Biologist pens children’s book about bluebirds

Yes, there are no blue birds.

Biologist and author Myrna Pearman photographs bluebirds near the Ellis Bird Farm.

Biologist and author Myrna Pearman photographs bluebirds near the Ellis Bird Farm.

Yes, there are no blue birds.

Bluebird feathers are actually gray, says biologist Myrna Pearman, author of a new children’s book created for Mountain Bluebird Trails Inc. of Montana.

“They needed a tool to promote bluebird conservation to children,” says Pearman, site services manager for the Ellis Bird Farm, east of Blackfalds.

Among its amazing facts, the book describes how, in the words of Henry David Thoreau, the bluebird really does carry the sky on its back.

That’s because, just like the sky, the feathers that appear blue are not pigmented at all. The bird’s brilliant colour comes from refracted light, captured in tiny air cells in its feathers, says Pearman.

She and the Montana group that commissioned the Children’s Bluebird Activity Book hope its collection of bluebird facts, photographs and activities will help encourage more children to become involved with efforts to preserve and enhance North America’s bluebird populations.

In what is the sixth book Pearman has either written or co-authored, she describes how bluebirds build their nests and look after their young, including next maintenance and hunting for the grubs and bugs that make up their diet.

Its centrefold tracts the first three weeks in the life of a baby bluebird, from the time it pecks its way out of the egg until it is ready to test its new wings.

Along with facts and photos, the book includes tips on selecting and building bluebird boxes, puzzles, quizzes, colouring pages and word games.

Originally written specifically for Montana, the book’s first release was well received at the North American Bluebird Society conference in Nebraska.

“It seemed logical that we would expand it, revise it, so their official kids’ book would be applicable to all of North America,” says Pearman.

Bluebirders across the continent sent in contributions, including the photographers and nest box plans.

The Montana group had sold 1,600 copies by the time the book was released at its convention held on the June 20th weekend.

The revised version covers all three species, including the mountain bluebird found in Alberta as well as the eastern and western bluebirds.

Pearman and artists Pauline Luusak are now working on a second children’s activity book which will be specific to bluebirds in Alberta.

“It will be out next spring. This is for teenagers that want to start a trail and know where to put the boxes, so it’s more of an intermediate level.”

As with her previous books, Pearman herself does not share in the profits of her newest creation.

All proceeds go to the Montana group that commissioned her work. Previous books have been written on behalf of other groups, including the Ellis Bird Farm and the Red Deer River Naturalists.

Pearman says she is happy to do whatever she can to support the care and conservation of the wildlife whose stories she tells.

Copies of the Children’s Bluebird Activity Book are available at the Ellis Bird Farm, or can be downloaded free of charge from www.mountainbluebirdtrail.com

Please visit www.ellisbirdfarm.ab.ca to learn more about bluebirds in Central Alberta.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

More than 120,000 Albertans have signed up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the first two days of appointment bookings. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta Health Services apologizes after seniors struggle to book vaccine appointments

The CEO and president of Alberta Health Services is apologizing after seniors… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Kyle Moore, 26, will be a houseguest on Season 9 of Big Brother Canada. (Photo courtesy Big Brother Canada)
Red Deer man will be a houseguest on Big Brother Canada

A Red Deer man will be a houseguest on the upcoming season… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews (34) falls on his knees as he skates around Ottawa Senators defenceman Artem Zub (2) during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Thursday, February 18, 2021. The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews when they take on the Edmonton Oilers Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Toronto star Auston Matthews won’t play as Leafs face Oilers

EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs will be without star centre Auston Matthews… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Wetaskiwin RCMP say a Maskwacis man died after he was struck by a vehicle. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Clare’s Law in Saskatchewan used handful of times; Mounties review their role

REGINA — A first-of-its-kind law in Canada meant to warn those at… Continue reading

The Magpie river in Quebec is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Boreal River MANDATORY CREDIT
Quebec river granted legal rights as part of global ‘personhood’ movement

MONTREAL — With its kilometres of rapids and deep blue waters winding… Continue reading

Thorough sanding of a table top is usually the first step to renewing a finish. Wax contaminants can sometimes still remain on a surface like this after sanding. Cleaning with rubbing alcohol and a rag gets rid of these contaminants without leaving a residue behind. (Photo by Steve Maxwell)
Houseworks: Fixing wood finishes

Q: How can I stop polyurethane from beading up on a mahogany… Continue reading

Most Read