For our project, we put together a small book of drawings and facts about some Central Florida birds. Each of us picked a broad category of birds and illustrated six species from that group, making a total of 18 birds. Both the sketches and the facts we selected are meant to interest young people in local wildlife. Our booklet can give them a starting point from which to learn more, online, in books, or out in nature. We even added blank sketch pages to the back of the book to encourage childrens’ personal investigations into the world around them.
For my part of the book I focused on “Birds of prey”, a bird of prey is a predatory bird. The birds I chose were the bald eagle, black vulture, osprey, eastern screech owl, red shouldered hawk, and the peregrine falcon. All these birds where very interesting and varied in size. I primarily used a site called “allaboutbirds.org” but used other sources as well. Most of the birds ate fish but some also eat insects, small mammals, and other birds. I had fun researching and drawing all of them but i think my favourite to draw was the bald eagle. I also put together everyone’s pictures to make the cover. I think everyone’s drawings work well together, and that the book came out good.
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My part of the book was about wading birds, which is more of a generic catch-all term I am using for heron and crane like birds of our area—I don’t believe the Sandhill Crane is always necessarily classified as a wading bird since it doesn’t spend as much time as some of the others in or near water. In general, these kinds of birds are found near water and, well, wading, looking for small fish and crustaceans to eat. It’s a surprisingly diverse group of birds—ranging for ibises to flamingos and more— and their diets and habits vary between species. I was most interested in this group just because I really love these long-legged, long-necked birds and I enjoy seeing them around town and wanted to learn more about them and share that with the prospective audience.
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My category was shorebirds, though I kind of departed from that with the cormorant (which lives near mostly fresh water.) I love going to the beach, seeing the ocean and the variety of interesting birds that live there. I have always found pelicans in particular beautiful and fascinating — there is something fantastic and prehistoric about them. And while people in Florida regard all kinds of seagulls as a nuisance, they have a very romantic connotation in Russia, where they are seen as symbols of wanderlust and free-spiritedness. One thing I was interested to learn was all the different ways that shorebirds get their food. Even though all they mostly eat fish, their methods of getting it range from skimming the water’s surface, to diving, to scavenging and more. To me, these birds are an intrinsic part of the seaside, and I am glad to know more about them.