just above the entrance to Johnny Chuck’s house. He had been sitting where he could hear all that Peter had said.

“Skimmer could you explain this?” asked Johnny Chuck.

“Actually,” replied Skimmer, “Peter just happened to find the storehouse of Butcher the Loggerhead Shrike. It is a very unpleasant sight, however one must give Butcher credit for being smart enough to lay up a store of food when it is plentiful.”

“And who is Butcher the Shrike?” inquired Peter. “He’s a new one to me.”


Loggerhead Shrike by Louis Agassiz Fuertes


“He’s new to this location,” replied Skimmer, “and you probably haven’t noticed him. I’ve seen him in the South often. There he is now, on the tip top of that tree over yonder.”

Peter and Johnny looked eagerly. They saw a bird who at first glance appeared not unlike Mocker the Mockingbird. He was dressed all in black, gray and white. When he turned his head they noticed a black stripe across the side of his face and that the tip of his bill was hooked. These are enough to make them forget that otherwise he was like Mocker. While they were watching him he flew down into the grass and picked up a grasshopper. Then he flew with a steady, even flight, only a little above the ground, for some distance, suddenly shooting up and returning to the perch where they had first seen him. There he ate the grasshopper and resumed his watch for something else to catch.

“He certainly has keen eyes,” said Skimmer admiringly. “He must have seen that grasshopper way over there in the grass before he started after it, for he flew straight there. He doesn’t waste time and energy hunting aimlessly. He sits on a high perch and watches until he sees something he wants. Many times I’ve seen him sitting on top of a telephone pole. I understand that Billy the House Sparrow has become terribly nervous since the arrival of Butcher. He is particularly fond
of House Sparrows. I presume it was one of Billy’s children you saw in the thorn tree, Peter. I hope he’ll frighten Billy into leaving the Old Orchard as it would be a good thing for the rest of us.”

“I still don’t understand yet why he fastens his food on those long thorns,” said Peter.

“For two reasons,” replied Skimmer. “When he catches more grasshoppers and other insects than he can eat, he sticks them on those thorns so that later he may be sure of a good meal especially if it happens there are no more to be caught when he is hungry. Mice, sparrows, and things too big for him to swallow he sticks on the thorns so that he can pull them to pieces easier. You see his feet and claws are not big and stout enough to hold his food while he tears them to pieces with his hooked bill. Sometimes, instead of sticking them on thorns, he sticks them on the barbed wire of a fence and sometimes he wedges them into the fork of two branches.”

“Does he eat many birds?” asked Peter.

“Not many,” replied Skimmer, “and most of those he does eat are House Sparrows. The rest of us have learned to keep out of his way. He feeds mostly on insects, worms and caterpillars, and he is very fond of mice and he catches a good many. He is a good deal like Killee the Sparrow
Hawk in this respect. Hey! Now what’s happened?”

A great commotion had broken out not far away in the Old Orchard. Instantly Skimmer flew over to see what it was all about and Peter followed. He got there just in time to see Chatterer the Red Squirrel dodging around the trunk of a tree, first on one side, then on the other, to avoid the sharp bills of the angry feathered folk who had discovered him trying to rob a nest of its young.

Peter chuckled. “Chatterer is getting just what is due him, I guess,” he muttered. “It reminds me of the time I got into a Yellow Jacket’s nest. My,those birds are mad!”


Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Louis Agassiz Fuertes


Chatterer continued to dodge from side to side of the tree while the birds darted down at him, all shrieking at the top of their voices. Finally Chatterer saw his chance to run for the old stone wall. Only one bird was quick enough to catch up with him and that one was such a tiny fellow that he seemed hardly bigger than a big insect. It was Hummer the Hummingbird. He followed Chatterer clear to the old stone wall. A moment later Peter heard a humming noise just over his head and looked up to see Hummer himself alight on a twig, where he squeaked excitedly for a few minutes.

Often Peter had seen Hummer darting about from flower to flower and holding himself still in mid-air in front of each as he thrust his long bill into the heart of the blossom to get the tiny insects there and the sweet juices he is so fond of. This was the first time Peter had ever seen Hummer sitting still. He was such a mite of a thing that it was hard to realize that he was a bird. His back was a bright, shining green. His wings and tail were brownish with a purplish tinge. Underneath he was whitish. And his throat was a wonderful ruby-red that glistened and shone in the sun like a jewel.

