8 Looking at birds 10 What is a bird? 12 Feathered friends 14 Taking to the air 16 Patterns in the air 18 From soaring to bounding 20 Finding a mate 22 Eggs and hatching 24 The first days 26 The first flight 28 Good parents 30 Cup-shaped nests 32 Strange nests 34 Cleaning and preening
36 Feeding habits 38 Meat-eating birds 40 Night hunters 42 Bird territories 44 Flying away 46 Birds of the sea 48 Birds of the shore 50 Freshwater birds 52 Woodland birds 54 Desert and grassland birds 56 Tropical birds 58 City birds 60 Index 61 Acknowledgements
Looking at birds
You may not always notice birds, but they are all over the place – in the garden, by the seashore, in the city. If you become a birdwatcher, soon you will begin to learn all sorts of things about birds – how they feed, how they fly, and the different sounds that they make.
This cheeky bird is found in gardens and cities across the world. You can recognize the male by its brown back, grey crown, and black bib.
Dressed for the part
When watching birds, wear dull colours so that you don’t stand out too much from the background. Make sure you have some warm, waterproof clothing in case it gets cold or wet.
What is a bird?
Birds come in many shapes and sizes, but there are things that unite them. All birds are covered in feathers for warmth. They all have two wings, although not all birds can fly. All birds have beaks and lay eggs, and their legs and feet are covered in small scales.
Birds are the only animals with feathers. A large bird, such as a swan, may have more than 25,000 feathers, and even a tiny hummingbird has almost 1,000. Feathers keep birds warm and dry and allow them to fly. A bird’s feathers come in many beautiful colours and shapes.
Taking to the air A bird stays in the air by flapping its wings. As it pulls its wings down, the feathers push against the air, moving the bird up and forwards.
Patterns in the air
When you see a bird in flight, notice the pattern it makes. Different kinds of birds fly in different ways. Large heavy birds, such as ducks, flap their wings all the time. Many smaller birds save their energy by gliding between flaps. Some birds hover in the air as they search for prey or feed at flowers.
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