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Updated by Valley Libraries Radio Reference on Apr 12, 2021
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March 24 - 26, 2021: Backyard Wildlife

Are you enjoying the signs of spring and feeling eager to enjoy time outside and commune with nature? If so, this week’s Valley Libraries Radio Reference is for you: we have book ideas to help you learn about your backyard wildlife friends - from bugs to birds.

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Ali's Selection

Ali's Selection

I’ve just started a book I’ve been looking at for a while - The Language of Butterflies by Wendy Williams. This book takes butterflies and magnifies them, not just to look at the history of the insect and our fascination with them, but how the study of butterflies can lead to incredible scientific discoveries and breakthroughs. From the rising Rockies of 34 million years ago to the forests of modern Mexico to smugglers in Vegas, Williams’ amiable and accessible prose winds the readers through the evolution of butterflies and humanity’s relationships with them. While this, sadly, includes the devastation of their habitats by humans, The Language of Butterflies also shows how the scientific community of various disciplines are coming together to save these magnificent creatures, not only for species conservation, but for environmental, societal, medical, and cultural progress.

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Sarah's selections

Sarah's selections

Since we mostly stuck around home for the past year, we bought a window-mounted bird feeder for entertainment. Watching the titmice, chickadees, and finches transformed us into total backyard birders and I’ve delighted in checking out books to help me learn more about what species are visiting and how to attract new ones.
Peterson Field Guides in partnership with Bird Watcher’s Digest has two great titles in particular: Identifying and Feeding Birdsand Bird Homes and Habitats. Each book is filled with color photographs to help identify birds and illustrate their individual quirky habits. They also have instructions on building birdhouses and how to make your yard more supportive for these little buddies. Pair these Peterson Field Guides with Cornell’s free Merlin bird ID app to take your quarantine hobby to the next level.

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Jamie's selections

Jamie's selections

If you've been stuck at home with kids all year, you've probably already had to get pretty creative to keep them entertained. Luckily there are some great books to help you come up with more activities. Backyard Adventure by Amanda Thomsen has more than fifty activities for playing outside, whether you're working with a yard, the woods, or a patch of sidewalk.

And for even more activities, especially if you live in a more rural area, there's Ben Hewitt's The Young Adventurer's Guide to (Almost) Everything -- fair warning, along with other wilderness survival skills this one does specifically teach kids how to eat bugs and poop in the woods, so be ready for that!