Public libraries are invaluable sources of information. Borrowing books saves money and provides the opportunity for readers to “test-drive” those that they might like to purchase. I have a treasured reference collection of illustrated books. When I borrowed David Allen Sibley’s What It’s Like to be a Bird, I knew in an instant that a copy of this beautiful and fascinating book would be added to my personal collection in the near future.
As an avid bird watcher I have often wondered about their lives. Where do they sleep? How long do they live? What do their songs mean? Sibley’s book answers all my bird-related questions including those about flying, nesting, eating and singing. The book features full-colour, life-sized illustrations of birds of North America, including many that can be found on Mayne Island. Northern flickers, ravens, downy and hairy woodpeckers, dark-eyed juncos, chestnut-backed chickadees and other Mayne Island birds are included in the book’s 355 illustrations. It is a perfect book for all ages, as the text is easily understandable and the artwork is colourful and delightful.
Interesting information in this book is plentiful. Some of the bird facts I have learned:
- A single chickadee can store up to 1000 seeds a day
- Pileated woodpeckers have long tongues with barbed and sticky tips, which they use to extract food from trees.
- Red-breasted nuthatches use their beaks to paint the entrance to their nest cavities with sap, deterring squirrels and other birds from entering.
- Birds have specialized ear feathers that protect their hearing against noise turbulence when flying.
David Sibley is the well-known author-illustrator of the Sibley Bird and Tree Guides. What It’s Like to be a Bird is his newest book, published in 2020. Sibley hopes that the book will: “inspire the reader to be a more engaged and active observer of the natural world and lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation of birds and our shared planet.” This book has greatly enhanced my enjoyment of bird watching, as I have gained new knowledge of the behaviour and complexities of birds.