Hummer lifted one wing and with his long needle like bill smoothed the feathers under it. Then he darted out into the air, his wings moving so fast that Peter couldn’t see them at all. Although he couldn’t see them he could hear them. You see they moved so fast that they made a sound very like the humming of Bumble the Bee. It is because of this that he is called the Hummingbird. A few minutes later he was back again and now he was joined by Mrs. Hummingbird. She was dressed very much like Hummer although without the ruby throat. She stopped only a minute or two, then darted over to what looked for all the world like a tiny cup of moss. It was their nest.

Just then Jenny Wren came along, and being quite worn out with the work of feeding her seven babies, she was content to rest for a few moments and chat. Peter told her what he had discovered about Hummer.

“Yes, Peter,” said Jenny in agreement, “that is the daintiest nest in the Old Orchard. It is made of plant down and covered on the outside with bits of that gray moss like stuff that grows on the bark of the trees called lichens. That is what makes that nest look like nothing more than a knot on the branch. Chatterer made a big mistake when he visited this tree. Hummer may be a tiny fellow however he isn’t afraid of anybody under the sun. That bill of his is so sharp and he is so quick that few folks ever bother him more than once. Why, there isn’t a single member of the Hawk family that Hummer won’t attack.”

“Does he go very far south for the winter?” asked Peter. “He is such a tiny fellow I don’t see how he can stand a very long journey.”

“Distance doesn’t bother Hummer any,” said Jenny Wren. “You needn’t worry about those wings of his. He goes clear down to South America. He has ever so many relatives down there. You ought to see his babies when they first hatch out. They are no bigger than bees. And they certainly do grow fast. Why, they are flying three weeks from the time they hatch. I’m glad I don’t have to pump food down the throats of my youngsters the way Mrs. Hummingbird has to down hers.”

Peter looked perplexed. “What do you mean by pumping food down their throats?” he asked.

“Mrs. Hummingbird sticks her bill right down their throats and then pumps up the food she has already swallowed,” assured Jenny. “I guess it is a good thing that the babies have short bills.”

“Do they?” asked Peter, opening his eyes very wide with surprise.

“Yes,” replied Jenny. “When they hatch out they have short bills, it doesn’t take them a great while to grow long.”

“How many babies does Mrs. Hummingbird usually have?” asked Peter.

“Just two,” replied Jenny, “that’s all that nest will hold ”. And with a jerk of her tail off flew Jenny, and Peter hurried back to tell Johnny Chuck all he had found out about Hummer the Hummingbird.


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 –  Loggerhead Shrike
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS – Feeders for Hummingbirds
  • Nature journal coloring pages at Cornell Common Feeder Birds FREE (page W32 Ruby-throated Hummingbird).
  • Q/A –Questions with answers to keep this conversation going are available for Hummingbird (p. 115 -117)  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 Ruby-throated Hummingbird (p37).

  • Also a copy of Audubon’s Birds of America Coloring Book by Paul E. Kennedy with a Ruby-throated Hummingbird on page 21.

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!

Bird BOOK LOOK – Chapter 16 – Barn Swallow + Purple Martin


Missed Chapter 1? Begin HERE



Chapter 16 – A Robber in the Old Orchard


“I don’t believe it,” muttered Johnny Woodchuck out loud.

“What is it you don’t believe?” asked Skimmer the Tree Swallow, as he once more settled himself in his doorway.

“Jenny Wren said that Hummer the Hummingbird is a sort of second cousin to Sooty the Chimney Swift,” replied Johnny Woodchuck.

“Well, that is so,” declared Skimmer. “I don’t see how it is any harder to believe than you being cousin to Striped Chipmunk and cousin to Happy Jack the Gray Squirrel. To look at you no one would ever think you are a member of the Squirrel family, and yet you are.”

Johnny Woodchuck nodded his head thoughtfully. “Yes,” he said, “I am, even if I don’t look it. This is a funny world, isn’t it? You can’t always tell by a person’s looks who they may be related to. Now that I’ve found out that Sooty isn’t related to you and is related to Hummer the Hummingbird, I’ll never dare guess again about anybody’s relatives. I always supposed Twitter the Martin to be a relative of yours, and now that I’ve learned that Sooty isn’t, I suspect that Twitter isn’t either.”

“Oh, yes, he is,” replied Skimmer promptly. “He’s the largest of the Swallow family.”

“Is he as black as he looks, flying round up in the air?” asked Johnny Woodchuck. “He never comes down here as you do where a fellow can get a good look at him.”

