the specifics. Which birds make frequent stops? How on earth do those who don't stop manage to go such long distances? In The Long, Long Journey: The Godwit's Amazing Migration author Sandra Markle and illustrator Mia Posada explore these questions by focusing on one species. Their choice, the Bar-tailed Godwit, is an unusual sighting in our area as it generally follows the Asian side of the Pacific on its flights from Alaska to New Zealand and back. But the Marbled Godwits that winter around the Bay are its close relatives and they also migrate, though for much shorter distances.
Markle explains the importance for migrants of fattening up before departure in order to fly long distances without food; the reasons for changing locations to raise young; and the questions scientists are still asking about what is learned and what is innate. Since parents and young birds don't travel together, how do the young know where they're going?
As arctic migrants begin to return to our area, this is a great book to read before a walk near the bay or the beach. The species you see may be different, but the experience they are having is very similar. And if you're lucky enough to watch SFBBO staff banding birds, you and your children can ask, "Do we know where this bird has been? How will we know where it goes? What else does banding tell us?"
SFBBO member Dudley Carlson, a biologist’s daughter, grew up in a family of birders and was Manager of Youth Services at Princeton (NJ) Public Library for 25 years. She believes that if children enjoy learning about birds and understand how important they are to our environment, then birds, nature and people will have a better chance at a healthy future.
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