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Saturday, August 11, 2012
Dedicated birdwatchers (also known as birders) are familiar with Roger Tory Peterson's A Field Guide to the Birds. Young readers can learn all about him in For The Birds: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson by Peggy Thomas. This 40-page picturebook chronicles how Roger's first love was observing birds and how he experimented with different forms of capturing their images, by photography and painting.
Here's a sample: "Roger knew that watching a bird in the field meant you had just a second or two to remember its shape, color, and size before it flew out of sight. So Roger painted only the memorable bits....Simple outlines against a light background showed a bird's shape, and Roger added arrows to point out the most important field markings that distinguished one bird from another."
The color illustrations done by Laura Jacques enhance this book.
Roger's own collection of illustrations are housed at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Jamestown, New York. I saw them a few years ago and they are worth a visit.
Here's an activity for birdwatching grandparents and their grandchildren.
While grandparents are watching birds through binoculars, their grandchildren can draw birds using Roger's tips: 1. outline the bird's shape.
2. Show distinctive features of the bird through the use of arrows or other marks.