“Yes,” replied Skimmer, “he dresses all in black, and it is a beautiful blue-black, and when the sun shines on his back it seems to be almost purple. That is why some folks call him the Purple Martin. He is one of the most social fellows I know of. I like a home by myself, such as I’ve got here, but Twitter loves company. He likes to live in an apartment house with a lot of his own kind. That is why he always looks for one of those houses with a lot of rooms in it, such as Farmer Brown’s boy has put up on the top of that tall pole out in his back yard. He pays back for all the effort Farmer Brown’s boy took to put that house up. If there is anybody who catches more flies and winged insects than Twitter, I don’t know who it is.”

“How about me?” said a new voice, as a graceful form skimmed over Johnny Chuck’s head, and turning like a flash, came back. It was Forktail the Barn Swallow, a graceful member of the Swallow family. He passed so close to Johnny that the latter had a splendid chance to see and admire his glistening steel-blue back and the beautiful chestnut-brown of his forehead and throat with its narrow black collar, and the brown to buff color of his under parts. However, the thing that was most striking about him was his tail, which was so deeply forked as to seem almost like two tails.


Barn Swallow by Louis Agassiz Fuertes


“I would know him as far as I could see him just by his tail alone,” exclaimed Johnny. “I don’t know of any other tail at all like it.”

“There isn’t any other like it,” declared Skimmer.

“And how about my usefulness?” inserted Forktail, as he came skimming past again. “Cousin Twitter certainly does catch a lot of flies and insects however I catch my fair share too.”

With this he darted away. Watching him they saw him alight on the top of Farmer Brown’s barn. “It’s funny,” remarked Johnny Woodchuck, “for as long as I’ve known Forktail, and I’ve known him ever since I was big enough to know anybody, I’ve never found out how he builds his nest. I’ve seen him skimming over the Green Meadows a number of times, and often he comes here to the Old Orchard as he did just now, and I’ve never seen him stop anywhere except over on that barn.”

“That’s where he nests,” chuckled Skimmer.

“What?” cried Johnny Woodchuck. “Do you mean to say he nests on Farmer Brown’s barn?”

“No,” replied Skimmer. “He nests in it. That’s why he is called the Barn Swallow, and why you never have seen his nest. If you’ll just go over to Farmer Brown’s barn and look up in the roof, you’ll see Forktail’s nest there somewhere.”

“Me go over to Farmer Brown’s barn!” exclaimed Johnny Woodchuck. “Do you think I’m crazy?”

Skimmer chuckled. “Forktail isn’t crazy,” he said, “and he goes in and out of that barn all day long. I must say I wouldn’t care to build in such a place myself, though he seems to like it. There’s one thing about it, his home is warm and dry and comfortable, no matter what the weather is. However, I wouldn’t trade with him. No, sir, I wouldn’t trade with him for anything. Give me a hollow in a tree well lined with feathers to a nest made of mud and straw, even if it is feather-lined.”

“Do you mean that Forktail uses mud in his nest?” cried Johnny.

Skimmer bobbed his head. “He does just that,” he said. “He’s something like Welcome Robin in this respect. I–”

However Johnny Woodchuck never knew what Skimmer was going to say next, for Skimmer happened at that instant to glance up. For an instant he sat motionless with horror, then with a shriek he darted out into the air. At the sound of that shriek Mrs. Skimmer, who all the time had been sitting on her eggs inside the hollow of the tree, darted out of her doorway, also shrieking. For a moment Johnny Woodchuck couldn’t imagine what could be the trouble. Then a slight rustling drew his eyes to a fork in the tree a little above the doorway of Skimmer’s home. There, partly coiled around a branch, with head swaying to and fro, eyes glittering and forked tongue darting out and in, as he tried to look down into Skimmer’s nest, was Mr. Black Snake.


Scrapper the Kingbird saves the day! (illustration by Louis Agassiz Fuertes)


It seemed to Johnny as if in a minute every bird in the Old Orchard had arrived on the scene. Such a shrieking and chattering as there was! First one and then another would dart at Mr. Black Snake, only to lose courage at the last second and turn aside. Poor Skimmer and his little wife were frantic. They did their utmost to distract Mr. Black Snake’s attention, darting almost into his very face and then away again before he could strike. But Mr. Black Snake knew that they were powerless to hurt him, and he knew that there were eggs in that nest. There is nothing he loves better than eggs unless it is a meal of baby birds. Beyond hissing angrily two or three times he paid no attention to Skimmer or his friends, and continued to creep nearer the entrance to that nest.

