Bird Book

If you follow me on facebook you have already read that I am writing a children’s book.

I am so excited about this adventure. This week I have been working on illustrations and so far they are turning out great. My dilemma is whether to make them line drawings or water colors, but I’m leaning toward water colors.

I illustrated a book in the early 1990s with line drawing but that was the publisher’s request. The book was called “What Can Little Fish Do?” by Devora Landing. We were both living in Northern Virginia at the time we met. I cannot remember how we met; grocery store, art supply store, book store, but we met without a mutual friend or introduction. That was in the late 1980s and when the book was finally published in 1994, she sent me a copy.

The book is basically about a mom fish who teaches her babies to form shapes (circles, triangles, etc) to band together and stay safe.

 

My book is about the life of a Snowy Plover. Yes there is sweetness, yes there is drama, and always a happy ending.

My goal is to teach children about Snowys and other shorebirds, how precious they are and about conservation. I’m working on a series and the Snowys are the debut.

If a  publisher doesn’t pick this up, I’ll put it on Kindle for Kids and CreateSpace for a printed version. Being the publisher I can pick my illustration style. I guess we’ll see when it is published.

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Caspian Tern

The Caspian Tern is the largest Tern in the world.  In the Western Hemisphere it usually winters in Central America, migrates throughout the eastern part of the United States and nests along beaches as far north as Oregon and Canada.  A rare breeder in Florida, where is spends a lot of time, it has been found to scrape out nests near small tufts of beach grass and shells, lay eggs that are buff color and lightly spotted and raise young.  These are found near Tampa.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, www.allaboutbirds.com, the Caspian Tern is on the Least Concern list for bird conservation meaning it is not endangered, just being watched..  However, people need to be aware of these and other shorebirds to avoid them ending up on the endangered list.

Many beach goers feel that they are free to use any part of the beach and that the nesting areas are an annoyance. They don’t feel that, by hanging out near the ropes that surround a nesting bird area, they are doing anything wrong.  Many people don’t believe birds are that important to the eco-system.

If you set up on the beach near a roped nesting area, birds of prey (larger birds, fish crows, eagles) are attracted because they are looking for food.  People on the beach means there will be food thrown around for these birds of prey to grab and fight over.  Meanwhile, chances are great they flying bird will spot a nesting bird sitting on its nest.  Feeling threatened, the nesting bird flees leaving either the eggs or the  chicks vulnerable to the prey.

Caspian Terns are aggressive birds not to be messed with.  It has been documented that Caspian Terns have attacked people on the head, who have come too close to their nesting grounds.  It is wise to give these and other nesting shorebirds their space.  The beach is large enough for everyone.

If you’d like to help out the organizations that educate people, raising awareness of nesting shorebirds, you can donate to this organization, Save the Chicks, by clicking the button on the Donate page.  Or, by purchasing a set of Caspian Tern notecards from Crafty Beachcomber on Etsy.  Each set of four different photos are attached to blank, ivory cards suitable for framing.  There is a limited edition of 100 of these numbered sets.  The photos are above. Proceeds from the sales of the limited edition card set will be given to an group that works hard to educate beach goers about what the roped areas mean, the importance of birds to the eco-system and other crucial.  Subscribe to this blog, on the button to right on this page, for more information about the group we pick as financial beneficiary this year.

Save the Chicks

It’s All For the Birds

Back in 2007, I moved to Siesta Key in Florida.  A birder at heart, I loved all of the species I was able to view year-round.  I especially liked seeing the migratory event twice a year.  I hooked up with a few other bird lovers and joined a Yahoo group that alerted its members to sightings around town.  I learned quickly to keep binoculars in my beach bag.  The beach bag traveled with me, so  I also kept a set in house.

Time passed and my Birding Life List grew.  I joined http://www.myfwc.com/ and the Wings Over Florida program.  I made it to the second level, “Florida Scrub Jay” (150-249 Florida species), before moving out of state.  I’m not far from the “Black Skimmer” level and each time I return to Florida for vacation I try to add to my list.

My passion for birding led me to instruct some 4-Hers in the club my children belonged to.  We took field trips with members of the local Audubon group to spot birds and teach the kids about these wonderful flying creatures and the importance of conservation.

I learned about shore birds and was alerted to the fact that they nested on the beaches and usually hatched at a time when crowds of people were expected: Memorial Day weekend.  The local Audubon group set out annually to find the nests, mostly scratches in the sand near the dunes, but sometimes not.  They roped the areas off to traffic and posted official signs warning people to stay out; birds are federally protected.  Ropes and signs don’t always work; in fact, they usually don’t. So those in charge began a “Chick Sitting” program.  I volunteered.

A roped off nesting area on Siesta Key 2008

A roped off nesting area on Siesta Key 2008

Chick Sitters basically educate the beach-goers about nesting birds, the ropes and the need to respect the area.  They work in shifts throughout the weekend, sometimes extending beyond the weekend (before and after) depending on expected hatch dates.

So, I am a Chick Sitter.  I volunteered during the nesting and hatching season of the Snowy Plover. During the busy beach times, when the birds are most vulnerable to lost eggs and lost chicks, I volunteered to sit nearby with a handful of pamphlets and when I saw people getting too close to the ropes, I’d talk to them about what was on the other side.  I found a few surly people but, for the most part, folks liked what we did and showed respect for the area while they enjoyed the beach nearby.  Sometimes, if the nests were easy to spot, I’d hand them my binoculars so they could see I was being truthful. Kids loved it. Parents loved that the kids were excited.

I’ve moved away but still, in my heart I Chick Sit, which is why I’ve created “Save The Chicks”.  While organizations, private and governmental, all over the country work on bird conservation, this site is determined to collect information from as many of these as possible and post them here for you, the reader, to enjoy.  You may even find a chick sitting opportunity in your area.

I’ve created a logo using my first initial “e” with plans to make a brand so fellow birders and chick sitters can spot each other.  I am writing a curriculum program for school-aged children and one for adults to educate people about shore bird nesting.  I am building an art market using the logo “e” bird with plans to give a percent of proceeds to groups around the country that need a little bit of extra funding for their programs.

Join me and support this cause.

Sign up for an email subscription to this website at the top right of this page.

Thanks, and happy birding.