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The Eastern Bluebird: Winsome

When we first moved to Illinois, one of our closest preserves was the Reed Turner Woodland in Long Grove. Small but diverse, this woodland is comprised of multiple ecosystems and the perfect place to take young children wanting to explore nature. It has become one of our favorite places to explore throughout the seasons and every time we see a new sign of life, we feel so exhilarated! This happened in Fall last year when we were finishing up a hike. We were getting ready to leave until we saw our first pair of Eastern Bluebirds. We were so excited to see them and lingered a little longer in order to watch their beautiful colors, behavior and to see what they were doing.

We haven’t seen any around us since. But you bet that we will be back at Reed Turner Woodland in the Fall. Birds, like us, are creatures of habit and love return to the same place. This very fact makes the Old Orchard and Peter Rabbit’s conversations with Jenny Wren and the other birds such a joy to listen in on.

Winsome is the Eastern Bluebird in “The Burgess Bird Book.” Peter is so surprised to find out that Winsome and our next bird Welcome Robin are cousins, remarking that while they may they be Thrushes, they don’t look very much alike. Peter is invited to see Winsome and his wife’s nest, placed brilliantly inside a fence post. They are great birds to attract into your yard by putting up a nest box, but they do prefer open spaces.

You have to admit seeing the sky-blue coat of a bluebird is a sweet thing. I can’t wait to see another.

Here is what we found using our resources about Winsome:

Form 1, Grade 3 Student

To find out more about our Coloring and Writing Pages:

Until next time, keep birding! <3 Kate

The Living Books Press link above contains an affiliate link, so I may receive a small payment if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

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Dotty, The Tree Sparrow

In Chapter 4 of The Burgess Bird Book, Peter explains to Johnny Chuck, who sleeps all winter, that Dotty is a Tree Sparrow who takes Chippy’s place when Chippy flies south for the Winter. Then when Chippy flies north, Dotty goes even more north (p. 19, The Burgess Bird Book, Living Books Press). What’s confusing to them (and others, even now) is the fact that Tree Sparrows are ground birds. So really Chipping Sparrows should be named Tree Sparrows in their place. But as The Cornell Lab admits, American Tree Sparrows were, “misleadingly named by European settlers reminded of Eurasian Tree Sparrows back home.” (source:

How can you tell an American Tree Sparrow when you see one? They always have a dot or dark smudge on their chest, hence the name Burgess gives him, “Dotty.” If you compare them to Chipping Sparrows, you’ll also find that they have a rusty eyeline instead of a black one.

Here is what we found about Dotty from allaboutbirds and our Burgess Book:

Dotty: Tree Sparrow

Size & Shape: American Tree Sparrows are small round-headed birds.

Color Pattern: A rusty cap and rusty (not black) eyeline.

Diet: Seeds

Behavior: Ground Forager

Something you didn’t know: The longevity record among banded American Tree Sparrows is 10 years and 9 months.

I would not use this picture as a good field guide, although it is very cute and creative:

Form 1, Grade 1 Student

Hehe, all of us love birds here! So until next time, keep bird watching! <3 Kate

For our Burgess Bird Coloring and Writing pages, check here!

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The Last Chapters of Burgess Animal Coloring Pages

Last week, I finished all of the coloring pages for the Burgess Animal Book covered in A Gentle Feast‘s curriculum for Cycle 1, Form 1. Last night, I finished the rest for the book! I’m so grateful to have grown through this process because I had the chance to get to know these animals better.

These last chapters are a bit of an odd round up. I imagine inviting the animals to a party at our house and watching their odd shapes and personalities mingle with one another. The Sea Otter would definitely be the life of the party, the Manatee would be shy, and the Musk Ox would be asked to leave.

Throughout our last year in the book, I used the Dover edition. But just in the last few weeks, Living Books Press released an amazing edition with full color photos. Not only for this book, but also for The Burgess Bird Book and The Burgess Flower Book! Since we already had an edition and I’m saving our School Budget for next year’s books, I purchased the digital copy to end out our time in the book. But guess what I got for next year? Their new edition of The Burgess Bird Book! I can’t wait to show it off to you when I get it. And you may guess where my next project is taking me…

Until then, here is where you can find all of the Coloring Pages for Thornton W. Burgess’s “The Burgess Animal Book for Children”:

Chapters 1-12

Chapters 13-24

Chapters 25-36

Chapters 37-40

<3 Kate

Some of the links above contain affiliate links, so I may receive a small payment if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

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The Burgess Animal Book For Children Coloring Pages

I’m so happy to announce that I finished all of the coloring pages that go with A Gentle Feast curriculum’s coverage of The Burgess Animal Book for Children. We have loved doing Cycle 1 of A Gentle Feast this year. Each term of the curriculum, of which there are 3, includes 12 weeks of beautiful living books to read covering history, geography, natural history, nature study, and more! You spend your Form 1 Natural History time throughout the year in this book, as well as a few others.

I’m going to complete the remaining 4 chapters in the next coming days, but all of the term bundles are up in the shop!

Term 1: Chapters 1-12

Term 2: Chapters 13-24

Term 3: Chapters 25-36

This time around, the big cats were the most difficult to draw, but they were my favorite. Wanderhoof the Caribou is a personal favorite, I’d like to meet him in person.

This has been a really gratifying way to spend my free time over the last few weeks because it is so amazing to see the beauty of these animals. I really have a deeper appreciation for all of the animals that I spent time drawing. I can see why Burgess wrote about them, for no matter the size, they are all so majestic and amazing. I’m so grateful to share these with my children and others, and I hope they can be a blessing to your family or students as well.

Until next time, get out and about in your neighborhood Spinney <3 Kate

The image above contains an affiliate link, so I may receive a small payment if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

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Mice, a lot of mice

I finished the second installment of The Burgess Animal Book for Children, which covers Chapters 13-24.

This book by Thornton W. Burgess is one of our favorite resources from our year in A Gentle Feast Cycle 1, Form 1. It has been so fun diving even deeper into the book this last month while making these coloring pages. Can you imagine having this many mice on your camping blanket?

Thirteen mice on my camping blanket!

These chapters also include shrews, bats, skunks, and weasels. As well as, a badger and wolverine. From this installment, the hardest animals to draw were the mice because there were just so many of them! My favorite animal to draw was the Star-nosed Mole.

Check out that Star-nosed Mole towards the middle!

The last installment will be ready by the middle of June. It will contain the rest of the chapters, so check back soon!

Until next time, hope you enjoy the day! <3 Kate

Find The Burgess Animal Book for Children here:

The images above contain affiliate links, so I may receive a small payment if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.