At last he reached a position where he could put his head in the doorway. As he did so, Skimmer and Mrs. Skimmer each gave a little cry of hopelessness and despair. No sooner had his head disappeared in the hole in the old apple tree than Scrapper the Kingbird struck him. Instantly Mr. Black Snake withdrew his head, hissing, and struck at the birds nearest him. Several times the same thing happened. No sooner would his head disappear in that hole than Scrapper or one or the other of Skimmer’s friends, braver than the rest, would dart in and peck at him, and all the time all the birds were shrieking as only excited feathered folk can. Johnny Woodchuck was quite as excited as his feathered friends, and so intent watching the robber that he had eyes for nothing else. Suddenly he heard a step just behind him. He turned his head and then frantically dived head first down into his hole. He had looked right up into the eyes of Farmer Brown’s boy!

“Aha!” cried Farmer Brown’s boy, “I thought as much!” And with a long switch he struck Mr. Black Snake just as the latter had put his head in that doorway, resolved to get those eggs this time. Then when he felt that switch and heard the voice of Farmer Brown’s boy he changed his mind in a flash. He simply let go his hold on that tree and dropped. The instant he touched the ground he was off like a shot for the safety of the old stone wall, Farmer Brown’s boy after him. Farmer Brown’s boy didn’t intend to kill Mr. Black Snake, he just wanted to give him such a fright that he wouldn’t visit the Old Orchard again in a hurry, and this he quite succeeded in doing.

No sooner had Mr. Black Snake disappeared than all the birds set up such a rejoicing that you would have thought they, and not Farmer Brown’s boy, had saved the eggs of Mr. and Mrs. Skimmer. Listening to them, Johnny Woodchuck just had to smile.


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 –  Purple Martin
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  Barn Swallow
  • Visit the UMass Amherst – Snakes of Massachusetts – for more factual information about “Mr. Black Snake” and to debunk myths and misinformation about snakes in general
  • Q/A –Questions with answers to keep this conversation going are available for Barn Swallow (p. 110-111) 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 Barn Swallow (p 2) and a Purple Martin (p 32).

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!

Bird BOOK LOOK – Chapter 15 – Tree Swallow + Chimney Swift


Missed Chapter 1? Begin HERE



Chapter 15 – A Swallow and One Who Isn’t


Johnny and Polly Woodchuck had made their home between the roots of an old apple tree in the far corner of the Old Orchard. They have their bedroom way down in the ground, and it is reached by a long hall. They had dug their home between the roots of that old apple tree because they had discovered that there was just room enough between those spreading roots for them to pass in and out, and there wasn’t room to dig the entrance any larger. So they felt quite safe from Reddy Fox and Bowser the Hound, both of whom would have delighted to dig them out if not for those roots.

Right in front of their doorway was a very nice doorstep of shining sand where Johnny Woodchuck delighted to sit when he had a full stomach and nothing else to do. Johnny’s nearest neighbors had made their home only about five feet above Johnny’s head when he sat up on his doorstep. They were Skimmer the Tree Swallow and his trim little wife, and the doorway of their home was a little round hole in the trunk of that apple tree, a hole which had been cut some years before by one of the Woodpeckers.

Johnny and Skimmer were the best of friends. Johnny used to delight in watching Skimmer dart out from beneath the branches of the trees and wheel and turn and glide, now sometimes high in the blue, blue sky, and again just skimming the tops of the grass, on wings which seemed never to tire. He liked it even better when Skimmer would sit in his doorway and chat about his neighbors of the Old Orchard and his adventures out in the Great World during his long journeys to and from the far away South.

To Johnny Woodchuck’s way of thinking, there was no one quite so trim and neat appearing as Skimmer with his snowy white breast and blue-green back and wings.

Two things that Johnny always used to wonder about were Skimmer’s small beak and short legs. Finally he ventured to ask Skimmer about them.

“My gracious, Johnny!” exclaimed Skimmer. “I wouldn’t have a big beak for anything. I wouldn’t know what to do with it; it would be in the way. You see, I get nearly all my food in the air when I am flying, mosquitoes and flies and all sorts of small insects with wings. I don’t have to pick them off trees and bushes or from the ground and so I don’t need any more of a beak than I have. It’s the same way with my legs. Have you ever seen me walking on the ground?”

Johnny thought for a moment. “No, now that you mention it, I never have.” he said.

“And have you ever seen me hopping about in the branches of a tree?” continued Skimmer.

