Feathered City: Urban Roosts

Urban Roosts: Where Birds Nest in the CityThis week I am tackling picture books featuring Pale Male, NYC's resident  red-tailed hawk.  I have mentioned before on this blog that "birds in the city" is a popular theme for picture books.

But before I get to Pale Male, it seems appropriate to take a look at Barbara Bash's Urban Roosts, a non-fiction introduction to how and where birds choose to make their nests in urban environments. Fittingly, Bash starts us off with the pigeon. She then goes on to examine a dozen other birds and the clever places they find to build their nests: boots, railroad tracks, lampposts, etc.  The illustration of the house swallows reminded me of how my mother used to turn the water hose on the nests the resourceful birds made in the eaves of my childhood home. The birds were not daunted for long, but my mother still kept trying until one year the birds failed to return.  I feel a little sad about that now.

Bash's information about each bird's nesting behaviors and descriptions of the birds coupled with her lovely illustrations will certainly make you want to take your children out on an urban bird nest hunting expedition.  I also really appreciate the way Bash describes the similarity between their urban homes and their natural nesting places. For example, snowy owls choose northern airport landing fields because they are similar to the windswept plains of the tundra.

Perhaps I will even start to appreciate the pigeons in the nearby store awning a bit more... that is, as long as I continue to evade their poop.

Want More?
Visit Cornell's fantastic website Celebrate Urban Birds, with some terrific downloads and kits to use when you and your child go urban birdwatching.
Visit the Author's Website.
If you live in NYC, learn about the birds we have.
Find more picture books about birds in the city on this blog.

Big Kid says: That bird is living in a streetlight! I see pigeons all the time, but I'd like to see that owl.

I'm including this post as part of the Non-Fiction Monday Round-Up.


Alex said...

This sounds like an interesting book, even though I detest pigeons. But I have followed the adventures of Pale Male for a while, but haven't heard much about him lately.
We have an urban owl somewhere around the part of Manhattan I live in and ww hear him all the time. We also have birds who build their nest in the building's cable box and you can hear when they hatch.
City birds are very interesting. Thanks for bringing this book to everyon's attention.

Doret said...

After reading this I went ahead and added Urban Roosts to my library hold list.

I am not a fan of pigeons either, and all the walking they've been doing in recent years creeps me out.

There is some bird in Atlanta that will attack when you pass by their nest, which is usually on a city block. It will blindside and keep on coming. Running doesn't help. It's not fun.

Charlotte said...

Thanks for reviewing this--it sounds fascinating and I'll be on the look-out for it!

Raising a Happy Child said...

Very interesting. We really like well illustrated non-fiction books here. I didn't realize there is a book on urban roosts.

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