Again Johnny Woodchuck admitted that he never had.

“The only use I have for feet,” said Skimmer, “is for perching while I rest. I don’t need long legs for walking or hopping about, so Mother Nature has made my legs very short. You see I spend most of my time in the air.”

“I suppose it’s the same with your cousin; Sooty the Chimney Swallow,” said Johnny.

“Sooty isn’t related to me,” said Skimmer. “He’s a Swift and not a Swallow.”

“Well, he looks like a Swallow,” protested Johnny Woodchuck.

“He doesn’t either. You just think he does because he happens to spend most of his time in the air the way we Swallows do,” sputtered Skimmer.

Just then Jenny Wren happened to come along and joined the conversation. “Well, have you seen the way Sooty can fly?” she said.

“The way he can fly!” sputtered Skimmer, “Why, there never was a day in his life that he could fly like a Swallow.”


Tree Swallow by Louis Agassiz Fuertes


Just then there was a shrill chatter overhead and all looked up to see Sooty the Chimney Swift racing through the blue, blue sky as if having the very best time in the world. His wings would beat furiously and then he would glide very much as you or I would on skates. He would twist and turn and cut up all sorts of antics, such as Skimmer never dreamed of doing.

“You are right, he flies like a Swift not a Swallow. He can use first one wing and then the other, versus you use both wings at once,” insisted Jenny Wren. “He can even go straight down into a chimney.”

“So true, ” said Skimmer, and darted away.

“Is it really true that he and Sooty are not related?” asked Johnny Woodchuck, as they watched Skimmer cutting airy circles high up in the sky.

Jenny nodded. “It’s quite true, Johnny,” she said. “Sooty belongs to another family altogether. He’s a funny fellow. Did you ever in your life see such narrow wings? And his tail is barely there.”

Johnny Woodchuck laughed. “Way up there in the air he looks almost alike at both ends,” he said. “Is he all black?”

“No, he isn’t black at all,” declared Jenny. “He is sooty-brown, rather grayish on the throat and breast. Speaking of that tail of his, the feathers end is in little, sharp, stiff points. He uses them in the same way that Downy the Woodpecker uses his tail feathers when he braces himself with them on the trunk of a tree.”

“I’ve never seen Sooty on the trunk of a tree,” protested Johnny Woodchuck. “In fact, I’ve never seen him anywhere other than in the air.”

“And you never will,” said Jenny. “The only place he ever alights is inside a chimney or inside a hollow tree. There he clings to the side just as Downy the Woodpecker clings to the trunk of a tree.”

Johnny looked as if he didn’t quite believe this. “If that’s the case where does he nest?” he asked. “And where does he sleep?”


The blue, blue sky over the Green Meadow and Green Forest where birds take flight, soar, glide, twist, turn, and dart about.


“He fastens his nest right to the inside of a chimney. He makes a regular little basket of twigs and fastens it to the side of the chimney,” replied Jenny.

“How can he fasten his nest to the side of a chimney unless there’s a little shelf to put it on? And if he never alights, how does he get the little sticks to make a nest of?” asked Johnny Woodchuck.

“Did you watch him when he was flying close to the tree tops and did you see him clutch little dead twigs in his claws and snap them off without stopping?” asked Jenny. “That’s the way he gets his little sticks. He fastens them together with a sticky substance he has in his mouth, and he fastens the nest to the side of the chimney in the same way.”

“Oh,” replied Johnny Woodchuck. “If you please, Jenny, does Sooty get all his food in the air too?”

“Yes,” replied Jenny. “He eats nothing other than insects, and he catches them flying. Now I must get back to my duties at home.”

“Just tell me one more thing,” cried Johnny Woodchuck hastily. “Hasn’t Sooty any near relatives as most birds have?”

“He hasn’t any one nearer than some sort of second cousins, Boomer the Nighthawk, Whippoorwill, and Hummer the Hummingbird.”

“What?” cried Johnny Woodchuck, quite as if he couldn’t believe he had heard it right. “Did you say Hummer the Hummingbird?” However there was no reply, for Jenny Wren was already on her way.


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 –  Tree Swallow 
  • Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – ALL ABOUT BIRDS –  Chimney Swift 
  • Nature journal coloring pages at Cornell Common Feeder Birds FREE (page W58 American Tree Swallow).
  • Q/A –Questions with answers to keep this conversation going are available for Swallows and the Chimney Swift (p. 109-115) 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 drawing of a Chimney Swift (p13).

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!